Individual Education Plans (IEPs) are not mandatory in schools in Ireland, but give a practical way to structure and document a child’s learning progress. Parents & educators will use web-based tools for regular, collaborative contact and record-keeping.
Try this formal IEP Checklist for a child in mainstream education.
Building An Individual Education Plan
When devising an IEP (Individualised Education Plan) for a new school year, it is essential to think about your child’s needs and the options available.
An IEP can be used if your child is starting pre-school, or primary school.
Before a child starts school, three questions to consider:
- What do you want your kids to learn?
- What teaching methods do you want the teachers to use?
- What accommodations do your kids need to learn in school?
At this stage, you will know if your child is attending a mainstream or specialist school, and this will influence future decisions.
Communication, Radio Systems And CART
If your child is learning to talk and/or sign, an IEP can plan this. However, every family chooses their own communication option for themselves: you know your child best.
Some children use FM and soundfield systems. These send sounds from a teacher (via a microphone) to a receiver on a student’s hearing-device.
In class, captioning (CART: Communication Access Realtime Translation) may be an option for profoundly-deaf students. While CART is used in Australia and the US, it is just emerging in Ireland‘s third-level sector.
If your child needs a resource teacher for languages or other subjects, this needs noting. Reviews will show if a child needs extra help so you and the teachers can tweak the IEP.
Examples of aims in IEPs may be for the child to learn:
- One to five new words, per day
- Use of verbs, tenses, etc in their primary communication mode
- The different colours
- To fasten their shoes/tie their shoelaces
- To read (1) with an adult and (2) by themselves
- To tell the time
- How to share with others
- To build friendships
- To obey their teacher/s
IEPs Are A Rolling Work In Progress!
While IEPS are important, one plan does not last forever. Parents and teachers must amend the plan as the child progresses in their education, with social and learning milestones passed.
Dates should be set for parent/s to meet with the school to discuss progress and make amendments. The most important work is to start a plan with aims and time goals. You may start with small goals and build these over time.
(compiled by Miriam Walsh)
* Individual Education Plans (IDK summary)