Navigating your IEP may feel taxing because of its size. The document often contains many pages because it needs to describe your student’s strengths, interests, academic areas of needs, social emotional needs, fine and gross motor needs, health, accommodations and modifications for the classroom, state and district testing accommodations and modifications, and depending on the age of your student, his/her long term goals. Additionally, behavior support plans are written if needed and added to the IEP.
For today’s interest, I am going to address one page that is typically known as present levels of performance. Some even refer to this page as the PLP. This page should describe your student’s present strengths and present areas of need. If someone who didn’t know the student was to look at this page he/she should have a good idea of how your student learns best and what areas of need are being worked on to support the student’s academic success. In fact, other parts of the IEP are developed from this page and consequently, it just might be one of the most important pages in the document. Included on this page is also an area for parent input.
This page should include information from all providers that come in contact with the student. Areas of strengths and needs should be documented and supported with data. Without data to support strengths and needs, all the team has to work with is people’s opinion regarding the student’s academic performance. You really want data and you really want to let the team know that you expect work samples along with grades prior to your meeting. You will also want to document any health concerns with a doctor’s note/medical record. Any area of need that is identified will require a written goal that shows what is being worked on in the classroom and or through designated instructional services: Speech and Language, Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy and Social Emotional are the most common services.
The PLP will also contain a statement developed by the school’s psychologist that shares how the student qualifies for special education services. This statement is developed from testing data during the initial meeting and may be adjusted during triennial reviews.
Parent input is very important because parents know the student best. Parents should consider including their concerns for academic success, any behavioral concerns that the team may need to support as well as concerns for the student’s future. Providing parent input in writing to be added and or attached to the IEP is always recommended.
Read the PLP over and take your time in determining that your student strengths and weaknesses were clearly explained and written in sufficient detail to guide the IEP process.
As always, let me know how I can help.