An Individualized Education Program (IEP) can be a critical part of a child with special needs’ academic success. While an IEP is often a complicated plan (and process) due to the variety of team members involved, it can also open new doors of opportunity. While most people understand that an IEP can help with issues like time allotted for testing or overcoming communication problems, as well as addressing general learning difficulties, this plan can also help in ways you may have never considered.
Nutrition. Your child’s IEP can (and often should) include nutritional needs in its makeup. While Cerebral Palsy affects people in a wide variety of ways, some children with CP require very specific diets. Things like food programs, dietary restrictions, adjustments in offerings and more can all be covered within your child’s IEP. You can learn more about the wide variety of ways you can build nutrition into your child’s IEP on our blog post located here.
Physical Education. If your child has limits to their movement due to their Cerebral Palsy, you may have already built an IEP around these challenges. However, it’s important to also consider the toll that physical activity may have on your child. Consider building into your child’s IEP adjustments that can account for exhaustion; while your child may be able to make a solid effort towards the required running test, he or she may also be too exhausted to focus on math a few hours later.
Assistive Technology. Far too many parents assume the onus is on them to get a tool like a tablet or computer for their child because of its entertainment potential. Special education funds provided to schools can apply toward these sort of devices and it’s important that you speak with stakeholders at the school (and school district) about what your options may be. We do have information on helping families get access to assistive technology as well so, if you haven’t already, please contact us.
Music. Schools can have a wide variety of requirements for curriculum and music is often a part of them. Due to dexterity issues, your child may be pushed away from instruments and into a program like choir. As your child gets older, though, it may be possible to have your child’s requirement handled instead through the study of music theory or the use of computer software, etc. With an IEP, there is the potential to get creative in your child’s educational focus and perhaps open doors you didn’t think possible.
Each of the items above are merely suggestions that represent the tip of the iceberg for how an IEP can be built around your child’s special needs. Let us know: how have you customized your child’s IEP in a unique or helpful way?