The Lighthouse Learning and Development Centre understands that not all children who have an Autism diagnosis require a specialized school setting. There are a large number of children on the spectrum who are quite capable of achieving full success while integrated in a public school setting. Unfortunately for children with Autism, it isn’t that simple. There needs to be proper assessments completed, team meetings, modifications, accommodations and ongoing school support to ensure that success is possible. For parents, most of whom do not hold a degree in education, these terms, meetings and processes can be quite daunting.
The Public School IPRC and IEP Process
The process in the public school system typically begins with an Identification, Placement and Review Committee (IPRC) meeting. This meeting is for the school to identify the student as exceptional, which then leads to the development of the Individualized Education Program (IEP). The principals are required to develop an IEP within 30 days of the students’ placement in the special education program. Participation by parents in these meetings is welcomed and encouraged. However, many parents attending these meetings feel very overwhelmed and uncertain about their own role in the development of the IEP.
Remembering My Son’s IPRC and IEP Meetings
Even though I am the mother of this little boy who knew him better than anyone, I still felt very insecure and unimportant in these meetings. I had questions and concerns that I wanted addressed, however I was always reassured that the school new best. When presented with his completed IEP for my signature, I refused to sign it. No assessments had been done to determine a true academic profile of my son. Some of the expectations of the IEP were so elementary I was concerned that he wouldn’t be challenged at all resulting in little to no advancement throughout the year. I felt like I constantly needed to remind the team that just because my son had Autism, didn’t mean he wasn’t capable of full academic success.
While many share my experience, there are also a number of success stories from parents who have negotiated their way through their child’s IEP process. There are some teachers out there who are so amazing at their job that the child’s IEP is a true representation of the child, and the goals are not only challenging but also realistic. Unfortunately, like myself, that isn’t the case of everyone. It was this disconnect that has led the Lighthouse to create the Academic Profile Series.
What is the Academic Profile Series?
The Academic Profile Series are academic assessments that determine exactly what grade level a child is working at in Reading (we provide the guiding reading level), Writing and Math. These assessments are not meant to replace the IEP that is created in the school, but rather to give parents the tools to ensure that their child is being programmed appropriately. Through our new student intakes for the 2015/2016 school year we have found a discrepancy between the levels the parents have been told their child is working at, and their true academic ability. Our assessments give parents a clear view of what their child’s capabilities are, which in turn gives parents the knowledge to advocate for their child properly.
The Academic Profile Series
is offered on three different levels:
- Basic Academic Profile
- Comprehensive Academic Profile
- Comprehensive Academic Profile with support
This Assessment Series was designed to assist parents with the Individual Education Plan process and to ensure that children are being challenged enough to allow for academic success. As a parent who has a child with Autism, my life is dedicated to advocating for him every single day of his life. When advocating, knowledge is power and it is that knowledge that we hope to give parents through these series of assessments.
To set up an Academic Profile appointment for your child, please reach out to us