Making Sense of the IEP Process: Stage 1
Are you confused by the jargon and maze of legal procedures associated with your child's education and individualized education plan (IEP)? With this newsletter, we begin a monthly discussion of each of the 9 stages of the IEP process. We hope that these newsletters will help you better understand school procedures and parental rights, and facilitate a collaborative relationship between you, your consultant, and the school.
Stages of the IEP Process, as defined in the Special Needs Advocacy Resource Book:
Stage 1: Prereferral, Prescreening, General Education Intervention
Stage 2: Referral and Screening Stage/Process
Stage 3: Evaluation Planning and Evaluation
Stage 4: Eligibility Determination
Stage 5: IEP Development
Stage 6: IEP Is Implemented
Stage 7: The Child's Progress Is Reported
Stage 8: IEP Is Reviewed in a Periodic or Annual Review Meeting
Stage 9: Reevaluation
The IEP process begins with prereferral, prescreening, and general education intervention. The school system should first work together with family members to attempt to resolve educational or behavioral difficulties in the general education classroom before the student is referred for special education assessment. The particular steps taken will vary depending on the school and situation; one commonly used model is RTI (Response to Intervention), which emphasizes early intervention, evaluations, and increased intensity and specialization as appropriate. (For more information, see School Success for Kids with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, pgs. 54 - 60).
Students who are suspected of having an educational disability (those that are struggling in the regular classroom) are protected under federal and state laws and regulations, just like their disabled counterparts. If the interventions and services in the general education setting are not effectively addressing the child's needs, the parent may request that the team move to the next stage for referral and screening.