Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) are legally binding documents that outline the specific educational services and supports that a student with a disability needs to succeed in school. IEPs are created by a team of people, including the student’s parents, teachers, and other specialists, and they are tailored to the student’s individual needs and goals.
Who is eligible for an IEP?
Any student with a disability who meets the criteria under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is eligible for an IEP. IDEA defines a disability as a mental or physical condition that substantially limits a major life activity, such as learning, speaking, hearing, seeing, walking, or caring for oneself.
How is an IEP developed?
The process of developing an IEP begins with an evaluation of the student’s strengths and weaknesses. This evaluation may include testing, interviews with the student and their parents, and observations of the student in the classroom. Once the evaluation is complete, the IEP team will meet to discuss the results and develop a plan for the student.
What does an IEP include?
An IEP includes the following information:
- A statement of the student’s present levels of performance in all academic areas
- Annual goals for the student
- Special education services and supports that the student will receive
- How the student’s progress will be measured
- Participation in state and district-wide assessments
- Transition planning for students who are 16 years old or older
What are the benefits of an IEP?
An IEP can provide a number of benefits to students with disabilities, including:
- Increased access to the general education curriculum
- Specialized instruction and support services
- A more personalized learning experience
- Improved academic performance
- Greater self-advocacy skills
How can parents advocate for their child’s IEP?
Parents are an important part of the IEP team, and they play a vital role in advocating for their child’s needs. Here are some tips for parents who are advocating for their child’s IEP:
- Learn as much as you can about IEPs and the special education process.
- Be prepared to participate in IEP meetings and to ask questions.
- Be clear about your child’s needs and goals.
- Advocate for services and supports that are appropriate for your child.
- Work collaboratively with the IEP team to develop a plan that will help your child succeed.