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An individualized education plan is a plan of activities coordinated jointly by the people involved. Its purpose is to help a student who because of a handicap or difficulties, needs adapted intervention in order to progress optimally in developing the competencies required for success. An individualized education plan is part of a dynamic support process that takes place for the benefit and with the participation of the student according to Policy on the Evaluation on Learning. It is based on a systemic view of the student’s situation, and is implemented using a solution-centred approach. This requires that all the educators, administrators and other stakeholders adjust their practices. The school principal together with teachers and other educators such as student services personnel are responsible for meeting the education needs of each student who is under their care. The school is obligated to identify the needs of the students since they are better acquainted with the students and the environment in which the students are being educated. The individualised education plan becomes of vital importance especially in identifying the special needs of student’s in order to recommend the provision of essential services to the student. An evaluation system is used in identifying the special needs of students. It normally tries to make the educators understand the students’ situation especially on his response towards the learning environment. This is due to the fact that students who might have the same handicap might require different approaches of learning as described by the National Disability Authority.

Individualized Education plan can cause the academic functioning of children who are slow learners to improve significantly as it has been analysed in Effectiveness of individualized education program for slow learnerswhich is an Indian Journal of paediatrics. This is because special learning procedure is used to educate the student and even though the child is a slow learner he or she gains the proper education expected to be attained. Students with disabilities can gain more from the individualized education than from several years of normal schooling. This is because these children are grossly ignored in the mainstream education. In most cases teachers can not be able to provide individual attention to students who lag behind due to the fact that the number of students in the class might require a great amount of time and commitment to provide them with the required attention according to Krishanakumar P in the article Effectiveness of Individualised Education program for slow learners. This might prove to be difficult especially where the teacher does not understand the specific special needs of each student and also where the number of students in a class is great.  

According to the local policy for the organization of services for students with handicaps, social maladjustments or learning difficulties, school personnel must plan guaranteed measures to meet the needs of these students. To be able to meet this goal an Individualised education plan will be required in order to plan and be able to provide these services to the students requiring the special attention.

The Education Act also stipulates that each student has the right to receive “preschool education services and elementary and secondary school services...” Students are also entitled to other educational services, student services and special education services…within the scope of the programs offered by the school board…”.Identification of students requiring the special education which they are entitled to by law can easily be identified by using the Individualized education plan. The teacher is also entitled to select methods of instruction corresponding to the requirements and objectives fixed for each group or for each student entrusted to his care. The teacher is the sole person who is entrusted in making sure that the student receives the proper education required and if he fails to observe this then the student in most cases will not benefit from schooling. Due to the high number of students in the class a teacher can not easily be able to identify the special needs of the student and the only way out is to use the Individualised Education Plan.

The adoption of the new special education policy “Adapting Our Schools to the Needs of All Students” which emphasizes on the success of all the students leads to the provision of special needs to be of vital importance to the education system. This is because different students have different abilities and needs and thus one standard way of teaching and evaluating the students is seen to be unfair. The different levels of abilities of the students should be taken into account when developing the assessment criteria of the students at the same level but with different abilities. This leads to the importance of the special services to the handicapped students so that the evaluation of students can be standardised by considering the special cases of students during the entire learning process. Students who are handicapped might end up performing the same as the normal students and even in some cases better than them after they receive the specialised services which are needed to make them easily grasp information and learn at the same pace with the normal students who do not require the specialised services.

The Individualised Evaluation Plan if done at an early stage can be of high importance especially where early detection of handicap in a student can result in better performance of the student when the special services are introduced at an early stage. Students whose special needs are identified at later stages of life are faced with a challenge of coping with the other students who do not require the special needs or those whose needs were identified early and addressed. This is because the students who receive the special services early enough have perfected their skill and adapted unlike the students who do not know their areas of weakness and the required approach needed in making them be better placed in the learning environment.

The schools which have students requiring special care and attention can easily organise for the resources required to facilitate the delivery of the special services to the students. In extreme cases where the number of students requiring the special education and special services is high the school can try to introduce some special classes and dedicate some of the staff members in the classes of the special needy students. This can only be achieved when the school uses the Individual Education Plans of the students to identify their major areas of weakness and be able to develop the proper mechanisms to deal with them.

The Individualized Education Plan includes the present levels of academic achievement and functional performance. This includes the current information of the student which is not more than one year old. The present levels cover all the areas of development where the child needs support and this normally assists not only the teacher in delivering the special services needed but also the parent since some of the issues involved are social in nature and the parent stands in a better position to help the student. These areas might include daily or self helping skills like dressing and using the bathroom and in most cases it is the parent who can easily address theses issues.

The annual goals included in the Individualized Education Plan describe what the student is expected to do or learn within a 12-month period. These annual goals build upon the child’s present levels of academic achievement and functional performance. The present levels statements identifies what the child needs and the goals address those needs. The special services provided to the students help in making sure that the student can perform the goals outlined which are to be achieved within the 12-month period. This helps in making sure that the student level of learning progresses and that the student is not left behind by the other students who do not require the special needs. The annual goals can only be set if only the weakness of the student is identified and this is done by using the Individualized education plan which identifies the major weaknesses of the students and the goals are set to be met to improve on the current situation of the student.

