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Did Your Newborn Suffer Cerebral
Palsy or Another Brain Injury Before
or During Labor and Delivery?

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Our Birth Brain Injury Resource Guide

the guide

Get a FREE guide of resources available throughout Ohio to children and families of children who were born with brain injuries.

Our guide can help you build a foundation of knowledge and tools that will help you help your child
now and in the future.

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Learning about the IEP in school

Young children usually require special services if returning to school after suffering a Brain Injury (BI). Public schools in the U.S. are required by law to develop and implement an Individualized Education Program otherwise known as an IEP to students with disabilities.

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This program is laid out in a document that details the child’s unique needs, what services the educational system provides, and how progress is measured.

The student’s IEP team works together in a series of meetings to develop this plan. The team usually consists of the parents, classroom teacher, special education teacher, principal, and any one else who has an invested interest in the child’s education. It’s their job to figure out a way to help the students achieve academic success and reach their potential. The IEP is a legal document that states what services and accommodations the educational system must provide for the individual with disabilities. It is intended to address the student’s individual educational needs, and it must have specific learning goals. As a parent, it’s important to take the time to learn about the process. The more you know, the better you can advocate for your child.

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First Steps

First Steps Maybe your child is returning to school after suffering a brain injury, or you have a young child with BI who is old enough to start school now. There are a few things that need to happen before the IEP starts.

First, the student needs to be evaluated. Contact your child’s school, let them know your child’s diagnosis, and request an evaluation for special services. The evaluation is an important step in determining your child’s individual needs. The tests are usually administered by the educational psychologist or another professional who is trained in giving these sorts of assessments. Other important data collection might involve observations of the student in the classroom or parent surveys. The teachers want to collect as much data as possible to make informed decisions about the student’s special needs.

Next, the team determines if the student requires special services to keep up with the grade level curriculum. If the parents and school agree that the student qualifies for special education, then they start creating the IEP.

In Every IEP

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a federal law that dictates certain aspects of IEPs in public school in the U.S. The law requires that all students must have an IEP in place for every child receiving special education services from the school. The educational system is required to provide all services and accommodations outlined in the IEP. Every plan must have the following elements:

  • The student’s present level of performance
  • Annual educational goals
  • What services and support the school will provide to achieve these goals
  • Accommodations and modifications that the special education services will provide
  • Testing accommodations for standardized assessments
  • How progress toward annual goals will be measured

IEP Meetings

The meeting is a chance for parents, teachers, and other educators to give input on how the child is doing, what’s working and what isn’t. The team meets at least once a year (or more often) to develop and review the student’s plan. These ongoing meetings ensure that the plan is doing what it should—helping the student succeed. The meeting gives parents and school staff a chance to talk about the child’s strengths and needs and see if the support and service are working. Your student might need different accommodations put in place. You can review the goals, and adjust them if need be. During the meeting, the team leader needs to take notes and document updates to your child’s current level of academic and functional performance and goals. There are some important questions to discuss at the IEP annual review.

  • What are the student’s strengths? Ask your child’s teachers about any successes or improvements you have noticed outside of school
  • What are some suggestions for improvement? Discuss the areas your student still struggles with. Let the teachers know suggestions for making things easier.
  • Are accommodations and modifications helping? If the current plan isn’t working, you can talk about replacing or discontinuing it. The team can talk about different tools or instruction that might help.
  • What are the most recent assessment results? The school psychologist should evaluate your child at least every three years with the results explained at the meeting.