This is a long session. You may want to plan a break between the activities around viewing the video and the synthesis activity.
The video used in this session has three parts that focus on planning for and contributing to the IEP meeting, as well as implementing the IEP. Strategies for the IEP process, drawn from real-life experiences, are described in the video, which is intended to help people develop a positive mindset by considering the different perspectives of the various individuals involved in the IEP process. The video is not intended to provide the legal and technical aspects of developing an IEP.
In order to effectively guide this session, you need to be familiar with the current reauthorization of the federal law, The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). It is critical that you have accurate information about what is in the law so that you can distinguish the federal legalities from state or local regulations, guidelines, and/or practices.
Make sure you know the specific details of the IEP requirements for the state/locality where you are training.
- All states have their own regulations and guidance for the IEP process.
- Some states also allow local variations in the IEP.
- Remember: states may allow the use of an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) for preschool as a state–wide or local option in lieu of an IEP.
All federal laws and regulations related to IEPs must also be addressed in a preschool IFSP.
Getting a sense of the participants' experience with IEPs will help you guide this session more effectively. You might want to combine an IEP-focused opener with participant introductions. For example, ask participants for one of the following:
- One word that describes their experience with IEPs,
- The first thing that comes to mind when they think about IEPs, or
- How they would rate their experience with IEPs on a 1–10 scale (1 being no experience and 10 being very experienced).
During this session, you will be asking the participants to form groups, with members within each group representing each of the various roles involved in the IEP process. Either use your favorite grouping strategy for this activity or have each group (gathered by roles) count of by fives or sixes so that each team will have one person from each role.