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Developing an IEP

By Brian Denger, Parent Advocate Coordinator
With Robert K. Crabtree, Esq.

Parents of a boy with Duchenne muscular dystrophy attending school naturally want him to have the same opportunities and choices as his peers. As physical ability is lost, it becomes increasingly more difficult for a boy with Duchenne to perform many activities and the need for assistance will increase. There may also be learning deficiencies or speech impediments that require specialized programs. Many parents are unaware that help is available for their sons or are unsure of how to navigate the process for obtaining services. While parents want their children to succeed, without the proper tools and guidance many will struggle and not receive an appropriate education.

This discussion will provide a broad overview of the process under federal special education and civil rights laws for obtaining special education and related services or accommodations to ensure access to school and how these services can apply to boys with Duchenne. Along the way you will find links to more in-depth information on essential topics imbedded in the text. You should take this discussion as an introduction to some of the basic principles and procedures that will come up as you seek services for your child and treat it as a ramp into more detailed and sophisticated information you can find in other locations. As you review this discussion you should keep in mind that individual states have additional rules for Special Education and that the laws governing these issues at both the state and federal levels can change significantly from time to time. (At the time of preparing this article, for example, you should know that IDEA, the federal special education law, was extensively revised recently, with the new changes scheduled to come into place in July 2005.) To help broaden your understanding of the issues we cover and to help you keep up to date with the changing landscape of special education and discrimination law, the IEP Glossary & Resources Section has links to a variety of topics and resources that can not be fully covered in this discussion.

A boy with Duchenne may only need assistance with physical activities and access or he may require accommodations and modifications that help him complete regular assignments or standardized tests, or develop speech and language skills or developmental skills, or he may need specialized instruction to address learning disabilities. Spending time to learn what services and supports may be available to benefit your son and how best to use the process to obtain those services and supports will help lessen any anxiety you may have and provide you the confidence and know-how to help your son prepare for the future. Becoming an effective advocate for your son takes time, patience and skill. Resources are available to help you to develop an understanding of special education and disability discrimination laws and to work effectively with your son's school. This discussion is not intended as a substitute for appropriate legal advice. Legal concerns are best handled by an attorney familiar in special education and disability law.

Click the links below to show/hide additional content:

  • Special Education Law and Section 504
  • IDEA Basics
  • Teamwork
  • Referral and teaching training 
  • Evaluations
  • Section 504
  • Preparing for IEP
  • The IEP Meeting
  • The IEP Participants 
  • Goals
  • Specialized Instruction and Related Services
  • Supplemental and Other Services
  • Placement
  • Ending the Meeting
  • Consensus, Compromise and Conflict
  • Wrap Up
Back to "Individualized Education Program"

Related links

IEP, Then and Now - Blog by PPMD President Pat Furlong and CO/WY's FACES coordinator, Ivy Scherbarth

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