What Special Education Teachers Should Know About Creating Educational Plans and Interventions

Many moons ago, I was a special education teacher and a professor of special education. I enjoyed the job, but one of the most challenging aspects of it was the overwhelming amounts of paperwork that needed to be completed. If you plan to become a special education teacher in public or private K-12 schools in the United States, you will need to learn how to complete this paperwork, and in a limited amount of time.

In this piece, I will discuss what special education teachers should know about IEP’s, IFSP’s, ITP’s, and ISP’s, which are the acronyms for the major types of documents or educational plans that you will be completing. We will explain what they mean during the article.

What is an Individualized Education Service Plan (IEP)? A well thought out Individualized Education Plan (IEP) represents some of the best-personalized planning in education. The IEP lays out a year’s worth of instruction and identifies appropriate goals and the educational milestones that will form the path to meeting them for special education students. IEPs are often intricate documents that are twenty and thirty pages long and developing IEPs can be an arduous process.

What is an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP)? An IFSP is a document that outlines a plan for young children who need early intervention services. It is customized for each child, as well as including a plan for the family. For instance, when children are receiving early intervention services, the family may also need the training to support their child’s needs. Since an IFSP is customized for the individual, every IFSP will be different.

What is an Individualized Service Plan (ISP)? An ISP is a plan for getting an individual the support and services he or she needs. If your child attends public school, he or she will have an IEP (individualized education plan). However, those children with special needs who attend private schools will need to get an ISP from a local education agency to make sure their needs are met. While there are fewer services for private school students, students with one of 13 disabilities covered in IDEA may be eligible for equitable services.

What is an Individualized Transition Plan (ITP)? A set of strategies created by the IEP team to assist teenagers with a disability develop and make goals for the transition from high school into formal adulthood.

What are Procedural Safeguards? Federal requirements which decree that all parents and children will receive fair and equal treatment regarding decision-making during the special education process.

What is the Dominant Language? The language in which a multilingual speaker has the highest aptitude or that the speaker uses more often.

What is an Independent Educational Evaluation? An assessment performed by a qualified examiner who is not affiliated with the school district.

What is an Instructional Intervention? A modification in the way a student is taught in an attempt to increase academic proficiency.

What are Accommodations? A tool or procedure that gives equal access to the teaching and learning process for students with disabilities.

What are Modifications? Alterations that are made to what a child is taught or expected to learn in school.

What is a Multidisciplinary Evaluation? Assessment of a student by at least two professionals, using several evaluations. The assessment is used to determine if a child qualifies for special services.

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