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    Educational Alphabet Soup

    By Kristen Houghton     

    Parents, as well as educators, need to be constantly on the alert for the newest ideas, state and federal regulations, and new federal laws. This is especially true of anyone who is involved either personally, or professionally, with special education.

    Due to the internet we live in an anagram writing and speaking world. In education this has lead to a veritable “alphabet soup” of educational terms.

    Anagrams such as IDEA, I&RS, IEAS, BIP, ESEA, IEP, and PRISE can be daunting even for the professionals who deal with these programs or regulations on a daily basis. How much more difficult is it for the parent who arrives for a meeting concerning her child’s learning difficulties and is thrown into the maelstrom of educational alphabet soup!

    Anagrams are simply short-cuts to the spoken and written language. Instead of saying or writing the four words “as soon as possible” we are more likely to say or write “ASAP.” Living in a “hurry up and get it done” world, anagrams save time but, for the bewildered parent, they do little but add to the confusion.

    Not all anagrams are easy as far as gaining insight and information on what is being done for your child via his or her IEP or Individualized Educational Program, but a working knowledge of what the letters stand for can help you navigate the “soup.”

    If your child is in special education classes, whether for physical or learning disabilities, you must be given a pamphlet titled PRISE, or Parental Rights in Special Education. This details your rights in helping to decide what is best for your child.

    IDEA is an anagram for Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Decisions regarding your child’s special education needs are made at meetings. As the parent of a child who has or may have a disability, you have the right to participate in all meetings. You are considered a member of the multi-disciplinary team of qualified persons who meet to make these determinations and develop your child’s IEP.

    If you disagree with the evaluation done by the school district where your child attends school, you have the right to request an independent evaluation and are entitled to one which will be paid for by the district.

    Intervention is a district’s way of getting students the help they need before a major problems results. Usually it is initiated by a faculty member who may have noticed either educational or emotional difficulties in your child that are hindering her learning process. They are not required by law to do so but many educators will call a parent before initiating an Intervention and Referral Service or I&RS.

    And speaking of intervention, there is a new catch-phrase that is called BIP, which stands for Behavioral Intervention Plan. If your child is showing inappropriate behavior in school, either towards others or himself, BIP is one of the first types of meetings to be held. An IEAS, Interim Alternative Educational Setting may be implemented if your child cannot be safely placed in a classroom. The district must supply an alternative place and comparable education.

    Finally there is ESEA, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 that was renamed the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act of 2001. It established laudable goals, high standards and accountability for the learning of all children. States which do not adhere to Federal guidelines risk losing any federal funding for their districts.

    Arm yourself for any meetings with the knowledge of what the anagrams mean and how each applies to your child. Don’t be confused by educational alphabet soup.

    Written by Kristen HoughtonRate this article:

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