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What is a strength-based IEP?

What is a strength-based IEP?

Published: Mar. 14, 2022Updated: Mar. 17, 2022

Strength-based IEPs foster self-determination, self-efficacy, self-control, and academic achievement.

Because IEPs are the documents that teachers first read when they get new students, IEPs shape their first impressions of our kids. Dr. Caitlin Solone, special education advocate and faculty at UCLA, explained that many educators are trained to write IEPs that only focus on the details of a child’s disabilities and the tasks they’re unable to do, which forms the trajectory of that child’s entire school career.

Traditional IEP language often includes statements like, “Charlotte has a five-second attention span,” or “Annica has severe autism and frequent tantrums, bites and kicks when frustrated, and does not have a conventional means of communication.” Dr. Solone asked, do these student profiles provide information that will help these students thrive? Unfortunately, without showing teachers your child’s entire being, the answer is usually no. And that’s where strength-based IEPs come into play.

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

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