Feinstein Education Law Group
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What your special needs child deserves in a Connecticut school

Some students need assistance to learn the way others do. Perhaps they are blind or struggle to hear. It's the school's job to make sure these individuals can participate in the classes they're in and have access to the same information and opportunities as other students.

These students are often eligible for individualized education plans, or IEPs. These plans are focused on the specific needs of the student and helps address them for the benefit of the student and his or her educational future.

An IEP has three main parts. These sections help determine what is included in the IEP and define the needs of the special education student.

1. Skills and educational performance

The first part of the IEP should talk about the student's current educational performance and level of skills. Things like the student's speech, emotional behaviors, physical ability and cognitive skills are identified and assessed. Things like teacher observations and grades are also included in this section of the IEP.

2. Short-term goals and long-term annual goals

A good IEP also includes your short-term and long-term goals. The short-term objectives for the student's educational needs should be included. Other important factors, like the need for socialization or physical education, should be noted. Annual and short-term goals should be in the IEP at minimum.

3. Instructions and placement information

Finally, the IEP should include information on the placement of the child. Should the child be in a regular class, special education course or in another facility completely? Does he or she need a sign-language interpreter or other special services to participate in class with other children? All special services your child needs should be included in the IEP, so you know what to expect from a school in the future.

If you do not agree with the IEP created for your child, you do not have to sign off on it. You have the right to speak with your attorney and request changes. If you have questions about how an IEP helps, you can talk to your attorney about Connecticut's state laws regarding special education.

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