Hey folks, summer’s rolling in, and you know the transition can throw off your routine, right? So, let’s talk about special education – when your child’s eligible, there’s this meeting to develop an IEP (Individualized Educational Plan). If already on the journey, the team gathers at least yearly (in my opinion, it should be twice yearly, but that is a convo for another post) to tweak the plan.

Now, this IEP has 5 big sections:

1. Curriculum and Learning
2. Independent Functioning
3. Social-Emotional
4. Communication
5. Healthcare/Medical

And here’s the deal – it’s not just about hitting the books. It’s a smart document that thinks about everything affecting academics and how your kid shows up at school. Behaviors, emotions, friends, and relationships with school staff – it’s all in the mix.

And no matter the eligibility category (there are 13!), each time the team meets, they should weigh in on your kid’s mental health, social skills, self-esteem, and the whole shebang. Schools don’t diagnose, but they do check for eligibility and plan things out.

Healthcare/Medical section? That’s where diagnoses go, and if your kid needs meds during the school day, that’s on the IEP or 504 Plan.

Counseling and psych services? Yeah, they can be on the IEP or 504, based on your kid’s performance and goals. One-on-one or group sessions? Team call.

Parents, you’re crucial here! Your input is valuable, and you’re on an equal playing field with the IEP Team. When your kid’s behavior affects the class, there’s this thing called Functional Behavioral Assessment. It’s like a behavior study to figure out why, and that assessment aids in creating a Behavior Intervention Plan.

Here’s the kicker – behavior is often the reason for more restrictive placements, so getting the social-emotional stuff right is key for your kid’s success and mingling with typical peers. If your kid has a mental health diagnosis, having someone on the team who gets it is a must. Teachers vary in their understanding of mental health accommodations, so having a therapist or psychologist in the mix helps create a plan that really gets your kid.

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