Individualized Education Plan (IEP) /504

Selective Mutism is an anxiety disorder that is most commonly diagnosed in childhood and prevents children from being able to speak in a number of circumstances including the school. The presentation can vary from child to child. Therefore, each response including working with the schools should be individualized to fit the child’s needs. Selective Mutism is a debilitating diagnosis for many children which may require accommodations. Children are often unable to ask to use the restroom, may appear to have autism or other learning difficulties, and can even go hours before letting a grown-up know that they are physically hurt. To best treat Selective Mutism, a number of recommendations should be taken into account. Given the impact that Selective Mutism can have on children while in school, it is common for children to be placed on an Individualized Education Program or a 504 plan.

What is an IEP?

An Individualized Education Program (IEP) is designed to help kids succeed in school.  The IEP describes the goals the team sets for a child during the school year, as well as any special support needed to achieve them.

An IEP is an individual education plan, which is part of the special education law.  It allows for additional services and protections for disabled children not offered to other children such as accommodations, modifications, related and special education services to allow the child to be successful in school.

What is a 504 Plan?

A 504 plan, of the rehabilitation act of 1973 is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities.  A 504 plan ensures that a child with a disability has equal access to an education.  The child may receive accommodations and modifications even if he or she does not qualify for special education.  Any school or program receiving federal funds must follow this law.

How to advocate for your child

You are your child’s best advocate for educational success. You know your child’s strengths and can help identify challenges and advocate for the resources your child needs to succeed.

  • Be Informed:

    • Learn about your child’s challenges, but also explore your child’s strengths so you can work with the school to find ways to best support your child’s learning and communication needs.

    • Know your child’s rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Parent supports (Oklahoma Parents Center) are available if you need a parent advocate to assist you during important meetings. 

    • Ask your child regularly how school is going. It’s important to know if your child is using the accommodations on the IEP or 504 plan and how it's working for your child.

 

  • Stay Organized:

    • Keep copies of all report cards, progress reports, evaluations, medical records, IEP records, and recommendations from outside providers. Reviewing documents regularly can provide insights to learning, as well as remind you of your child’s progress. A binder can assist with organization.

  • Build relationships:

    • It’s vital to know your child’s teachers as well as other providers that may be working with your child.  School psychologists, counselors, speech language pathologists, and occupational therapists can all support your child and your child’s educational and communication goals.

    • Communicate regularly with all of your child’s providers. The staff is there to help, even if you disagree with them.

    • Stay calm and collected, and consider bringing a relative or friend for support if needed. You are part of this team. Be receptive, but you should never feel pressured by your child’s school to make a decision. You are an equal member of the decision making team. 

  • Understand:

    • Ask questions so that you understand your child’s program and accommodations before giving consent to services or signing documents.

    • Don’t be afraid to request further evaluations, respectfully express your disagreement, or ask for detailed clarification. It’s always best to make requests in writing and keep copies of those requests and teacher communication logs in your child’s educational binder.

    • Learning the lingo is helpful, and again, always ask questions if you don’t understand.

Helpful
Resources

What to Prep for an IEP Meeting

What to Ask During an IEP Meeting

Building Relationships Between School Personnel & Parents

Your Rights as a Parent

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

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