After age 16, teens on the autism spectrum, like their peers with disabilities, are mandated to be invited to their Individualized Education Plan (IEP) meeting.
However, research indicates that most are not very involved in the IEP meeting and process.
This post will discuss ways you can get your teen move involved with IEP meeting.
As mandated by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), students with disabilities are required to be invited to their IEP team meeting.
Specifically, IDEA states “there must be evidence that the student was invited to the IEP team meeting were transition services are to be discussed and evidence that, if appropriate, a representative of any participating agency was invited to the IEP team meeting with the prior consent of the parent or student who has reached the age of majority.” (20 U.S.C. 1416(a)(3)(B)
Students are invited to attend their IEP meeting, however, many do not attend or engage in the IEP meeting.
There are a number of reasons, including a lower level of self-determination.
Self-determination is often referred to self-advocacy.
Research also indicates that teens on the autism spectrum have lower levels of self-determination than their peers with and without disabilities.
So why is self-determination important here?
Well, generally, those who score higher on measures of self-determination have more positive adulthood outcomes (e.g., employment, independent living) as well as positive school experiences.
In response, many research programs have created and studied interventions around getting students prepared for their IEP meeting, including the following below available from the Zarrow Center for Learning Enrichment at the University of Oklahoma:
All of these programs (and more) focus on student-centered planning with teens on the autism spectrum.
By engaging your teen in the IEP process, you will promote their self-determination, as this is one of the first major milestones in their self-determination development.