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By: Priya Pasumarthy

The Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) successful implementations hinge on the

alignment of a few crucial parameters. The known parameters are compliance and a

strength based IEP while the next ones are the AAAs. Assumptions, Anticipations

and Ascriptions of the various stakeholders of the IEP team that act in subtlety that

contribute to the IEP’s success. Here we will be reviewing the AAAs, its existence,

dynamics and calling out the implementers of the IEP and why they need to check

their AAAs before the IEP implementations. The misalignment of one or all the

parameters can potentially barrier the IEP’s success individually or cumulatively.

Sometimes its effects are short term and revocable but oftentimes can have

lasting impacts that are irrevocable(hindering independence and functionality). This

can cause a continuous heavy emotional/financial/resource and societal burdens to

the affected individuals.

It is compelling to ask, having known that IEP reflects an individual and vice versa,

which effective steps could avoid irrevocable impacts? Which steps could possibly

prevent a continuous financial burden to both the individual and to the society

around years later? While there is no one answer due to the involvement of a

number of stakeholders and systems in the IEP, it can be attributed to timely

actions/support and taking small simple -steps in the IEP would lead to the goal. In

other words, periodic gauging of alignment of the parameters(cross the checklist

template below) before the IEP implementations.

Developing an IEP is not only time consuming but also can be laborious too. As

known, constructing IEPs involves a series of assessments using batteries,

interviews, and other testing by each member of the team. This is where the AAAs

of the team members start to pour in along with the inheritance of stigmas and

other attributes. If and when the diagnosis(or on a mild spectrum) is clear the

process can go smoothly with no major discrepancies.

However, for moderate-severe diagnosis (the most vulnerable zone) it can be

tedious and end up strained. In this case AAAs interfere with the parental

expectations and a mutual friction sparks up. As the individual’s potential gets

masked in part due to speech deficits, behavioral and regulation issues which leads

to assumptions, anticipations and ascribing to low competence or lower

expectations. A non- cooperative scenario gets established. This would be around

disagreements with the placement, extra support, which in turn is due to the team

not able to cross their fixed AAAs ( Assumptions, Anticipation and Ascriptions). This

way we can notice how AAAs could pull back the IEP’s success with a low bar in

place. This needs to be rebooted or else it gets carried throughout the school

system. Years later, as soon as the individual is out of the school system they are

not fully equipped to function in society independently. The ongoing struggle for

identity within themselves along with other issues(low confidence, anxiety issues

etc.) being tuned to low quality makes them less productive citizens.

With the current trend of scant special education resources due to exponential

increase in the number of individuals getting diagnosed the possibility of pitfalls in

the process of developing IEPs is way high. With a thorough understanding and

awareness of the existence of the crucial parameters in the IEPs and their dynamics

paired with timely actions can help individuals to get better equipped to function in

society post the school system. This way we can avoid a continuous heavy

emotional/financial/resource and societal burdens to the affected individuals. It is

imperative to watch and gauge periodically by IEP team members for compliance, a

strength based one and if the AAAs by all stakeholders were crossed before the IEP


Before IEP Implementations checklist template:

● Is the IEP compliant? Y/N

● Is the IEP a Strength based one? Y/N

● Did it cross the AAAs of all team members? Y/N

If yes, IEP is ready for implementations, if not Reboot!

(Calling out all the team members of IEP to take timely actions and small

simple steps that would possibly help in assisting differently abled

individuals to better equip themselves to function in our society in the


Priya Pasumarthy is a health care provider and an award winning author of Our Little Promise(2022) and Halloween At Luke’s(2019). She lives in California with her


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