Individualized Education Program (IEP)
If your child is found eligible for special education, an Individualized Education Program (IEP) will be developed. The IEP will be written by the IEP team at a meeting and will include a description of all the programs and services necessary to help your child be successful. The IEP team uses information that is contained in the Evaluation Report to write the IEP.
As a parent, you are an IEP team member. It is important that you attend these meetings. The school will send you a written notice of when, where, and why the meeting will be held and a list of the other people who are invited to attend. The IEP meeting is to be scheduled at a time and place that is mutually agreed upon by you and your school. If the date or time is not convenient, you may ask for a change. Parents may also be included by telephone if it is impossible for them to attend the meeting in person.
Required members of each IEP team are:
- The child’s parent(s)
- At least one of your child’s general education teachers (if your child attends, or might attend, general education classes)
- At least one special education teacher
- A representative of the school who:
- Is qualified to provide or supervise special education programs
- Knows about the general curriculum
- Knows about the availability of the resources the school can offer
- Someone who can interpret the evaluation results, who may already be a member of the team
- At your request or that of the school, other people who know your child well or who have worked with your child. You may bring an advocate to advise you or anyone else who will be able to add information about your child’s educational experience
- Your child at age 14 when planning will be done for life after graduation, or any time before that age when you want your child to be present, and it is appropriate
- A representative from a vocational-technical school if a vocational-technical program is being considered for your child
One person may fill more than one of the above roles. In most cases there will be four people at the IEP meeting: you, the LEA representative, a special education teacher, and a general education teacher (if your child will participate at all in general education). The general education teacher may not attend all meetings or stay for the entire meeting time, but must be a team member. Mandated members of the IEP team may be excused from the meeting if you and the school agree in writing. If a member is excused and his/her area of expertise is being discussed, he/she must provide written input before the meeting.
If you choose not to attend the IEP meeting, it may be held without you.
The IEP team will review all the evaluation material and will determine how your child is performing in school now. The IEP team will write annual goals that can be measured and are designed to meet the needs of your child.
The IEP team will determine:
- The types of special education supports and services to be provided to your child that will be used to meet the individual needs of your child.
- Where, what kind, how much, and how often special education and related services will be provided. For example, the IEP may say, “individual speech therapy, 30-minute periods, three times per week, in the speech room.” Special transportation, which is different from the mode of transportation utilized by other children in the neighborhood, also falls under this category. For example, the IEP may say, “a bus that will lift a wheelchair from the curb taking Jimmy from his home to school with a ride no longer than 30 minutes.”
- The date services and programs will begin and how long they will last.
- The tests or other methods of evaluation that will be used to decide if the student is meeting the annual goals and how and when this progress will be reported to you. Progress on meeting annual goals must be reported periodically, such as through the use of quarterly reports.
- How much, if any, the student will not participate in the general class or in the general education curriculum, and the amount of time your child will spend inside the general classroom.
- The adjustments and supplementary aids and services in the general education setting, if any, for your child to succeed in a general education class. This could include, for example, giving the child untimed tests or having someone help the child take class notes.
- The adjustments needed, if any, for the child to participate in statewide or districtwide tests. If the child is not able to participate, even with adjustments, another assessment will be done that will show the child’s skills. Participation in this alternate assessment will be documented in the IEP.
- Supports that school personnel may need to implement the IEP, such as resource materials, training, or equipment.
In developing the IEP, the team must consider:
- Your concerns
- Whether a child exhibits behavior that interferes with the child’s learning or the learning of others, and therefore needs a behavior management plan
- The needs of children with limited English language skills
- The use of Braille for children with visual problems
- The communication needs of students, including students who are deaf or hard of hearing
- Whether a child needs assistive technology devices or services to communicate or participate in the activities that are going on around the child
At each IEP meeting, the team will determine if the student is eligible for Extended School Year (ESY). More information about ESY can be found in the Guide to Extended School Year Services.