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Expert Q&A

How does a parent handle a “cookie-cutter IEP” with goals that are not specific to the child’s needs?

My seventh grade son has a classification of LD and ADHD. His IEP goals are too global. They need to be customized to include sequential, structured benchmarks. The CSE always says we can not talk about instructional methodology at a meeting. How do I get my son’s customized rather than the cookie-cutter global goals they provide? What specific case law states that at a CSE meeting, a parent and team can discuss methodology?

Thank you so much.

Dear R.B.,

Under the IDEA, special education is defined as specialized instruction, including adapting, as needed, the content, method and mode of delivery of instruction. This puts methodology on the table if the school’s programming is not working. In addition, under the 2004 IDEA amendments, the school is required to provide a program that is based on scientific research to the extent practicable. This also can and should be discussed at the IEP meeting. If the school’s program doesn’t use a specific method that is supported by the research (or doesn’t use a particular method at all), the program can be challenged.

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