Today I want to share a useful resource with you- understood.org. This is such an amazing website, they provide so much helpful information on many topics! I was able to attend a workshop hosted by Understood.org on how to organize a binder for your child's IEP and I want to share the information I learned with all of you. An IEP is an Individualized Education Program or Plan. It is a legal document that lays out the plan for your child's special education instruction, supports, and services. There are so many things we can and will discuss when it comes to an IEP, but today we are only going to focus on organization. It is important when going into an IEP meeting for your child that you are organized and have all the information with you that you will need.
To start, gather your supplies. You'll need a 3 ring binder, 6 tabbed section dividers, and a three hole punch. Print this IEP binder checklist, it will go in the very front of your binder. Next, label your section dividers to match the checklist: Communication, Evaluations, IEP, Report Cards/Progress Notes, Sample Work, and Behavior. I decided to add an extra one labeled Medical. You can add any labels you see fit.
Communication: Print and fill out the school contact sheet and school communication log. This will help you keep track of meetings, phone calls, and emails from your child's teachers and school. Always put the newest ones on top.
Evaluations: Here is an example of a request or referral for evaluation. Keep a copy of all school-based evaluations in this section and any evaluations done outside of school. When I had outside evaluations done for Preston, I would highlight and put sticky notes on them so I could find important information quickly.
IEP: At the start of every IEP meeting you'll be offered a copy of your rights. If you save the first one you are given and place it within this tab, you won't have to get a new one each time. Then you will want to keep a copy of your child's IEP. I only keep the most recent IEP in my binder and file all the others, that way my binder doesn't get too full. You can put any meeting notices or notes you have taken during the meeting in this section also.
Report Cards/Progress Reports: Keep copies of any progress reports and report cards. I put any school testing results here too. For example, our school uses AIMSweb and STAR.
Sample Work: Include any samples you want to provide to show progress or concern. Again, putting the most recent work on top.
Behavior: If your child has a behavior plan, keep a copy of it here. I am lucky that Preston doesn't show any negative behaviors at school. However, we do have our fair share at home. I can keep notes of things that happen to share with his IEP team, specifically his social worker, if I feel the information will benefit them knowing or if it is something he can work on at school.
Medical: I decided to add this tab in for us. Any medical reports or testing from his eye doctor, pediatrician, MRI, psychologist, psychiatrist, etc. Anything medical that I feel was important I put here. It is nice to have everything in one place.
Preston received his first IEP going into Kindergarten, so I have attended many meetings. Even now that he is in 4th grade AND I work at the school he attends (so his IEP team is all my co-workers), I still get nervous. I feel better if I am organized, and I have my binder with me. Please share your own suggestions, feedback, tips, etc. by commenting below!