PLEP A, PLEP B, PLEP What?
Accommodations Made Easier
The IEP is full of pages specific to your child’s unique educational needs. For some it can be a very overwhelming experience. Especially the PLEP PAGES. First, what does PLEP stand for? PLEP stands for Present Levels of Educational Performance. There are two pages on the IEP. PLEP A for the General Curriculum that list what is needed for the classroom for curriculum purposes and PLEP B for other Educational Needs, such as Behavior, OT, PT and Speech. Okay now what does that mean for your child because that was just the titles?!
First section of the PLEP Pages are boxes that need to be checked off if the area is affected by your child’s disability. For PLEP A the curriculum areas are ELA, Math etc. For PLEP B the other educational needs such as behavior, communication, assistive technology, etc. Just below this is the age specific considerations for your child.
Next is a statement that needs to be developed by the TEAM that describes how the disability affects progress. For PLEP A the TEAM would be describing progress in the curriculum areas and for PLEP B progress of other educational needs.
Okay now for Accommodations. For most districts, you will see a random bullet list of accommodations that are probably listed on most of their students IEPS. A sort of one size fits all list. You may hear some TEAM members state things like, “Well that is just good practice so you do not need to list that,” meaning most teachers provide that accommodation to every student anyway. But what happens if your child is not in that class? It happens! As a parent it is hard scrolling down that random bullet list and understand what it all means.
In your next IEP meeting try asking your child’s TEAM some questions to help understand what is really needed on that bullet list. To help with that, the DOE has broken up the randomness of the bullet list into four sections. Setting, presentation, timing/scheduling and response. Not all districts have started to do this, but knowing these four sections are going to help you understand what accommodations your child really needs.
PLEP A: General Curriculum
Where will my child do work or take tests? Does my child need a quieter less distracting environment when taking tests? Some teachers may mention that an aide will take a small group right outside the classroom or a different room for a quieter environment. That is an accommodation and needs to be placed on the accommodation page under setting. Other accommodations: sit next to a positive peer model, sit next to teacher when given instruction.
Does my child get overwhelmed with a lot of problems on one page? Does my child need more space for written responses? Does my child get confused with written directions? If your child’s teacher responded yes to these questions some accommodations listed in the presentation section could be, limit problems on a page, break up written responses to allow ample room for response, give examples of problems with answers for better understanding. Other accommodations: completed study guides, provide completed models of assignments and audio books instead of reading text.
What time of day are intensive assignments and test administered? Does my child finish assignments and tests in time allowed ? I know children who are on ADHD meds start to fade in the afternoon, so those big assignments or tests should be administered in the morning. Also, your child can receive extra time for assignments and tests. These accommodations should be listed in this section.
Does my child list all the information he/she knows in written form? If they could orally answer questions would their test scores improve? Accommodations in this section could look like, the child will orally answer questions or the child will type responses on a laptop using a spell checker. Other accommodations: use of a calculator or a math fact sheet, dictation of answers using a scribe.
Now that the TEAM finished PLEP A accommodations what sometimes happens is that the school will just cut and paste those accommodations onto PLEP B. But now you are an educated parent on the PLEPS and will ask more questions!
PLEP B: Other Educational Needs
Where is my child receiving related services? (OT, PT, Speech, Counseling) A lot of the time it is appropriate for the related service provider to be in the classroom. Other times a separate setting is needed. Ask each provider what activities they do with your child? What does your child do well, what do they need work on? What is needed to make them successful? This will help determine what setting is appropriate and what accommodations are needed.
How are related service providers presenting therapies to your child? In OT are they following opsticle courses, in PT are they working on climbing stairs? Some accommodations may look like, follow a picture schedule to understand what comes first, next and last in the opsticle course. When climbing stairs, an adult will stand behind student to prevent falling.
If my child is leaving the classroom, what time of day is that? What subjects are my child missing when they leave the classroom? The answers to these questions should be accommodated in this section and would look like, child will be pulled out during acceptable times during these subjects, and make sure the subjects are listed. Make sure your child is not missing 5 min of recess or academic work that they are behind in. This happens! Scheduling is a huge dilemma for Special Education Teachers. Make sure your child isn’t getting the short end of the stick and receiving related services when it is not beneficial for them. Response:
What activities do you do in group? Does my child like to participate in group activities? Some accommodations may resemble PLEP A, such as, responses answered orally or using a laptop with spell checker. Other accommodations: A feeling chart during therapies, a timer for time management.
Overall, You know your child better than anyone in the TEAM meeting. Think of what is needed to help your child access the general curriculum and other educational needs.
Now I touched on the most used accommodations to help parents understand the PLEP pages. If your child has a more specific disability such as dyslexia or autism spectrum disorder, many more questions and focus points should be addressed. This is where an advocate will come in handy to help your child receive the right accommodations so they will be successful in both the general education and their other educational needs.
As exhausting as all of that information is, the PLEP pages are not done. The TEAM needs to list specially designed instruction. This means how they are going to teach your child. This is broken up into content, methodology/delivery of instruction and performance criteria. And yes for both PLEP A and B. But that is for another blog.
So next time when you are in your child’s IEP meeting I hope you won’t be saying PLEP A, PLEP B, PLEP WHAT?, but saying, I GOT THIS!