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Overcoming barriers to collaborative participation

This is an excerpt from Strategies for Inclusion 4th Edition With HKPropel Access by Lauren J. Lieberman,Cathy Houston-Wilson & Michelle Grenier.

Beginning the process of becoming part of the IEP team can be challenging for many physical education teachers, particularly those who have little communication with the IEP team (Samalot-Rivera and Lieberman, 2017). However, we encourage you, as a teacher, to do your best to figure out a way to participate in meetings. In table 5.1 we’ve established recommendations for addressing obstacles to participation.

Table 5.1 IEP Team Participation: Barriers and Solutions

Once you’ve determined that both you and your student will benefit from working with the IEP team, you will fill out a referral form with student information on targeted areas to help you move forward in the evaluation and placement process toward resources and support that will help you provide the best instruction for your student.

When everyone works together, everyone is able to achieve a more successful approach for general physical educators, adapted physical educators, physical therapists, and occupational therapists to develop, evaluate, and implement goals on a student’s IEP (Dillon et al., 2021). Teamwork fosters ongoing communication among all members of the IEP team and supports the work of individual team members. The Action Plan Worksheet supports you in planning and identifying personnel you may not be familiar with.

Getting a Place at the Table

Sitting in on an IEP meeting can be a stressful event if you have little experience discussing student educational outcomes. Some meetings may go well, and others may be more difficult. For a meeting to be successful, teachers and parents must have a relationship built on respect, trust, and the shared goal of meeting the student’s needs. This will lead to rewarding efforts. Following is a list of recommendations for establishing positive relationships during IEP meetings.

  1. Ensure a mechanism is in place to be invited to team meetings.
  2. Create shared goals with team members to be reinforced throughout the school setting and among various professionals.
  3. Empower and train paraprofessionals by reviewing adapted physical education goals with them and providing instruction on how to most effectively support students with disabilities in your physical education setting.
  4. Facilitate communication between students with disabilities and their peers.
  5. Regularly debrief with team members on student progress.
  6. Create stand-alone APE goals. These goals identify target behaviors that will allow the student to become physically active within GPE and community settings.
  7. Develop GPE lessons that align with the student’s APE goals.
  8. Share lessons with the educational team, parents, and paraprofessionals so others can work on PE skills with the student as well.
  9. Invite educational team members into the GPE classroom to team teach or work on the shared goals.
More Excerpts From Strategies for Inclusion 4th Edition With HKPropel Access