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IEP Discussion Guide: PLAAFP Transcript

[Opening slide with the words, "This webinar series is provided by the Commission of Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard of Hearing Minnesotans and by the Minnesota Department of Education.]

[Slide: "PLAAFP: Present Level of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance Statement"]

[A woman appears (Jody Waldo). She is standing on one side of the screen and begins to speak. Above her is the following text, "Jody Waldo, parent of a young adult who is deaf in a post-secondary education setting." Next to Jody is ASL interpreter Susan Boinis who is interpreting.]

The Present Level of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance is also abbreviated PLAAFP.  

[The text above Jody is replaced with, "What is a PLAAFP? * A comprehensive statement that will lead to appropriate goals, objectives, and services. * Information related to: * The impact of hearing loss on language and communication * Overall performances in the classroom.]

Jody continues: It is usually found just above the goal and objectives.  It should include information about your student’s communication and language access in different areas.  The PLAAFP also should include data about your student’s progress in academics and talk about how being deaf or hard of hearing affects access to language and communication in the classroom.  It may explain how your student does with vocabulary in different subject areas, too.  If there is a social-emotional goal, then it should include the impact of being deaf or hard of hearing when in hearing classrooms or how your student is able to connect with other people who are also deaf or hard of hearing.  The prompts in this section will help the IEP team to create PLAAFP that leads to appropriate goals, with supporting objectives and services that will meet your student’s needs. PLAAFPs for deaf and hard of hearing students should be written differently.  

[The text above Jody is replaced with, "Key Elements - Elementary Level * Synopsis of child's hearing loss * Language of instruction * Home language (if applicable) * Education history * Impact of hearing loss on academics and social activities * Include a statement referring to Communication and Language Checklists in the IEP]

Jody continues: When creating a PLAAFP for an elementary-age student, the first paragraph should contain these main points:  a brief summary about the student's hearing loss and also include functional listening information so teachers understand how listening in quiet and noise and with or without speechreading affects the student, or why American Sign Language has been chosen, and the language of that teachers use to teach your student.  If the home language is different than English, then that should also be included.  Other points include a brief educational history and how access in the classroom with speechreading, use of a sign language interpreter or cued English transliterator affects the student. 

A Communication and Language Checklist is found in the Discussion Guide.  It should also be reviewed and information should be considered when developing the IEP.  Also for students in middle school or high school, results from testing such as the Functional Listening Evaluation can also help support the student’s needs for accommodations, modifications, and  specific services and support provided by the teacher of deaf/hard of hearing and other support service providers such as sign language interpreters, cued English transliterators, captionists, deafblind interveners or paraprofessionals. 

[The text above Jody is replaced with, "Additional Key Elements - Elementary Level * Functional Listening Evaluation (FLE) - testing results * Formal and Informal Test Scores * Classroom Performance - including grade level information * State standards comparisons See examples in Appendix IV of the Discussion Guide."]

Jody continues: Relevant test scores, both formal and informal,  current results from evaluations, and classroom performance should be included.  If there are concerns or if the student is doing well at grade level, then that should also be included.  If there are areas identified as a concern, the IEP should include data about the student’s current levels and connect that to the Minnesota’s State Standards.  This will also help guide the team when determining need statements, goals, and objectives.

[The text above Jody is replaced with, "Case Study: Doogie * Second-grade student * Struggles with reading"]

Jody continues: For example, the PLAAFP for a second-grade student who is a struggling reader may contain information such as this:

[The text above Jody is replaced with, "IEP Goal Based on PLAAFP: * MN state academic standards, students in second grade need to be able to apply word recognition strategies to decode unfamiliar words * Goal: Increase reading skills from level 1 automatic word identification with 60% accuracy to level 2 automatic word identification with 70% accuracy."]

