What is an IEP?
Learn the ins and outs of an Individualized Education Program (IEP).
By Jan Baumel, M.S.
You asked to have your child evaluated for special education services. Now it's time for the IEP meeting, but you're not sure what to expect. What's in an IEP? How can you prepare for the meeting?
What is an IEP?
The IEP, Individualized Education Program, is a written document that's developed for each public school child who is eligible for special education. The IEP is created through a team effort and reviewed at least once a year.
Before an IEP can be written, your child must be eligible for special education. By federal law, a multidisciplinary team must determine that (1) she's a child with a disability and (2) she requires special education and related services to benefit from the general education program.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), a federal law, requires certain information to be included in the IEP but doesn't specify how the IEP should look. Because states and local school systems may include additional information, forms differ from state to state and may vary between school systems within a state.
IEP team members
The members of the multidisciplinary team who write your child's IEP include:
- You, the parents, who have valuable insights and information about his strengths and needs and ideas for enhancing his education
- General education teacher(s) who can share information about classroom expectations and your child's performance
- A special education teacher who has training and experience in educating children with disabilities and in working with other educators to plan accommodations
- An individual who can interpret the results of your child's evaluation and use results to help plan an appropriate instructional program
- A representative of the school system who knows about special education services and has the authority to commit resources
- Individuals with knowledge or special expertise about your child that are invited by you and/or the school district
- Representatives from transition services agencies, when such services are being discussed
- Your child, when appropriate, and whenever transition is discussed