All parents want their children to develop their individual potentials and to become the best they can be. As parents and as a society, one way to achieve this is through education that meets their needs as individuals. The Ministry of Education, in their skills and training mission statement, specifies:
- If children are gifted, or have special talents or abilities, their educational programs must ensure they continue to be challenged in their learning.
- If children have disabilities, their programs need to respond to their particular learning needs
The B.C. School Act requires a school board to make an educational program available to all persons of school age who live and enroll in the schools in the province.
The Individual Education Plan Ministerial Order requires school boards to design, review and implement Individual Education Plans for students identified as having special needs. A student with special needs is considered to have one or more of the following:
- An intellectual, physical, sensory, emotional or behavioral disability
- A learning disability
- Exceptional gifts or talents
An individual education plan (IEP) may contain the following:
- Learning outcomes that:
- Are the same as those prescribed for the grade level (adapted for your child) or
- That differ from the prescribed curriculum for the grade level (modified for your child)
- A list of support services required by the student to achieve his or her learning outcomes.
- A list of the adapted or modified materials, instructional strategies and assessment methods required by the student to meet his/her learning outcomes.
Your role as a parent
As a parent, you have the right to be involved in the planning and management of your child’s IEP. You also may play a key role as a member of your child’s educational team. You will be asked to provide information that affects your child’s health, safety or well-being at school. Your input helps to answer a fundamental question: What skills are most important for my child to develop now and in the future?
An IEP will vary according to the complexity of each student’s special needs. A short IEP may be adequate for students who only require adaptations to their curriculum, such as a change in exam procedures and tests, or support for note taking. A longer IEP will be written for a student who requires modifications to his or her curriculum. Students with more complex needs will have IEP’s that involve more people.
An IEP is reviewed regularly and updated annually.
For further information, the BC Coalition of Parent Advisory Councils has created a booklet for parents explaining Individual Education Plans.