Examining the Quality of IEPs for Young Children… 1 answer below »

Examining the Quality of IEPs for Young Children with Autism Lisa A. Ruble • John McGrew • Nancy Dalrymple • Lee Ann Jung Published online: 6 April 2010 ! Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010 Abstract The purpose of this study was to develop an Individual Education Program (IEP) evaluation tool based on Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requirements and National Research Council recommendations for children with autism; determine the tool’s reliability; test the tool on a pilot sample of IEPs of young children; and examine associations between IEP quality and school, teacher, and child characteristics. IEPs for 35 students with autism (Mage = 6.1 years; SD = 1.6) from 35 different classrooms were examined. The IEP tool had adequate interrater reliability (ICC = .70). Results identified no statistically significant association between demographics and IEP quality, and IEPs contained relatively clear descriptions of present levels of performance. Weaknesses of IEPs were described and recommendations provided. Keywords Individual education programs ! National research council ! IDEA ! IEP quality ! IEP objectives ! Educating children with autism Introduction The Individualized Education Program (IEP) is a multidisciplinary, team-developed plan required for every child receiving special education services under Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 2004). The IEP is the educational map for children with disabilities. As described in Public Law 108–144, legally required components of the IEP include (a) the child’s present level of performance; (b) measurable annual goals; (c) how the child’s progress toward meeting the annual goals will be measured and when periodic reports on the progress the child is making toward meeting the annual goals will be provided; (d) the special education (i.e., specially designed instruction) and related services and supplementary aids and services, based on peer-reviewed research to the extent practicable, to be provided to the child; (e) program modifications or supports for school personnel that will be provided for the child; (f) the extent to which the child will not participate with nondisabled children in the regular classroom; and (g) individual appropriate accommodations that are necessary to measure the academic achievement and functional performance of the child on state and districtwide assessments (PL 108-446 2004). As shown above, in the recently amended version of IDEA (2004), emphasis has been placed on accurate and objective measurement of student progress. Although IDEA delineates broad, minimum required components of the IEP, the law allows states to determine any additional requirements, specific procedures, and format for the IEP. Thus, IEPs may take on many different forms and styles.

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