Formal School Meetings
Other publications provide complete descriptions of the Student Study Team, Individual Education Plan (IEP), and other formal public school processes. The following is only intended to be a very brief description.
A parent or teacher may request a Student Study Team (SST) meeting. This meeting provides an arena for identifying strengths and areas of concern. The result can be informal planning, informal support and minor accommodations, or a recommendation for an assessment to determine eligibility for an IEP and for additional services. Sometimes parents have outside assessment reports that can be shared with the school to assist in planning.
An Individual Education Plan (IEP) is developed by a team made up of an administrator (often the principal), specialists from the school, and the parents. Parents may bring advisors or advocates to these meetings, and often parents ask me to attend. Subsequent IEP team meetings occur annually, unless requested more frequently, and may include the child, but the child is not generally present for the first meeting. Older children may be required to be present, but younger children often prefer to hear the results. The entire process can be overwhelming and hard to understand.
The IEP team must first determine whether a child qualifies for an IEP according to legal guidelines. Children with Asperger Syndrome may qualify if they have a specific learning disability. Sometimes pragmatic language issues can be demonstrated, and the child is determined to qualify based on a language therapist's assessment. Some children have significant deficits in written language. Sometimes a child qualifies based on an autism spectrum diagnosis that significantly affects school functioning.