O’Connor, S., Wright, P. & Wright, P.
Harbor House Law Press, Inc.
BOOK REVIEW (Davidson Institute) - The book provides practical advice on implementing effective strategies for the best possible IEP outcomes.
Reviewed by Davidson Institute for Talent Development.
Wrightslaw’s All About IEPs by Peter W.D. Wright, Esq., Pamela Darr Wright, MA, MSW, and Sandra Webb O’Connor, M.Ed, offers practical advice on implementing effective strategies for the best possible IEP outcomes. All About IEPs reads like a driver’s manual with clearly laid out question and answer format that will prove accessible to almost anyone who chooses to utilize this great resource.
Though this text offers nothing specific in regards to the gifted population, it still proves valuable as it guides the reader through all phases of constructing an IEP and does so by introducing the concept that IEPs are implemented primarily to ensure that all students have access to a fair and appropriate public education (FAPE). When looked at through the lens of FAPE, it ties together for the reader the basic purpose of formulating an IEP and the text does an excellent job of bringing every issue back to this basic premise.
All About IEPs begins with four common mistakes that parents make even before attending their first IEP meeting and includes a pre-meeting worksheet as a means of organization. The text continues with informing the reader about which parties are required to attend the IEP meeting, as well as who may be excused, and other parties parents may request be in attendance. The authors also offer coaching to parents on communication styles and how to self-assess to make sure they are putting their best face forward.
Chapter 4 introduces the concept of writing effective measurable goals that will make sure that the IEP fulfills its primary purpose of being individualized. This chapter also makes an excellent point of advising that all needs of the student should be covered and addressed in the IEP regardless of school district availability, as this defeats the notion of an individualized plan.
Some additional topics All About IEPs covers are, supplemental aids and services, assistive devices, training for parents teachers, and support personnel, i.e. bus drivers, that may be included in the IEP. All About IEPs also lays out how to make sure progress towards goals is measurable and advises parents to ensure that how progress will be measured is included as well.
All About IEPs concludes with very useful information on transition plans and services for children aging out of special education as well as potential placements and extended school year services. Chapter 13 offers helpful suggestions on transferring to different school districts with an IEP in place including timeframes and parameters of what is required of the accepting school district. All About IEPs concludes with a chapter on resolving parent-school disputes: steps parents can take if they do not agree with the IEP; how mediations work; due process hearings; if no progress is being made; how to have new goals formulated; and whether or not the school need accept a private assessment from an outside assessor.
In summation, Wrightslaw’s All About IEPs is an invaluable resource to any one who desires a better knowledge of the basic workings of having an effective IEP implemented for their child or loved one.
See also: The Davidson Gifted Database resource record of All About IEPs.