More than an IEP: Planning for Special Education Needs Beyond the Classroom and How an Educational Consultant Can Assist
Many Special Education students with a 504 Plan or an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) have needs that must be met beyond the classroom. It is common for students to face numerous challenges in one or more areas including school, learning, social, emotions, or behavioral challenges. Within those categories are a long list of specific common concerns and presentations or severity that are often unique to the individual.
Let’s be clear. There is a difference between needs and services. One might need help with learning, and tutoring might be the service selected to meet the need. Another person might need to become emotionally regulated, and therapy, or medicine or a special camp opportunity are services that could be selected to meet the need. A 504 Plan or an IEP, referred to by different terms depending on the district or state, are services designed to meet a student’s need for access to an appropriate education and commonly referred to as FAPE.
Identifying the right school-based accommodations or services can be quite a challenge. Life for these families can become even more complicated when a family must access additional services outside of school. It is common for assessments to indicate needs and recommend services that might include occupational therapy, social skills groups, individual therapy of many types, extensive tutoring, juvenile justice system diversion or probation programming, and more. Appointments may occur with various providers and are scheduled both during and after school hours.
Special Education Students and Needs Outside of School
What is a parent to do with all the requirements, recommendations and options for services?
Morgan Guidance Educational Consultant Elaine Morgan assists families in creating customized plans designed to work in the local community. It’s easy to become overwhelmed and spend considerable time and energy on services, and yet see minimal results with resulting family frustration due to being overextended with services that are added to the every day activities of families and young people in this generation.
I provide Parent Support as well as a concierge style of Case Management for families who like to plan services for the maximum benefit. It’s a collaborative approach where parents are experts, and I serve as a sounding board and brainstorming partner. Our mutual goal is to create a clear path forward including a well thought out plan with actionable goals and steps. A plan must be sustainable, which can be a challenge for families accessing a number of service for a student or young adult with special needs of some sort. Sometimes the planning includes recommendations of the “right fit” school or program. Planning is strategic, not random. We track success and adjust the plan as often as needed. Professionals appreciate systematic planning that targets barriers to success. Parents and professionals alike value integrated care that supports success.
As with the Wraparound model of care, parents and young person lead the planning process. Planning is always customized to the family’s culture and experiences. Educational Consultant Elaine Morgan offers this level of service at her office in the greater Orlando area and uses technology to plan with families across the country. Do you have a student or client who utilizes Special Education services? We create comprehensive plans that include school and community services. Contact us today for a complimentary consultation and to learn if this style of planning is right for your family.
With you on the journey,