Reframing Special Education Using Strengths-Based IEPs with April Rehrig

Home ยป Reframing Special Education Using Strengths-Based IEPs with April Rehrig

About the Guest(s): April Rehrig is the founder of Rise Educational Advocacy and Consulting, LLC. With over 20 years of experience as an elementary school teacher and school psychologist in Los Angeles, April is a licensed educational psychologist and a board-certified special education advocate. She has attended the prestigious COPAA SEAT 2.0 and 3.0 programs and is a certified Autism Spectrum Disorder Clinical Specialist and Master IEP Coach. Her services include parent advocacy, IEP coaching, and DIY IEP workshops.

Episode Summary: In this insightful episode of Think Inclusive, host Tim Villegas speaks with April Rehrig, founder of Rise Educational Advocacy and Consulting, LLC, who shares her profound insights on writing strengths-based IEPs (Individualized Education Programs). They discuss the complications of IEP documents and the importance of reframing special education to focus on students’ strengths instead of deficits.

Rehrig elaborates on the systemic issues causing confusion around IEPs, including the medical model traditionally used to write them, and offers strategic advice on how parents and teachers can structure IEPs to genuinely benefit students. The conversation touches on practical aspects like the importance of effective IEP training, using person-centered language, and the role of negotiation within IEP meetings. This episode is essential listening for anyone invested in special education and striving for better educational outcomes for all students.


Key Takeaways:

  • Reframing Special Education: Shift from a deficit-based to a strengths-based approach in IEPs to better support students.
  • The Importance of Language: Utilize person-centered language to write effective and empowering IEPs.
  • Strategic Questions: Asking the right questions and focusing on students’ needs can lead to better negotiation outcomes in IEP meetings.
  • Effective Training: Teachers need robust and practical training to write and implement strengths-based IEPs.
  • Collaboration over Competition: Encouraging teachers, parents, and advocates to work together rather than viewing the process as adversarial.




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