Understanding what goes into an IEP will undoubtedly make you a stronger advocate for your child and ultimately lead to a better experience for you, your child and everyone else involved. And there area lot of people involved.

If your child qualifies for special education, the next step in the process is creating an IEP (Individualized Education Program) for the student.

Individual Education Plan (IEP) Eligibility

  • A child has 1/13 disabilities listed in the IDEA
  • Disability in question must affect the child’s educational performance from the general education curriculum
  • Access to funding for an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE)
  • Connecting you to an IEP team

Legal requirements for an IEP team:

  • The student’s parent or caregiver,
  • At least one of the student’s general education teachers,
  • At least one special education teacher,
  • School psychologist or other specialist who can interpret evaluation results,
  • A district representative with authority over special education services, and
  • Funding/costs to get your child to the rightful IEP

Typically IEPS are developed by a group of professionals including a case manager who is responsible for overseeing the IEP. Never forget that you are also a large part of the team, meaning you have a right to be involved in every step of the process, and you should.

The results of the child’s evaluation are used to create the IEP. If you disagree with the results of an IEP, you are legally entitled to an IEE (Independent Educational Evaluation) which must be paid for by the school district. You can read more about IEEs here.

The IEP process can be overwhelming and confusing, which is why we developed the IEP Pocketbook. This resource features vital information regarding the rights you and your child have including procedural safeguards, how and when to call an IEP meeting, how to prepare for an IEP meeting and so much more.


Get Our IEP Pocketbook NOW!

We developed  our IEP Pocketbook as a resource you can turn to at a moment’s notice to access information to efffectively advocate for your child’s rights. Download it. Save it.  Share it.

Below you can review how the government defines an IEP.

Section 300.320

As used in this part, the term individualized education program or IEP means a written statement for each child with a disability that is developed, reviewed, and revised in a meeting in accordance with §§300.320 through 300.324, and that must include—
(1) A statement of the child’s present levels of academic achievement and functional performance, including—
(i) How the child’s disability affects the child’s involvement and progress in the general education curriculum (i.e., the same curriculum as for nondisabled children); or
(ii) For preschool children, as appropriate, how the disability affects the child’s participation in appropriate activities;
(i) A statement of measurable annual goals, including academic and functional goals designed to—
(A) Meet the child’s needs that result from the child’s disability to enable the child to be involved in and make progress in the general education curriculum; and
(B) Meet each of the child’s other educational needs that result from the child’s disability;
(ii) For children with disabilities who take alternate assessments aligned to alternate academic achievement standards, a description of benchmarks or short-term objectives;
(3) A description of—
(i) How the child’s progress toward meeting the annual goals described in paragraph (2) of this section will be measured; and
(ii) When periodic reports on the progress the child is making toward meeting the annual goals (such as through the use of quarterly or other periodic reports, concurrent with the issuance of report cards) will be provided;
(4) A statement of the special education and related services and supplementary aids and services, based on peer-reviewed research to the extent practicable, to be provided to the child, or on behalf of the child, and a statement of the program modifications or supports for school personnel that will be provided to enable the child—
(i) To advance appropriately toward attaining the annual goals;
(ii) To be involved in and make progress in the general education curriculum in accordance with paragraph (a)(1) of this section, and to participate in extracurricular and other nonacademic activities; and
(iii) To be educated and participate with other children with disabilities and nondisabled children in the activities described in this section;
(5) An explanation of the extent, if any, to which the child will not participate with nondisabled children in the regular class and in the activities described in paragraph (a)(4) of this section;
(i) A statement of any individual appropriate accommodations that are necessary to measure the academic achievement and functional performance of the child on State and districtwide assessments consistent with section 612(a)(16) of the Act; and
(ii) If the IEP Team determines that the child must take an alternate assessment instead of a particular regular State or districtwide assessment of student achievement, a statement of why—
(A) The child cannot participate in the regular assessment; and
(B) The particular alternate assessment selected is appropriate for the child; and
(7) The projected date for the beginning of the services and modifications described in paragraph (a)(4) of this section, and the anticipated frequency, location, and duration of those services and modifications.
(b) Transition services. Beginning not later than the first IEP to be in effect when the child turns 16, or younger if determined appropriate by the IEP Team, and updated annually, thereafter, the IEP must include—
(1) Appropriate measurable postsecondary goals based upon age appropriate transition assessments related to training, education, employment, and, where appropriate, independent living skills; and
(2) The transition services (including courses of study) needed to assist the child in reaching those goals.
(c) Transfer of rights at age of majority. Beginning not later than one year before the child reaches the age of majority under State law, the IEP must include a statement that the child has been informed of the child’s rights under Part B of the Act, if any, that will transfer to the child on reaching the age of majority under §300.520.
(d) Construction. Nothing in this section shall be construed to require—
(1) That additional information be included in a child’s IEP beyond what is explicitly required in section 614 of the Act; or
(2) The IEP Team to include information under one component of a child’s IEP that is already contained under another component of the child’s IEP.

IEPs are developed by a group of professionals at school. One member of this IEP team typically acts as a case manager and oversees the IEP. You’re part of your child’s IEP team, too. That means you’ll be involved in the process as the IEP is made.

The IEP team will use the results of your child’s evaluation testing to design the plan. The scores show the specific areas your child struggles with. Having that information allows the IEP team to provide the individualized instruction and supports your child needs.

If your child has had a private evaluation , you’ll need to work with the school to use the results as it develops the IEP.

One of the biggest decisions the team makes when creating an IEP is what type of learning environment your child will be in. Schools are required to place students with IEPs in the least restrictive environment . Most kids with IEPs spend the majority of their day in class with their peers. This is called an inclusion classroom, or a general education classroom that includes students who receive special education.

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