Components of an IEP and assessing progress

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Components of an IEP and assessing progress

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An IEP contains several important sections. One is a description of the child's functioning right now in school. How the child is doing, what she does well, what she's having difficulties with. There's also a summary of the testing or assessment that will have been done that leads up to the creation of the IEP. There's also a mission statement for families, where families express what their hopes and dreams are for their own child. When kids are older, they can add to this information too. They may say, this is what I'd like to have happen to me. Then the IEP contains specific goals or objectives, like at the end of six months, a student's reading level will improve by two levels, according to whatever measurement they're using in school. Or while in a social situation in school, the child will interact appropriately with other kids in the lunchroom, on the playground for example. Or the child will improve his or her math skills over time. It's a very specific statement. The next statement of the IEP contains strategies or objectives, general strategies. It's really a roadmap for teachers to follow so that they can help the child achieve the objectives. Some people want to know what to do if an IEP isn't working. It's important for parents to understand that an IEP and a child's progress on the IEP is evaluated at least every year. Every three years there's a major evaluation with retesting and reevaluation of the child's skills at that level. But at any point along this process, if parents feel their child isn't making adequate process, they can call a meeting of the school personnel, sit around a table, and talk about this. Similarly if a teacher, school psychologist, or other people involved think the plan isn't working well, they can call the meeting together. Invite the parents in and say, you know, the plan that we developed isn't heading your child in the direction we want him to go. Adjustments can be made by adding an amendment to the IEP at any time. It's really a document that protects the rights of parents so that kids get what they need in school.

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Jerome Schultz, PhD

Clinical Neuropsychologist

Dr. Jerome (Jerry) Schultz is a former middle school special education teacher. He is currently in private practice as a clinical neuropsychologist and is on the faculty of Harvard Medical School in the Department of Psychiatry.  For over three decades, he has specialized in the neuropsychological assessment and treatment of children with learning disabilities, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and other special needs. He was on the faculty of Lesley University in Cambridge MA for almost 30 years, and served there as the Founding Director of a diagnostic clinic called the Learning Lab. Before returning to private practice, Dr. Schultz served as the Co-Director of the Center for Child and Adolescent Development at the Cambridge Health Alliance, a Harvard Teaching Hospital.

Dr. Schultz received both his undergraduate and Master’s degree from The Ohio State University and holds a Ph.D. from Boston College. He has completed postdoctoral fellowships in both clinical psychology and pediatric neuropsychology. He currently serves on the Editorial Board of a journal called Academic Psychiatry, and is on the Professional Advisory Boards of a website called Inside ADHD.com, and the Learning Disabilities Association of America.

In addition to his clinical and educational work, Dr. Schultz serves as an international consultant on issues related to the neuropsychology and appropriate education of children and young adults with ADHD & LD and other special needs. In his current role as neuropsychological consultant to several large school districts in the Boston area, he is on the ground, in schools and working with kids and their teachers several days each week.

Dr. Schultz created an award-winning video called “Einstein and Me” about living successfully with a learning disability, and has written extensively about children with learning, behavioral and emotional challenges. He has a special education and psychology blog on the Huffington Post. His book, called Nowhere to Hide: Why Kids with ADHD and LD Hate School and What We Can Do About It, (Jossey-Bass/Wiley) which examines the role of stress in learning, has received international acclaim.

 

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