Does Your Child’s Teacher Have the IEP Accommodation List? You Sure About That?

It has only been about a month or so since school began, but there might still be challenges parents need to work out with the new teachers.

One issue I often hear about is that the new teacher does not provide modifications or accommodations consistently or accurately.

While parents are working out these challenges with the new teachers, it might be a good idea to ask the special education coordinator if all of your child’s teacher’s actually do have a list of the IEP accommodations.

Yes, I just said that. Ask if the teacher’s have them! 

Don’t assume the teacher’s have the accommodation list

Yes, you met with the special education case manager; yes, you have been communicating on a regular basis either through email or hand-written notes. But do you know for a fact that each individual teacher has a list of your child’s accommodations? Perhaps the main teacher has them, but not the PE or Music teacher. Maybe the nurse needs them? How about the resource teacher? 

The beginning of each semester for middle and high school teachers is somewhat hectic to say the least. Before you jump up and give your kid’s teacher the ‘ole “what for” let’s think this through. 

Teachers don’t know what they don’t know

There are many students who qualify for services everyday at school. If all is going well with the electives or special classes, most times, the teacher of record will not question the outcome. Students are not the best at communicating their needs; they’re not and that’s just the way it is. Some students might have a big voice, but for the most part, they are silent. While some students are aware they are entitled to accommodations, they don’t usually have the capacity or wherewithal to speak-up at the time the modifications are needed. So, the elective teacher thinks everything is going along just fine. No complaints. Until…that one day when something happens, or goes wrong; then the parent says, “Why weren’t the accommodations in place”?

The answer is simple…it’s because there weren’t any!

Accommodations cannot be activated if the teacher is unaware of the situation. I understand communicating the educational supports is not the parents’ job, but let’s face it, if you want something done you will simply have to do it yourself. Period!

Your kid is a number

Unfortunately, these same teachers usually do not get the updated list of accommodations or modifications. I like to think it is an oversight and rarely happens. But it does, and all too often.

Elementary schools have more than 500 or more students; middle schools upwards of about 1000; and in some high schools, there could be 1,900-2,000 students. 

Of those students, there might be well over 200 or 300 that qualify for some type of service. Your child might be assigned to a case manager who handles 50 to 100 students. Can you see now how your child might get overlooked?

Teacher’s work very hard and sometimes things happen. I am a firm believer that teacher’s want to do a good job, but I am also a believer that parents need to work with the teacher and not against them.

Advocate for your child

Don’t be afraid to contact each teacher and ask if he or she has the updated list of modifications. If the teacher does not have them and the accommodations are not being implemented on a daily basis, that teacher, as well as the school, would be in non-compliance of a legal document. Nobody wants that.

Be strategic

  • Ask the teacher’s if they have received a copy of your student’s accommodations? If not, ask the Special Education teacher if you can deliver it. (Yes, it is their job, but do you want the teachers to have it or not?) If convenience is an issue, and the special education teacher will re-deliver the list, be sure to follow-up with emails. 
  • Email all the teachers to answer any questions they might have. Remember, new teachers are also new learners.
  • Don’t forget, all requests should be in writing.

No time to waste!

The sooner the better to check on the status of the accommodations. Once the semester is over there is no going back. Communication is the key.



One comment

  • How to sum this up…

    We had a small problem with our daughter and allegations she was cheating during a test in her science class. We got most of it sorted out; we don’t think she cheated, but rather, we think she wasn’t paying attention to the teacher and she left her notes out.

    We had her retake the test and do her detention time. We both e-mailed her science teacher and got something to the effect of: “I’ll do what I can, but she’s one of 170 students.” Note, we did talk to her at the 504 meeting quite a bit.

    But I had forgotten that her pediatrician wanted to see if our daughter would be okay without her stimulant medication. Doctor wanted to go a full month. It’s been only two weeks, but, well, even our daughter, talking to a teacher supervising detention, decided going back on meds would be a good idea. We have proof positive for the doctor now, of course.

    *sigh* Sorry. I tried to keep this short, but I couldn’t. We’ll figure something out. We hashed out as much as we could during the 504 meeting and all teachers present said it was okay to e-mail and communicate regularly that way.

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