Sometimes Teachers Need Cheat-Cheats Too
When I was a Special Education Case Manager, at the beginning of every school year, I would handout copies of IEP’s to all of my students’ teachers of record. The teachers would all sign-off that they have received and read the documents they have been given. And then the school year would kickoff in earnest…
I quickly learned that not only I, but my students’ teachers as well, needed a quick IEP reference sheet – a cheat-cheat if you will. I scoured the internet and Teachers-Pay-Teachers to cobble together an IEP “snapshot” of important student information I could refer to throughout the school year. My Special Education co-workers liked my snapshots so much, they asked if if I could put together a snapshot binder for the department.
Why were the snapshots so well liked? Special Education and General Education Teachers are required to provide the accommodations and services contained in each and every IEP. So, if a classroom assessment or statewide assessment was coming up and a student’s IEP stated they had reading accommodations, arrangements for a reader (either human or digital) had to be made. But here is where it can get confusing: Student A and B both have a reading accommodation in their IEP, except Student A has all text read to them and Student B only has directions and questions read to them. If asked, I was always able to tell which of my students had a reading accommodation and which did not. However, I couldn’t always remember if they had all text or only specific parts of a text read. A brief check of a student’s IEP Snapshot gave me a quick and easy answer and ensured the student received their accommodations. In short, the snapshots provided a quick and accurate reference in the moment.
While my cobbled together IEP Snapshot forms where effective, I always wanted to improve them – take out sections I didn’t use, add other information I found essential. I finally had the time to create the IEP Snapshot I always wanted and am excited to share it with you!
How to Use
An IEP Snapshot is an excellent tool for parents to use to help ensure their child is receiving all of their accommodations across the different school settings. Here is how I recommend using an IEP Snapshot:
- Download our free IEP Snapshot.
- Print the form double-sided – creating a one page, double-sided document.
- Using your child’s IEP – fill in the different sections on the snapshot (I would use a highlighter and highlight the appropriate accommodations).
- Show the filled in IEP Snapshot with your child and go over the different sections with them. Ask them if they have any questions and remind them their teacher will have a copy and they too can reference it when self advocation for themselves.
- If your child is older (middle/high school) and/or has multiple teachers throughout the day, place a completed copy in their binder so they can reference it when self advocating.
- Bring the filled out IEP Snapshot with you when you attend “Back to School Night” or schedule a meeting with your child’s teachers within the first 2-3 weeks of school.
- Keep a copy for yourself with the copies of your child’s IEP.
- Periodically reach out to your child’s teachers and ask if they have had any issues and/or if your child is periodically refusing their accommodations (you’d be surprised how many students way – “I don’t want a reader”; “I can do this myself”; etc. – especially as they get older and more aware.)