Individualized Education Plans (IEP)
Understanding the IEP
An Individualized Education Program (IEP) is a plan provided within the public school system to meet the educational needs of child with an identified disability. It includes information about the student’s current performance, goals for development, specific services to be provided, and accommodations needed in school. An IEP assessment is the school’s evaluation process to determine whether a child qualifies for special education services. The main goal of the IEP assessment is to evaluate if a student is eligible for these services under the Individuals for Disabilities Act (IDEA). Through this process, it identifies whether a child has one of the 13 recognized disabilities that impact their educational performance.
Imagine this: Your child has been struggling in school. Despite their efforts, they face challenges that seem more complex than their peers. You requested special education services, and after an assessment through the school, your child was found to be eligible for an IEP. They may have received classroom modifications or services. However, the assessment results don’t seem to fit with your child’s struggles, and your child has not made improvement with their educational plan. You are left with more questions than answers, and a lingering concern about whether your child’s needs are truly understood. In situations like these, many parents turn to an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE). At My Child Assessment Los Angeles, Dr. Michaeli is a qualified IEE assessor specializing in high level, comprehensive IEE evaluations. IEE evaluations are typically sought in situations where disagreements exist regarding the results of an IEP, when clarification of a student’s learning needs is needed, or when families are seeking a comprehensive understanding of the child’s cognitive abilities. Over the past 15 years, Dr. Michaeli has partnered with local school districts to support students with learning challenges. Her expertise in this area, coupled with her collaborative approach, helps to ensure that children with diverse needs receive the supports they need to thrive.
Your Rights as a Parent
An IEE, of Independent Educational Evaluation is an evaluation of a student that is conducted by a qualified professional who is not employed by the school. This is a private evaluation which provides an independent, third-party perspective on the student’s needs that is unbiased and neutral. Parents have the right to obtain an IEE if they disagree with the results of the school’s IEP. This evaluation can be requested at public expense-meaning that the school pays for it. When parents request an IEE, the school district has 2 options: pay for the IEE, or file for due process to prove that its own assessment was appropriate. In most cases, school districts pay for the IEE, since it is more expensive and time consuming to go through due process of law, than to fund an assessment. In cases where the school does not pay for the assessment, parents are still entitled to an independent evaluation. Moreover, schools are required to consider the results of the IEE when making educational decisions for your child.
Differences between and IEP assessment and IEE Evaluation
The IEE assessments provided by My Child Assessment Los Angeles consist of a comprehensive evaluation that is tailored to the IEP process. These assessments differ from school-based assessments in many important ways:
Goals: One of the key differences lies in the goals between the two assessments. The goal of an IEP assessment is to determine whether a student qualifies for special education services according to the one of the 13 categories of disabilities identified under the federal law. This is an educational determination of eligibility, and not a clinical diagnosis. On the other hand, the goal of the IEE evaluation is to provide a complete understanding of cognitive functioning through a detailed portrait of the brain’s strengths and weaknesses. An IEE evaluation can also help provide diagnostic clarity by identifying the presence of specific neurodevelopmental disorders, such as ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, or learning disabilities, among others.
Scope of Assessment: The areas assessed during an IEP evaluation can vary, and depend on the student’s unique needs and the concerns that prompted the evaluation. The IEE encompasses a range of assessments that delve deep into neurocognitive skills such as memory, attention, processing speed, problem solving abilities, and executive functioning. This depth often goes beyond the scope of a standard IEP assessment.
Recommendations: The objective of IEP assessment recommendations are to outline the specific supports, accommodations, and goals the child will need in order to access the curriculum. The plan developed serves as the blueprint for educators and support staff in providing interventions. With respect to the IEE, a detailed understanding of the child’s cognitive profile is obtained, which in turn guides targeted interventions, both in and out of school. In addition to identifying an educational plan, this might include recommendations for specific therapies, medical considerations, strategies for the home and daily routines that are supportive to the child, and other resources.
Overall Approach: The IEE assessments conducted at My Child Assessments help to build a holistic profile that looks beyond just educational needs. It considers, social, emotional, and behavioral aspects, giving a more well-rounded view of the child as a whole.
Areas Assessed in the IEE
Dr. Nicole Michaeli's Approach
Dr. Michaeli’s approach to assessment is much like assembling a puzzle, where each piece represents a unique cognitive ability that comes together to form a complete picture of the individual’s brain-behaviors. The backbone of the IEE assessment includes a range of standardized tests that have been rigorously developed and validated. This data is combined with other measures including classroom observations, collaboration with educators and providers, parent interviews, and conversations with the student. Through this collaborative and in depth process, a detailed profile of your child’s learning patterns can be gleaned. Using this data, a treatment plan is crafted, which addresses the needs of the child in school and beyond. Special attention is paid to educational considerations such as eligibility, services needed, modifications within the classroom, and strategies which will optimize learning. Supports are designed to cater to the unique educational environment your child is in, ensuring a cohesive plan that aligns with the school’s values and practices.
At My Child Assessment Los Angeles, our approach is founded on the belief that students thrive when they are given the tools to do so. With this as the driving force behind our assessments, we aim to deliver high level, comprehensive IEE evaluations that are tailored to the IEP process, provide clarity regarding students’ cognitive needs, and unveil the potential within them. Families are empowered with information they need to understand their child’s strengths and weaknesses, and ensure their child’s educational plan is optimal for their development. Our comprehensive approach not only sets up children to be successful students, but also helps them to grow into successful and happy humans.