Jody continues: Based on the Qualitative Reading Inventory, Doogie’s automatic word identification skills placed him at the independent level at primer and at the frustration level at first grade. According to MN state academic standards, students in second grade need to be able to apply word recognition strategies to decode unfamiliar words. This information can then lead into a goal for Doogie such as Doogie will increase his reading skills from level 1 automatic word identification with 60% accuracy to level 2 automatic word identification with 70% accuracy. These examples were taken from Appendix IV within this guide.  

Information provided in the Present Level of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance should guide the rest of the IEP. 

[The text above Jody is replaced with, "Key Elements - Secondary Level * Consider plans for post-high school - workforce or continuing education * Current Academic levels * Advocacy Skills * Social-Emotional needs  See examples in Appendix V of the Discussion Guide."]

Jody continues: When discussing the present level of academic achievement and functional performance for a secondary level student, the IEP team should think about where the student will be after high school. For some students, that may mean moving directly into the workforce, and a goal may need to be added to encourage the student to ask for different services at school. The goal might also include a social-emotional goal to help the student learn how to connect with coworkers or request support from an occupational communication support person.  

If the student’s academic skills are within the average or above average range, and no academic goals are needed, he may have needed information about the options in the college and work environment, such as connecting with other deaf or hard of hearing students in a post-school setting.  An online portfolio could be developed as part of the goal to gather information and save it for the future.   Examples of letters to disability services could be included. Although the student’s writing skills are on grade level, learning the skills for a specific type of writing often requires a goal.

The category for functional skills is broad for hard of hearing and deaf students and includes those skills needed to function in many different settings, advocating for what the student’s needs are.  The goal may be an information-related goal in order to know what is available post-school. The IEP should connect the Minnesota State Standards State to student needs such as speaking and listening, writing, gathering relevant information from multiple sources.  These standards can be woven in with information.  Examples of PLAAFPs with goals and objectives for secondary students are found in Appendix V of the Discussion Guide. 

[The text above Jody is replaced with, "Case Study: Ben, College-bound student who experienced rapid progressive hearing loss from Moderate to Profound Sensorineural hearing loss, with Cued English instruction and a Cochlear Implant in Elementary School and transition to spoken English only at the secondary level."]

Jody continues: For example, a deaf student who is college-bound needs to learn more information specific to access in the college setting.  

[The text above Jody is replaced with, "Included in Ben's PLAAFP: * Functional listening evaluation includes Ben understands 20% of single, common words when he cannot see the speaker and in noise * When he looks down to write notes, he misses 80%; needs notetaker or real-time captioning services. * No online portfolio yet for preparing for college. * Ben's grades increased with added access through notetaker compared to copying skeleton notes from the board, missing 75-80% of the elaborated information."] 

Jody continues: The present level information includes the functional listening evaluation and how much he understands in the high school classroom, with and without speechreading access. This information is helpful when discussing the need for notetakers or real-time captioning services in college.  It will help Ben to be able to explain why he needs the support services.  At the same time, he will learn what they are and watch videos to be able to explain the reasons for support.  

The information from the PLAAFP leads to the goal for Ben increasing his knowledge and skill related to accommodations in the dorm, with scholarships and disability services.  Under the goal is short-term objectives to help Ben create a useful online portfolio with information he needs when applying to colleges and after graduation.

Other examples found in Appendix V include those for students who continue to have academic needs throughout high school. For transition-age students, needs for a variety of skills may change throughout the last four years of high school.   It is important the IEP team review the prompts at each meeting and review access in the classroom.

[The text above Jody is replaced with, "PLAAFP Examples See more examples in Appendix IV-V of the Discussion Guide."]

Jody continues: Sample PLAAFPS, need statements, measurable goals and objectives can be found in Appendix IV and V of the Discussion Guide and should only be referred to as samples when creating a student’s Individual Education Plan. 

We hope this information helps parents and teams to consider the impact that being deaf or hard of hearing has on students throughout elementary and secondary levels in school.

[Video fades to the original slide with the words, "This webinar series is provided by The Commission of Deaf, DeafBlind and Hard of Hearing Minnesotans and by the Minnesota Department of Education."]

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