Mastering the IEP’s Present Levels Section: Guidance for Parents and Advocates

by | Aug 14, 2023 | Advocate Resources, IEP, Special Education Advocate

If there’s one part of the Individualized Education Program (IEP) that I’ve seen make or break a child’s success, it’s the Present Levels of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance (PLAAFP).

This section is a detailed snapshot of your child’s abilities, needs, and challenges. It’s the cornerstone for the entire IEP. But too often, present levels are vague or missing the details that truly matter. Let me share with you the wisdom I’ve gained from over 20 years of experience.

Craft a Full Picture of Your Child’s School Day

Walk through their typical day, including transportation, meals, transitions, academics, therapies, and behaviors. Identify all the adults and students in each setting. This complete picture is vital!

Come Prepared with Objective Assessment Data

Conduct assessments at home, like a 3-minute reading sample and a writing sample about a favorite topic. Bring this hard data to the table. It’s invaluable.

Fully Describe Needs and Impacts of Disabilities

List all educational eligibilities, but don’t stop there. Paint a 360-degree picture of how disabilities affect learning and life.

Include Relevant Medical and Mental Health Information

Note conditions, medications, allergies, recent tests, doctor appointments, and more.

Get Input from All Educators and Staff Involved

Ensure everyone involved submits feedback on your child’s functioning. Resolve any inconsistencies.

Focus on Functioning, Not Just Test Scores

Standardized test scores don’t always reflect daily life. Push for a robust functional description.

Don’t Move Forward Without Sufficient Present Levels

Without enough detail, the rest of the IEP can’t be calculated. If something’s missing, table the meeting.

Let the Present Levels Guide the Rest of the IEP

Thorough, data-driven present levels set the stage for the entire IEP. Doing it right ensures meaningful access, progress, and better outcomes.


Ready to Take the Next Step?

With rock-solid present levels, you’ll feel more confident knowing your child’s needs are documented. That’s the first step toward meaningful progress.

But why stop here? If you’re eager to equip yourself further, The Academy is here for you. Join me and a community of like-minded parents and advocates. Together, we’ll transform the way we approach special education.

Click here to join The Academy and start your journey today. Let’s ensure that every child receives the services they deserve. When we get it right for the child, we get it right for everyone.

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