Collaboration Stewart Ruddy and Mary Lyons

Identifying Students with Disabilities

  1. General education teachers need to work closely with their students, always monitoring their understanding and progress. With the knowledge that comes from having strong relationships with students, teachers can be equipped to see where their students may need additional supports, whether in academic or adaptive skills.
  2. Through providing instruction in a response to Intervention framework, teachers will be able to identify which of their students may need higher tier supports, and thus perhaps an IEP.

Developing a Student's IEP

  1. Before an IEP can be developed, the levels of performance must be presented for a student's current functioning ability, strengths, and needs. A general education teacher is well equipped to provide the IEP team with this information as they have been working with the student in their classroom.
  2. General education teachers are beneficial to an IEP meeting as they have experience with the student in their specific classroom and can provide their opinion for what services will best support the student.
  3. The IRIS module for Accommodations: Instructional and Testing Supports for Students with Disabilities notes how the general education teacher is vital in discussing the present levels of educational performance, individual strengths and needs, and educational goals.
  4. An IEP also consists of accommodations that the student must be provided with. The general education teacher should have a voice in what these accommodations should be as they will most likely be one of the people who are providing them.
  5. As IDEA specifies that a student should be taught in the least restrictive environment, inclusion, the general education teacher will be the main instructor for the student so they should be part of the IEP process.

Participation in Meetings

  1. General education teachers should be part of an IEP team meeting once a year to review the goals for the student and the progress they have made in pursuit of these goals.
  2. It is important for the general education teacher to be at this meeting as they will have directly experienced the student's progress.
What general education teachers should discuss with other professionals during an IEP meeting. (IRIS: Instructional and Testing Supports for Students with Disabilities)

Providing Educational Services

  1. The general education teacher must work to provide the services outlined in the IEP. By referencing the plan, he or she can be aware of the specific needs that a student may have and any modifications or accommodations that may be necessary for them to receive the highest quality education they can.
  2. From something as simple as providing students with more detailed notes for class, to providing accommodations for testing or assessment, to meeting with students to go over daily schedules, general education teachers can have huge impact on the education of students with special needs by providing supports and services to those students.

Involvement with Parents of Children with Special Needs

  1. Communication is key when involving parents in the IEP and instruction process of a child with special needs. The communication should be clear, positive, and informative of the goals for the student and the supports that will be provided for them.
  2. Parents are a vital part of an IEP team so the general education teacher must work closely with them. The parent's wishes must also be considered by the team and the general education teacher might need to make some adjustments to meet these wishes.

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