IEP Preparation

Check out Autism Speaks Guide for IEPs – click here.

This short list of questions may help you prepare for your IEP meetings…

Autism Questionnaire To: Parents of Preschoolers with Autism from: Lisa Nelson, M.A., CCC/SLP  

Autistic Spectrum Disorder is the term currently being used by many professionals to describe children who have similarities in the way they understand the world and process information. These children have difficulties in communication, social interaction and play. Labels are nothing more than a ticket to service – we do not treat labels, we treat children. Your child is more than his/her “label”, and you need to get to know his or her unique patterns of strengths and needs if you are to become an effective advocate for education, therapy and treatment services. You are the expert. You know your child best, care about his/her quality of life, and are the most important person in your child’s life.

In order to help you prepare to communicate about your child with members of the interdisciplinary team (teachers, occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech pathologists, psychologists, doctors), please try to organize answers to the following questions:

  • What are the most motivating things for your child – what do they like or show an interest in? (Think about foods, toys, people, actions or activities).
  • How does your child seem to learn best – by looking and watching? By listening? By moving? Be able to describe the way you think your child learns things.
  • Does your child seem to be overly-sensitive to specific things, for example, sounds, movement, touch, light, smells, tastes? Is there something your child dislikes or avoids because he/she may be overly sensitive to it?
  • When does your child seek you out to start an interaction – when hungry, thirsty, upset, needing help?
  • What reasons does your child want to interact with you or with others – to get attention, to show you something, to get something they want, or to express feelings?
  • How does your child communicate with you – by crying or screaming, using gestures like pointing, pushing or pulling you, looking at wanted items, making sounds, pointing to objects or pictures, saying words? There are so many ways that children communicate – both verbally (with words) and non-verbally (without saying anything – just using facial expressions, gestures, eye gaze). Try to list the ways that your child communicates with you.
  • Does your child have particular dislikes or things they avoid? It might be hard to understand what your child has strong reactions to, and why. Try to make a list of dislikes and avoidances. These can help the team figure out the “why.”
  •  Do you notice any unusual patterns of behavior – doing things over and over again, repeating whatever is a heard, narrow interest in play, repetitive movements?
  • What does your child understand? Can they follow directions? If so, give an example of a direction the child follows most of the time.
  • Do you think there is a hearing problem, and if so, have you had hearing tested?
  • What would you like your child to learn how to do – in the next month, six months, and year?
  • What is the most important thing you would like others to know about your child?