The Scoop on IEP
Updated: Aug 24, 2019
By Triana Nunez
I want to inform you guys on what an IEP is and what it is like to have one. IEP stands for “individualized education program.” An IEP is a written statement for a child with a disability that is developed, reviewed, and revised in a meeting in keeping with certain requirements of law and regulations (DOE, 2007). If it not for my teacher in the fifth grade who noticed that I was having trouble seeing things, I really would not have an IEP. I noticed I needed extra time on exams when I went on to middle school. And I would continue to take tests to show that I needed the extra time.
I would always get evaluations to prove that I would still need my IEP moving forward. I did not think I would need to keep proving that I needed extra help. This was frustrating after a while because it’s not like my disability was going to disappear after a year; I know this is something I’m going to have for the rest of my life. At the same time, I understand why they kept evaluating me to see if I had worsened or gotten better throughout the year. When I got to high school I had to make it known to my teachers that I had an IEP, even though you would think that they’d already know this. A good thing about this was that I would have double time on my exams meaning a test could be 3 hours long and I would have 6 hours to complete it; of course I would use this to my advantage. I can't say I was embarrassed because from my friend group I was the only one who had this, so while my friends finished their exams about 2 hours before me I was still working. When it came to testing, my friends were all put in the same class and I ended up in a different one. At first they thought it was a misunderstanding, but I eventually told them that I had extra timing due to my IEP. I was scared that they would judge me but they never did, so I wasn't upset.
College is nothing like high school. I thought that maybe the professors would know just a little bit of my history, but they didn’t. My college professor said if anyone had an IEP they would have to go to another building to get a specific form and bring it back to her. When we had our one on one I told her I had an IEP, to which she replied that I was the only one in the class that said anything about having an IEP but I would still need to bring the form to her. I was shocked because in high school I would tell a teacher the same thing and they would be much more supportive.
My overall feeling is that having an IEP helped me when it came to testing. The extra time came in handy and I really tried to use the good things that came out of it. It was also good having teachers check up on me, making sure I’m understanding everything, and giving me that extra attention.