APG EFMP highlights importance of Individual Education Programs
By Nancy Goucher, APG Army Community ServiceSeptember 25, 2014
ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md.--The Aberdeen Proving Ground Exceptional Family Member Program services military and civilian Families within the APG Community with any physical, emotional, developmental, behavioral, mental, or intellectual disorder that requires special treatment, therapy, education, training, or counseling on an on-going basis.Grades are important and they can be very upsetting when a student with disabilities consistently brings home low grades, especially when they are putting forth their best effort. Parents and students may feel that low grades don't reflect the huge amount of effort the student puts into school work.Many schools use a grading system that measures students' performance through assessments that correspond to a state's grade-level learning standards. This "one-size-fits-all" grading system leads to issues of grading fairness and equity for students with special needs. The impact of low grades may affect the student's motivation, self-esteem, and attitude toward school. This is especially true when students are not permitted to participate in extracurricular activities due to poor grades.INDIVIDUAL EDUCATION PROGRAMThe Individual Education Program describes the educational program designed and adapted to meet one student's unique individual needs when receiving special education and related services. It describes what a student needs to make progress in the general education curriculum.The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act is a law ensuring services to children with disabilities throughout the nation. Section 300.320(a) of IDEA 2004 requires each student's IEP includes annual goals; a statement of the special education and related services; and supplementary aids and services to permit the student to progress in the general education curriculum.To meet the requirements for Free Appropriate Public Education the school must make sure that the student with a disability makes adequate progress in academics and functional performance, and on IEP goals. If the student's academic and functional performances are not matching the student's progress on IEP goals, the student's IEP should be revised. IEPs can be adjusted or IEP meetings can be scheduled at any time during the year.Steps should be taken by the regular or special education teacher before assigning a student a failing grade. A conference should be scheduled in a reasonable time that would allow the student to make progress in the general education curriculum and on IEP goals. Committee members of the conference should view documentation of student work samples for instructional modifications, supplemental aids, and supports implemented from the student's IEP. Discussions regarding low grades should address whether accommodations provided in the IEP are appropriate. A review of the student's IEP may determine additional modifications are needed and the IEP needs to be amended.A student may benefit from grading modifications but can only do so legally if written in the students' IEP. If the IEP does not have grading modifications, the assumption by the Office for Civil Rights is that the student will be graded according to the school's general grading standards.If the student continues to fail after additional modifications have been implemented, a formal meeting should be scheduled to discuss if additional changes should be made to the IEP.EFMP at ABERDEEN PROVING GROUNDThe APG Exceptional Family Member Program provides services to both military and civilian Families within the APG Community. All EFMP Families and any special needs family members are provided information on community resources, Special Needs Accommodation Process (SNAP) assistance for children in Child, Youth, and School Services (CYSS), housing advocacy, special education consult, and resource materials and a lending library.For additional information and resources visit Army Community Service, Exceptional Family Member Program at 2503 Highpoint Road, APG. The EFMP has a DVD lending library, books and resources for active-duty Families, retirees and DOD civilians.