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Ask an Expert: Handling mainstreamed student’s IEP

Q. My hard of hearing child (deaf with two implants) is language delayed and mainstreamed. I am asking for modifications as it requires hours at night to keep abreast of all the new words in her work. They keep asking what and how I want this done? Who should be able to help with this? I also cannot get the IEP followed.  I am looking into a deaf advocate at this time for that. Thanks. – Teresa S.

Suzanne Lustie: Tips on a productive school meeting

A. Your  youngster qualifies for services under the Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) so from your question it seems as if the services need to be changed to provide for a different level of support. This statute requires that each state’s educational authority develop a policy ensuring that free, appropriate public education be provided to all children with disabilities by local agencies. You can get more information by reviewing this enotes backgrounder.

If  extra time is needed each night to keep your  child current there must be some gaps.

I’d suggest the next step for you is to look at A Blueprint For Closing the Gap. This report deals with developing a statewide system of service  in Colorado to make improvements for students who are deaf and hard of hearing.

Then, with information in hand, you need to:

  • Make an appointment with the classroom teacher, principal, and special needs coordinator.
  • Prior to this meeting, you should draft a letter outlining the steps that have been taken thus far and the services that are currently being received.  Note the gaps that are apparent based on the law as it is understood.
  • Be very clear what is expected as an outcome from the meeting.
  • Check with the child’s audiologist and see if they have support services as you seek further educational assistance.
  • These meetings  can be emotional, so I recommend taking along support.

Ann Morrison: How the staffing breaks down

There should be two people whose role it is to facilitate your daughter’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP). First, one of the teachers on the special education faculty at her school should be acting as your


daughter’s case manager. As case manager, it is this person’s responsibility to oversee the services your daughter receives at school. This teacher is the person in charge of informing her classroom teachers about your daughter’s needs and the details of the IEP, including all accommodations and modifications they are required to provide. This person should also be able to make sure the IEP is being followed.

The second person who should be facilitating your daughter’s IEP is a specialist for the hearing impaired. Each district has specialists for hearing impaired students who consult on the social and academic needs of hearing impaired students. It is common for these specialists to work with students all over the school district, but you should still have access to this person and be able to bring him or her into your child’s IEP planning and meetings. The specialist for the hearing impaired should have input into your daughters accommodations and modifications including suggestions for managing new vocabulary and increasing comprehension of new content.

Bringing an advocate onto your daughter’s IEP team sounds like a good idea. Special education advocates are people who are familiar with the legal and procedural requirements of the IEP process. A good advocate will be able to guide you on what to ask for (or insist on) while preserving your working relationship with the school.

About our First Person series:

First Person is where Chalkbeat features personal essays by educators, students, parents, and others trying to improve public education. Read our submission guidelines here.