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What is an IEP?

Goodbye summer and hello back-to-school time! As your children start in their new class, it’s important to know their education options, especially if they have disabilities. The Individualized Education Program (IEP) can help your child receive the special attention and opportunities needed.

What is an IEP?

An IEP is a custom educational plan tailored to a student’s specific learning ability. IEPs were made possible in public schools by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1975. According to the U.S. Department of Education, the law says all children are “guaranteed access to a free, appropriate, public education … in the least restrictive environment to every child with a disability.”

If your child has challenges learning, or she has a diagnosed disability, you may be eager for her to receive special education services. To qualify for an IEP, a child must demonstrate at least one of the five special factors described in the 1975 law, which include behavior that impedes learning, limited English proficiency, blindness or visual impairment, communication problems, including deafness, and a need for assistive technology.

Although the timeline can vary, students who need an IEP are usually identified in elementary school. A public school is obligated to discover children with disabilities.

After the school identifies your child’s needs, talk with her teacher and listen to the apprehensions about her academic progress. If they believe her overall learning is being affected, your child will then go through evaluations to see whether she qualifies for services and in which of the five areas she needs help.

Your child’s IEP can be revised and continued through high school. In some cases, students can get to a point during their education where they can “graduate” from their IEP if it is determined that they no longer need it.

Constructing the IEP

Every public-school student who receives special education must have an IEP in place. Many variables need to be considered when creating an IEP, which is why parents, teachers and school staff members are involved in the construction and implementation of the program.

Initialy, a meeting is scheduled within 30 days of a child’s special education needs being identified. The team will look at how your child is doing in school and how that performance can be improved. Annual goals are then set to review and to determine how the IEP is helping your child.

Your child’s IEP will include:

  • Current performance information
  • Annual goals
  • Special education and any related services
  • Accommodations
  • State and district test results
  • List of needed transition services
  • A plan specially-made for your child
  • The progress your child has made

If this process sounds overwhelming and you feel you need help, you can always reach out to us.

American Disability Association is dedicated to the wellbeing and protection of children with disabilities and actively provides support to enhance their quality of life. Whether you are dealing with federal or state benefits or struggling with a school district to get proper education for your child, we have the resources to help you. Many individuals and families managing a disability are not aware of the wide array of services available to them, or they do not know how to apply for these benefits in a way that is likely to succeed.

Contact us for help. Dial (888) 323-2133 or email us at [email protected]