In Ireland, the use of individual education plans (IEPs) for deaf and hard-of-hearing children at mainstream schools is relatively new. These IEPs are a roadmap for a child’s educational and social development, including language skills.
If a child’s IEP is drafted after HSE assessment, you must understand the IEP process, and how an IEP is built (Word).
Education plans are drafted with input from parents, the local SENO (Special Needs Assessment Officer), the school and the visiting teacher (VTHI) for pupils with deafness, resource teacher, SNA (if used) and educational psychologist.
Children of pre-school age will benefit from an IEP, with input from their visiting teacher and/or early intervention service.
Where possible, IEPs for deaf children should outline:
- the child’s linguistic and communication needs and goals
- their favoured communication method/s
- their potential for using residual hearing and/or digital hearing-devices
- their academic needs in their school environment
- their social and emotional needs as relevant
Goals in the IEP should be specific, measurable and related to hearing peers, classroom activity and the school curriculum to accurately chart your child’s progress. This is a teacher’s guide to IEPs for reference.
IEPs need to be child-centred and reviewed regularly. If your child gets a new cochlear implant (unilateral or bilateral), their IEP should alter to support their changed hearing and learning needs.