IEPs and Angelman Syndrome

Quick Overview

In this presentation, Michelle Harvey-Martin discusses Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) and how they relate to Angelman Syndrome. She provides an overview of the components of an IEP, including present levels, annual goals, and services and supports. She also offers tips on how to advocate for your child during the IEP process, such as building relationships with school staff, keeping records of progress and concerns, and asking specific questions to address your child’s needs. Additionally, she addresses common questions about obtaining one-on-one aid support and communication devices. She concludes by discussing how to navigate the transition from school to adult services and the importance of building a record of successes and concerns.


Welcome to the 2021 ASF Virtual Family Conference! My name is Michelle Harvey-Martin, and I am excited to be here today to talk about Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) and how they relate to Angelman Syndrome. As a sibling of a person with Angelman Syndrome and a special education teacher, I have a unique perspective on this topic. In this session, we will explore the basic content of an IEP, how goals and objectives are developed, and how to advocate for additional support and services for your child. Let’s get started!

About Me

Before we dive into the topic, let me tell you a bit about myself. I am a sibling of two brothers, one of whom has Angelman Syndrome. I have been involved with the Angelman Syndrome Foundation for many years. I am also a special education teacher and a board-certified behavior analyst (BCBA). I have been teaching for eight years and currently teach grades three through five in an autism special day class in the San Diego area. I am here to share my knowledge and experiences with you and provide support in navigating the IEP process.

Understanding IEPs

Let’s start by understanding what an IEP is. IEP stands for Individualized Education Program, and it is a document that outlines the educational goals and services for a student with special needs. Every student receiving special education services, including those with Angelman Syndrome, has an IEP. It is a comprehensive plan that addresses the student’s strengths, weaknesses, and specific needs. The IEP serves as a roadmap for providing a free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment for the student.

The Components of an IEP

An IEP consists of several components that provide a detailed picture of the student’s current abilities, goals, and necessary supports. These components include:

  1. Identification and eligibility information: This section provides basic information about the student, such as their name, age, and disability category.

  2. Parent concern section: Parents have the opportunity to express their concerns and priorities for their child’s education in this section.

  3. Present levels of academic achievement and functional performance: This section describes the student’s current abilities, strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement. It should be based on multiple sources of data and provide a clear picture of the student’s abilities.

  4. Goals and objectives: Goals and objectives are developed based on the present levels of performance. They outline what the student will work on during the next year and should be measurable, attainable, and specific.

  5. Services and supports: This section specifies the services, accommodations, and modifications that will be provided to support the student’s goals. It also includes information about the setting in which the services will be delivered.

  6. Accommodations and modifications: Accommodations and modifications are strategies and supports that help the student access the curriculum and participate in the school environment. Accommodations focus on access, while modifications involve changes to the content or expectations.

  7. Special factors: This section addresses any additional considerations, such as behavior intervention plans, transportation services, extended school year services, and other specialized supports.

  8. Signature pages: The IEP concludes with signature pages where all involved parties sign to indicate their participation and agreement with the plan.

Understanding Present Levels and Goals

Two critical sections of the IEP are the present levels of academic achievement and functional performance and the goals and objectives. The present levels describe the student’s current abilities and provide the foundation for setting meaningful goals. The goals and objectives outline what the student will work on during the next year and should be measurable, attainable, and specific. It is essential to analyze these sections and ask questions to ensure they accurately reflect the student’s needs and provide a clear roadmap for progress.

Advocating for Additional Support

One of the most common questions I receive is how to advocate for additional support, such as a one-on-one aide or a communication device. Advocating for additional support requires building relationships with the school staff, documenting your child’s progress and needs, and clearly stating your concerns and desired outcomes. It is crucial to approach these discussions calmly and objectively, focusing on your child’s needs and presenting data and evidence to support your requests. Building a record of your child’s progress, communication, and interactions with the school will strengthen your case for additional support.


Navigating the IEP process can be challenging, but with knowledge and advocacy, you can ensure your child receives the support they need to succeed. Remember to build relationships with the school staff, document your child’s progress, and clearly state your concerns and desired outcomes. By understanding the components of an IEP and advocating for additional support, you can be an active and informed participant in your child’s education. If you have any questions or need further assistance, feel free to reach out to me. Together, we can make a difference in your child’s educational journey.

Talk details

  • Title: IEPs and Angelman Syndrome
  • Author(s): Michelle Harvey-Martin
  • Author(s)’ affiliation: None
  • Publication date: 2021-08-12
  • Collection: 2021 ASF Virtual Family Conference