Progress Monitoring: Establishing Your Contribution to Your Child’s IEP Team
This is the second in a series of posts about the role of the parent in the IEP meeting. Read the first post on establishing yourself as an equal partner in your child's special education process.
Your child’s teachers and service providers (PTs, OTs, speech therapists, etc.) must keep data on your child’s performance relative to his or her IEP goals. This data helps the team develop and track progress, tweak new annual goals, and evaluate what modifications / accommodations work for your child.
Parents often want to challenge data but have very little to contribute to the conversation other than, “That can’t be right.” Keeping your own data is pretty straightforward and will help you contribute to the IEP meeting in a very effective way. Write down your child’s goals and benchmarks, and then test your child on them. Consider videotaping your work. Inevitably, doing so will yield good communication with the rest of your child’s team during the year.
For example, your child may sound like she’s counting, “twelve, erteen, erteen, erteen, sixteen, seventeen, erteen, erteen, twenty!” You’ll notice and develop some other strategy to test whether your child can rote count. You may, for example, write the numbers 12-20 on flashcards and have your child put them in order. If a teacher thereafter says, “She skips fourteen when rote counting,” you will have concrete feedback to refute that.
Your investment in progress monitoring will allow you to naturally respond, “I wondered if that was true, too, but I know she can rote count, because she can put the numbers in order with flashcards. I think it’s an articulation/ expressive language problem and not a rote counting problem”.
When writing the next goal, you may decide to up the ante on the math goal AND include articulation of the numbers as a speech goal.