IEP Talk With 0% Guilt

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I would like to invite you to wear either you Smarty OR Fancy pants to this post.

Both are appropriate I think

When your child is diagnosed with autism, the lingo starts. You have to start to learn a whole new language, and it looks a lot like alphabet soup.



Throughout my career whether it be in education or healthcare, there is one thing I have found to be true, big words are king.

The bigger and more confusing the better and if there is a ridiculous acronym that can go with the word, even more perfect.

ASD, FAPE, IEP, LRE, BIP, PDD-NOS, ABA, OT, IDEA......... Confusing!!!!!

Autism IEP Goals

Quick question. What is the purpose of education?

Here’s my answer. Educate and focus on the growth of your child.


Simple. Child focused.

Fancy pants words are distracting and distancing. It’s like a mom who sits down to play with her child but gets interrupted every few minutes by a salesman selling books on how to spend time with your child.

The same holds true for teachers. Anything that pulls the teacher’s attention away from educating your child is a distraction. Like spending time learning yet another way to talk about the exact same concept, but with this year’s new “language.”

ie…data, data-informed, data-driven, data indicators, data-inspired, data-led, data wall, data literacy (eye roll)


I truly wish education was user friendly.




Unfortunately, I can’t take the system away, but I will commit to making it easier for you.

This is a fantastic article from Forbes Magazine about Big Data and losing focus on important issues.

So, in the spirit of simplifying the IEP, educating students with autism, and making sure the focus remains on your child, let’s get started. 


Free and Appropriate Public Education



  • Federally funded public schools receive money from the government to run their buildings.
  • The school must provide an education to your child with a disability for free.
  • The school may charge you for fees they charge to all students, such as book fees.
  • If the services your child requires are not available at the school, the school must find another way to provide the service. Ie, send the child to another school that does provide the service and provide transportation.


  • Education in an appropriate classroom…regular education room, special education room or a combination of both
  • Specially designed instruction for the classroom and home and can include additional services such as speech, occupational and physical therapy, psychological counseling and diagnostic services
  • Due process procedures: right to notice, right to records and right to challenge placement decisions
  • Public

    • If a parent chooses an alternate school education such as private or parochial school, this is at the expense of the parents
    • All kids in the United States have the right to free public education


    Free primary through secondary school for a combination of 12 years.


Individualized Education Plan


  • Individualized-Specifically written for your child’s unique strengths and needs.
  • Two students with autism could have very different IEP’s. There is no cookie-cutter form. Yes, the information that is put together for an IEP is standard, but the information in the document is unique to your child.
  • Education includes early intervention services which include family training, speech therapy, hearing services, physical therapy, and nutrition services.
  • Schools must provide an appropriate education for your child, but not necessarily an ideal one. Minimum standards must be met, but higher standards can be met.
  • For more information go here
  • Program
  • Your child must qualify for special education services and be a child with a disability
  • Your child must require special education services
  • For more information go here


Least Restrictive Environment

Think Goldilocks here. Not too much, not too little, but just right.

Least Your child has the right to be placed in a classroom where he can function at maximum capacity with only the help he requires.

Restrictive Your child needs the environment where he functions and learns the best. Not too restrictive and not too free, but exactly the amount of special education support required to assist.


This could mean a special education classroom, a general education classroom with a special education teacher assisting the student or a combination of both.

This depends entirely on what your child’s needs are. If your child outgrows their current needs, the IEP can be changed to reflect this growth.

About Brewgirl

Hey there!  I'm Betsy.  Mom, RN, special education teacher and blogger at The Autism Daily Brew.  Working hard to bring you the best resources in autism.