How to Write an IEP from a Parent’s Perspective – Part 3

|March 1, 2024 | IEP

In the previous two blogs, we talked about present levels and SMARTER goals. In this blog, we will delve into specially designed instruction (SDIs). Although these SDIs may appear similar to what would be written into a 504 plan, this is what sets the IEP apart from a 504 plan.

Remember, we mentioned in the first blog that under the federal law, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), children with a disability who need specially designed instruction to make meaningful progress qualify for an individual education program (IEP).

SDIs include the accommodations and modifications to the general education curriculum, so your child can access it. There are many SDIs that can be put into an IEP. The important thing to remember is what benefits your child.

SDIs may include items for executive functioning—organizing, planning, focusing, and working memory. Maybe your child has a homework folder and/or an agenda that the teachers check first thing and at the end of the day. Then when the child gets home, the parents check it and send it back to the school. Your child may have a checklist of homework assignments that are missing, and as completed and turned into the teacher, the teacher signs the checklist.

SDIs may also include breaking down larger assignments into smaller chunks with mini deadlines. For example, if you have a history research paper, the child may need this broken into sections, such as pick a topic, research topic with four sources, write a draft with five paragraphs, make revisions, and turn in final copy. Each of these steps would have a deadline, teacher review, and feedback.

SDIs for behavior may include taking a break. This SDI can be child requested AND teacher requested. If a child needs this in their IEP, they probably do not have the skills in the beginning to advocate for themselves. This SDI may be that the teacher gives the child something to take to the office. The child may have a separate room that they can go to and come back. The child may need a breathier and utilize a calm down corner.

A child with sensory issues may need to utilize headphones, chewies, or special materials to focus and/or recalibrate their emotions. Anything that the child needs to be successful, within reason, can be added to the SDI section.

In the next blog, we will talk about transition planning for high school students. Get more answers on our website

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