Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Parent Advocacy: Putting Social Skills in the IEP

By Ann McCarthy

My advocacy clients who have children with ADHD often express concern about their child’s social skills. Yet their child’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) focuses solely on academic performance.
They are right to be concerned. Challenges with social skills can and do impact learning (e.g., following directions, class participation, group work, etc.), as well as life outside the classroom including personal relationships and workplace interactions.

Although parents are often intimidated by the IEP process, you need not hold back when it comes to addressing social-skill deficits with your child’s team. You know that social skills are vital for success in life. Teachers know this too. That is the common ground on which to begin the discussion.
The IDEA is a good place to start the conversation, as it provides the justification for including social skills in the IEP. The law notes that the purpose of special education is to prepare students with disabilities for “further education, employment, and independent living,” all of which require social competency.

Including Social Skills in the IEP

If you have questions about how to get the school to include social skills goals in your child's IEP, please contact Family Matters at (866)436-7842.   We can help you understand your child's educational rights.

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