How do I identify my child’s strengths for a strength-based IEP?

Parent Question
Mar. 14, 2022Updated Mar. 17, 2022

Explicit and implicit biases, or conscious and unconscious attitudes and beliefs, shape how we all understand disability — and this includes how schools and IEP teams decide what our children are or are not capable of.

As parents and members of our children’s IEP teams, asking ourselves questions to shift our own perspectives will help us pinpoint and communicate our child’s strengths to the rest of the IEP team — thus challenging the biases that are limiting how our children are perceived in school. This means changing our mindset and language from “My child can’t complete this task” to “How can we make it possible for my child to complete this task?” Ask yourself, “What are my child’s strengths? How can we use those strengths to support this specific IEP goal?”

When you’re identifying your child’s strengths, remember to focus on the whole child — not just percentages, numbers, and data from school records. Once you identify your child’s strengths, own the fact that you know your child’s abilities and passions better than any other person on the IEP team.

Learn more in our article Strength-Based IEPs: How Focusing on the Whole Child Can Transform Your IEP.

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