Monday, October 3, 2016

Why an IEP can be beneficial for student's with autism that may not have huge academic deficits

I have heard many parents state that their child does not need an IEP, because they are doing just fine academically. I have also heard parents say that I don't want my child to be stigmatized by being in special classes so I don't want them to have an IEP. I have also heard parents say that my child with autism is just impacted in their behavior so they don't need an IEP.

First off, let me say this. If you have a child that is diagnosed with autism they can qualify in anything if you can prove that there is an adverse educational impact. For example, my son received totally average scores in written language on his last evaluation, but my son still qualifies in this area. You may ask what is the purpose of qualifying a child in an area if he has average scores. Well, my son hates to write and many children with autism have fine motor issues which can make writing become a challenge. This small detail is why there is an adverse educational impact and why I chose to qualify my son in this area.

I want to mention this, your child can receive services in the general education classroom even if they qualify in a certain area on their IEP. My son is in the general education for almost his entire day, but he still has an IEP. He gets his writing in a regular classroom even though he qualifies in writing on his IEP. A child can receive specially designed instruction that is given by a general education teacher. The special education teacher will just monitor the goals within the IEP to make sure that progress is being made.

I have chosen to go this route so that my child can be given accommodations and modifications to help him be more successful. For example, he can have extended time on tests. He can have test questions reworded so that he can gain a better understanding. He can also test in a separate location so that he can focus on his test if there are factors such as noise that could possibly impact him on his test.

I also want to mention that a child can have an IEP without any academic areas at all. If your child is a genius and doesn't need an academic goal, but they still have social skills deficits, they can qualify under the category of autism with a goal in social skills.

I decided to write this post because I wanted to debunk the theory that a child with autism can't have an IEP if their academic scores are in the average range. This is absolutely not true for the eligibility category of autism. Like I have said previously, you just need to show that there is an adverse educational impact. I do want to add that this advice is strictly for the eligibility category of autism. It will also apply to the category of other health impaired which ADHD falls under. This information does not apply if a child qualifies under the category of specific learning disability. If a child is learning disabled there does need to be a severe discrepancy from a full scale IQ to academic standard scores.


  1. I have a question. My daughter will start public school in the fall. the school board told us she wouldn't qualify for a IEP but a 504 plan instead since she has more social issues than school (she's exceeding expectations in pre k) but she is having issues with writing. They said she may need a note taker if it continues but still only qualifies for a 504 plan... she's more on the aspergers side of the spectrum (I know they don't call it that anymore ijs)

  2. Great post, very informative. I just wrote a piece on my blog on how to get a strong IEP!
    I would love for you read it! All the best!