Notes from the pandemic part 2: IEP humour

Parents had a collective chuckle/melt down when the Ministry of Education in Ontario responded to a question about IEPs with:

“Good morning, can you please clarify what IEP means?”

This was the Ministry’s response to a very important question: do students with IEPs qualify for government Covid support (here’s the full thread below):

(As a professional communicator, I can give this tweet points for politeness and parental engagement, though perhaps not the kind of engagement they where expecting! Maybe it was written by newbie social media staffer who was trying to help but hadn’t been properly trained. That in itself is a problem.)

Twitter responds

The tweet did not go unnoticed, much to the chagrin of the Ministry of Education that removed it faster than you can say Identification, Placement, and Review Committee.

Luckily some smart people took screen shots:

Parents and educators took to Twitter to make up their own meanings, like “I expect progress.”

And “Ignored educational promise.”

An autism advocate quickly produced mugs.

And yes, there is a t-shirt too!

Funny, not funny

The tweet is laughable, to a point. It’s also a red flag. A reminder that vulnerable children are poorly served by the school system.

To add insult to injury, these same kids have been left out of pandemic planning:

We all know this is taking its toll. We are living it, the exhaustion, the anxiety and uncertainty. Bad enough during the before time. Worse now.

Statistics Canada is documenting the impact of the pandemic on families of children with disabilities. In their recent survey, they found that these families are “very or extremely concerned for their children’s amount of screen time, loneliness or isolation, general mental health, school year and academic success” during the pandemic.

Maybe that’s why the Tweet triggered such a huge response. It’s just one more reminder that our kids are too easily left behind. And that hurts.

What is an iep?

If you’re new to the world of special education in Canada, an IEP stands for Individual Education Plan.

According the MOE, “An IEP is a written plan describing the special education program and/or services required by a particular student, based on a thorough assessment of the student’s strengths and needs that affect the student’s ability to learn and demonstrate learning.”

An IEP is a legal document that schools must follow and is required by The Education Act.

For students with dyslexia, learn what goes into an IEP in Ontario (from the International Dyslexia Association Ontario) and about educational plans in other across Canada (about Dyslexic Canada). Here’s a helpful “Hand-holding guide to IEPs” (from Today’s Parent).

Attend Dyslexia Canada’s webinar: “IEPs and the IPRC: Preparing yourself and your child for the 2020-2021 school year.” (September 15, 2020)

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