Videotaping an IEP Student

A child with special needs may struggle in school because of his disabilities. He may need unique attention in school in specific areas to meet his educational goals. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a US law that regulates how schools provide education to special needs children.

If the child qualifies for special education under the IDEA, the school is required to develop an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). An IEP is a written plan that explains the educational services that'll be provided to the special needs child. It's specifically tailored to meet the child's strengths and weaknesses.

Once an IEP is created, school officials need to monitor the child's progress to determine whether he's meeting his educational goals. There are various methods that may be used to monitor and record the child's progress. One of the more helpful methods is videotaping.

IEP Creation

A child must be evaluated by professionals to determine whether he's entitled to an IEP. Examples of professionals that may be involved include:

  • Teachers
  • Therapists
  • Psychologists
  • Hearing or vision specialists
  • Counselors

If the child is eligible, an IEP is created between the professional and the parents at an IEP meeting. Examples of information that may be contained in the IEP include:

  • Goals that the child will attempt to accomplish
  • The manner in which progress will be measured
  • Any special accommodations to regular educational classes
  • The special educational services that'll be provided to the child

The parents may ask permission to videotape the meeting for future reference. Once the IEP is created, the group will decide on where to place the child. This may be in regular education classrooms or in special education classrooms.

Monitoring the Child's Progress

The child's progress will have to be monitored to determine whether the IEP is working to reach his goals. The IEP will contain the manner of how progress will be measured and how often it'll be measured. Some examples of methods to monitor the child's progress include:

  • Comprehensive tests
  • Samples of the child's school work
  • Teacher observation
  • Progress information
  • Videotaping the child

Progress monitoring needs to be ongoing to make sure that the child is reaching his educational goals. If he isn't, teachers can adjust their teaching methods to help the child. Parents should receive progress reports from the school.

Videotaping the Child

Videotaping is a helpful way to monitor the child's progress in school. It allows the IEP professionals and the parents to visually see how the child is behaving and interacting with the other students. The decision to videotape will usually be determined in the IEP meeting. If the IEP professionals and the parents agree to use videotaping as a progress assessment method, the school's authority to videotape the child will be written into the IEP.

If videotaping isn't decided at the IEP meeting, states vary as to whether a school needs permission from the parents to videotape their children. Many states will allow videotaping without permission so as long as there's a valid educational purpose. However, most schools will usually attempt to obtain parental consent for videotaping a child's IEP progress.

Videotaping can also be a helpful learning tool for the child. The child can observe his behavior in the classroom with the teacher and his fellow students. This observation may help a child who needs to be taught social skills.

Any videotapes of the child are part of his education records. Only school officials that are authorized to view the child's education records may view the videotapes. Parents may request to view the videotapes of their own children unless other children are also depicted on the videotapes.

Questions for your Lawyer

  • If the school videotapes my child, am I entitled to view the videotapes?
  • Am I entitled to choose the method of monitoring my child's progress?
  • Does the school have to get permission before it can videotape my child?
  • When an IEP student is videotaped, what are the rights of fellow students? Do they have any right not to be taped?
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