Developing an IEP is not the singular responsibility of any one IEP team member. Instead, the development of an IEP is the responsibility of the entire IEP team including the general education teacher, the special education teacher and all of the related service providers. Therefore, when it is time to sit down and develop a student’s new IEP, it is imperative that all team members participate fully in the process.
What Should Be Included in Developing an IEP?
When developing an IEP it is important that the student be viewed as a whole person; not just as an academic student. Therefore, when developing an IEP all of the student’s strengths and challenges
should be taken into consideration. This information can come from both faculty and parents.
Every IEP has a section for parental concerns and as such, it is highly recommended parents take the time to really consider their concerns for their student. These expressed concerns can then be included in the development of the IEP.
Every IEP should also contain the results of any initial or recent assessments undergone by the student. It is important to remember that this information should be included from both assessments administered by the school district and any implemented by outside providers.
Academic, Developmental and Functional Needs of the Student
Every IEP should contain the present level that a student is functioning at in their
academics, related services, social emotional behavioral, vocational and adaptive living skills. These sections are often referred to as the student’s present levels of performance. Each of these areas of need should be reviewed and the most recent abilities of the student should be listed in each section of the IEP. These areas must be updated no less than every year, or more frequently depending upon the student’s progress.
What Special Concerns Should Be Noted in an IEP?
Every IEP contains a section knows as the Special Factors page. This page is specifically to take note of anything a student needs that is consider special or different from what other students might need. Special Factors can include, but are not limited to, the following;
- Issues pertaining to behavior that might interfere with the student’s ability to learn or the ability of others to learn in the student’s presence
- Behavior intervention plans to assist a student with addition supports and interventions or strategies that will help them address the behavior that is getting in the way of their learning
- To address issues with English language proficiency
- To provide additional services for students who are hearing or visually impaired
- To provide assistive technology to enhance a student’s ability to work effectively in their classroom or interact with their peers
Who Should Be Included in the Development of an IEP?
In addition to the statutorily required participants, all IEP teams must include a regular education teacher to participate in the development of an IEP for the student. The general education teacher must be allowed to help determine the appropriate behavior interventions a student might require. They are also expected to help determine what type of supports and strategies might work best for the student.
And, lastly, the general education teacher should have a voice in the types of supplementary aids, service, program modification and support the student might require fully to access their education.
How Is an IEP Revised?
An IEP can be revised during the course of an IEP meeting. At an IEP meeting changes can be proposed and discussed. And, if everyone agrees, the IEP can be changed during the meeting. However, if the
team and the parents agree that a meeting is not necessary, an IEP can be revised by a written amendment that is reviewed by everyone without holding an IEP meeting. Either way, once an IEP is revised and/or amended the parent must receive a copy of the revised IEP for their review and consent. Once the changes are agreed upon and the parents have consented to the same, the team and the parents must sign the new IEP and everyone responsible for implementing the IEP must be fully
informed of the changes that were made.
How Often Does My Student’s IEP Need to Be Reviewed?
A student’s IEP must be reviewed at least one time per year. However, if the IEP needs to be reviewed more frequently, this can be provided for too. During an annual review the expiring IEP should be reviewed including going over the students’ current present levels of performance and their progress on their goals from the last year. It is always hoped that a student’s present levels will be updated to note progress and that a student will meet all of their previous goals, but this is not always the case. During an annual review, all present levels should be updated. If a present level is simply copied and pasted from the previous IEP, it tends to show that the student did not make any progress. And, while it is not
illegal to continue a goal that a student did not meet, it is important to clarify any part of the goal the student did meet. That goal can then be continued into the next IEP to allow for mastery of the goal, but the team should also consider increasing the difficulty of the goal or components of the goal to keep the student moving forward with sufficient progress.