The ministry of education has been for several years undertaking important reforms to general education and updating the curriculum which has led to the changes to the educational programs. This might be a challenge to the students who might be handicapped since the changes in the curriculum might disadvantage them in adjusting to the new system. This leads to the handicapped students requiring more time to learn and be able to perform the tasks which the other students not requiring special attention can easily perform. By use of the Individualized education plan upon curriculum change it becomes easier to identify the major areas the student is weak and requires special services in order to be able to cope with the other students at the same level.

The Individualized Evaluation Plan might help in providing information on how to improve the learning environment of the students to improve their learning performance. This can be of much help during the revision or change of the curriculum as the major areas which need special care especially to the needy students can be easily addressed and incorporated in the new updated curriculum. By placing much emphasis on handicapped students a comprehensive curriculum can be developed or incorporated which might assist in standardising the learning and evaluation mechanisms of both the handicapped students and the non-handicapped students.

The student might in some rare cases not know that he or she has some weakness in some areas. This might lead to the student not understanding the current state of events which might be in some cases be the student not performing as expected though following the principles the other better performing students follow. The Individualized Education Plan might help in exposing the weakness of the student at an early stage and by provision of the special services needed the student might be able to perform like the other students who do not require the special services.

To able to provide special services to the handicapped students some resources should be available. There should be specially designed instructions that are supposed to be used to ensure that the student learns the same things but using some easier approach techniques. This might also include the students being handled in some small groups and the teacher demonstrating using manipulatives. For other students the teacher might decide on selecting the key areas of study and teach them to the students and then alter the evaluation activities and criteria to match the content change. During development of the Individualized Education Plan the team developing should determine whether a specific type of instruction should be included in a student’s learning activities.

Additional services should also be provided by the school in order for the student to benefit or be able to access the special education. These might include physical therapy, interpreters, speech therapy and medical services such as nurses who should perform procedures the child needs during the day like catheterization. These services should try and help the student in coping with the environment by making him or her feel secure and appreciated by the society. The parent might also undergo training in order to be able to support the implementation of the child’s Individualized Education Plan.

To enable greater success the program structure of learning might also be modified to incorporate the handicapped students. This might allow the students to succeed in achieving their goals and dreams due to the fact that they can be able to be rated as competent according to their standards. Comparing a disabled child to a child who is not is unfair due to the undue advantage that is created. The disabled students should compete among themselves and this can only be attained by having a different structure of learning that allows their evaluation among themselves. This might prove to be of vital importance since the progress of the student can now be easily identified unlike in the normal environment with the other normal students where even if the handicapped student has greatly improved his or her skills this can not be identified since the overall grading system is not keen on noting this. This can also cause the student to suffer emotionally since even after hard work the overall performance does not reflect the hard work done by him or her. The modification in their learning programme might also include laying much emphasis on the daily living skills of the student. This is because these skills form the backbone of every individual and if the student lacks them at an early age the student can be much disoriented in the later stages of life.    

The students’ classrooms might be also modified to accommodate the handicapped students. This may include provisions such as preferential seating, giving the students copies of the notes the teacher uses in teaching, giving the students oral quizzes other than the normal written quizzes, modifying their assignments in order to enable them to be able to learn without much difficulty. During the examinations there should be different time allocations for the completion of the exam for both the handicapped students and the non-handicapped students. The handicapped student should be given more time than the other normal students due to the face that the student might have difficulties in writing the answers because of their situation and giving them the same amount of time with the other students might be unfair leading to unfair competition and the results being the handicapped students lagging behind.

The teachers should also provide aide to the handicapped student in the classroom during teaching. This can of importance especially in the events where there are demonstrations in the classroom which require the students’ participation. Helping the student to be able to perform the required tasks like the other students who are non-handicapped can help the student to gain confidence and this might lead to the student working hard in the class. The school should also offer some assistive technology to the handicapped student to assist them in learning. The scope of the technology to be provided in the school might vary in different schools depending on the special needs of the students in the different schools. The Individualised Evaluation Plan of the students should be well analysed by the school team responsible for the handicapped students in order to be able to determine the proper equipments that are required by the students. The schools principal might also collaborate with the neighbouring schools to be able to identify the needs of the other schools handicapped students so that in the event that the other school might lack or have the required equipment which is not available in the other school they might be able to assist one another. When handling new handicap cases which might be handled by the other school they might provide assistance by giving recommendations and advice on how to handle the new cases. In situations where they might equipments or resources which are not being used currently they might also lend them out to the other school requiring the facilities.

To be able to provide the special services to the students, the government might give out funds to schools to assist in buying and implementing mechanisms that enable education of the handicapped students. This can help the students to purchase the special equipments needed by the handicapped student which might be expensive and thus being able to provide the necessary special services to the students. The monetary aid can also be used to hire more staff since the handicapped student require special care and attendance which can only be accomplished by having more staff to be dedicated in ensuring that the handicapped students receive the specialised care.

The Individualized Education Plan must be made known to parents and also the students should be educated about it and its importance. The other non-handicapped students must also be informed of their roles in helping the handicapped students and providing a good and friendly environment so that the handicapped students do not suffer emotionally. This can result in the improved performance of the handicapped students due to their realisation that they are capable of achieving the goals which the other non-handicapped are capable of. The Individualized Education Plan should be done comprehensively and the parent, student and the schools administrators should be actively involved in identifying the major weakness of the child after which they should commit themselves in ensuring that the student receives proper education and attains the necessary skills required to ensure that even if the student is handicapped he or she can perform like other non-handicapped students and be productive in the community.

Code: Sample20

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