Your child’s IEP should be integrated into the instruction, activities and schedule of the classroom in which she is placed. This is not only what the law requires, but it is necessary for the student to be an included member of the class and not isolated by her materials or activities.
For example, your child may not be skilled at writing activities and has IEP goals to address this need. If the rest of the class is keeping a daily journal as part of their learning activities, your child could participate by tracing words or using cut-out letters. If the activity is writing longer narratives, your child might complete the assignment by dictating her answer to another student to write down or by using a tape-recorder. Your child might also use a computer keyboard to assist with identifying and sequencing letters. In this way, IEP goals for written and spoken language and fine motor skills could be addressed in the same classroom activity.
For math, your child could use manipulatives for counting and adding activities rather than numbers on paper. Math lessons could be limited to fewer problems of the same difficulty, or all the problems of less difficulty. If the rest of the class is completing a sheet of 20 long-division problems, your child’s math goal may be to count to 20. Students with disabilities should use the same or very similar materials as those used by the rest of the class, in order to feel like a full member of the class.
This kind of programming requires teachers with skill, creativity, and knowledge of both curriculum and students with disabilities. The collaboration of regular and special education staff is essential in training and supporting the classroom teacher. A successful program may also require the support of an inclusion specialist.