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E-mail a link to this page to someone you knowInstitute Proceedings, January 2002

Proceedings of NCSET institute held on January 23, 2002 in Washington, DC


Student-Led IEPs: How to Make it Work

January 23, 2002
Washington, DC

About this institute . . .

The National Center on Secondary Education and Transition (NCSET), in partnership with PACER Center, hosted a Capacity Building Institute on Student-Led IEPs, January 23, 2002, at the Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.

Staff from NCSET and PACER designed this institute because many students with disabilities are not involved in their IEP assessment and planning process. Although research supports the self-determination of all youth and IDEA requires that youth with disabilities ages 14-21 be invited to their IEP meetings, many youth remain uninformed. Parents and teachers also struggle with how to involve youth, how to talk about the youth’s disability, and how to teach the leadership skills needed to effectively participate in IEP meetings. Youth need to learn about their strengths and skills; their disability and how it will affect their future dreams; what accommodations might help them in the classroom, on the job, and in the community; how to speak for themselves; and how their dreams translate into goals and steps to take throughout their life. Using the IEP planning process is one way to work with youth with disabilities to help them better understand their disability and learn to advocate for themselves.

This institute provided an opportunity to present information from some of the key authors and practitioners of Student-Led IEPs. Participants were Parent Training and Information Center (PTI) staff, many of whom are parents of children/youth with disabilities or family members. PTI staff will use this information for future parent training workshops, publications, and for individual advocacy. Informed parents are often the catalyst for change. Bringing this information to PTIs broadens the scope of knowledge and skills among families throughout the country. They can then work with youth at home, in their schools, and communities.

One of the quality indicators for best practices in transition is the team training approach. The presenters included professionals at the federal, state, and local level, a parent, and three youth and adults with disabilities. Their perspective added depth and richness to the information, as well as a live example of how to involve youth in the IEP planning process. Suzanne Ripley, director of NICHCY and parent of two sons with disabilities, opened this institute with an overview and rationale for student-led IEPs.

In this proceedings document you will find the institute agenda, a brief overview of the institute purpose, guiding questions, and institute outcomes. There is also a summary of presentations given.

Deborah Leuchovius
Project Coordinator
PACER Center

Kristin Schoeller
Transition TA Specialist
National Center on Secondary Education and Transition


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