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Uncovering Two Hidden IEP Components

Did you know that you can request staff training so that your child’s school providers will better understand your child’s needs?

Or that the IEP can provide ongoing consults with your child’s special ed teachers and service providers so that you can learn how to support your child’s IEP at home?

Or that the IEP can designate time for your child’s school speech therapist to collaborate with your child’s teacher so that the teacher receives ongoing support and guidance to reinforce in class the skills the speech therapist is teaching in speech therapy sessions?


Years ago, Pete Wright asked me to write an article for Wrightslaw about Support for School Personnel and Parent Training, key components of a child’s IEP not used often enough.  The goal is to provide services to teachers, providers, and parents to help them work more effectively with the child.

Support for School Personnel

Let’s say your child has sensory needs and deficits in social skills, but her general ed and P.E. teachers don’t have specific training in autism.  You can request training by the school district’s autism specialist or occupational therapist to these teachers to show them how to accommodate your child’s sensory needs.  This training can avoid negative behaviors caused when school staff doesn’t understand your child’s disability.  And the school speech therapist can train the general education and P.E. teachers how to facilitate positive social interaction and to prompt sustained conversations between peers.

Remember to designate who will conduct the training, who will receive the training, and the duration and frequency of the training.  For a training occurring at the beginning of the school year, it’s important to specify the deadline for completion so that everyone gets off to a good start.

But remember— Support for School Personnel does not substitute for direct services by appropriate personnel, but supplements them.

Support for School Personnel can be especially important to train staff about disabilities such as traumatic brain injury, bipolar disorder, genetic diseases, and autism.  Training can focus on how these disabilities affect the child’s education and how school staff should respond to situations arising from the child’s disability.

You can also include time for collaboration between the school provider and a private provider of the child so that their services can complement each other.

Parent Training

The law provides for parent training so that parents can learn skills to help implement their child’s IEP and to understand their child’s disability.  Consistency is important so that parents receive a regular time for training each week or month by a designated provider.  In this way, parents can support at home what teachers and providers are doing at school, such as developing social skills, improving reading and other academic skills, and addressing behavior.  Again, designate who will train the parent, and the frequency and the duration of the training.  

Parent training helps parents participate more actively in their child’s education and supports what the child is learning at school.  Parents can share their insights and observations with school staff, which helps school personnel and parents work together.

For a more in-depth explanation and more specific examples, see my Wrightslaw article:

“Support for School Personnel and Parent Training:  Often Overlooked Keys to Success” by Susan Bardet