Individualized Education Program (IEP)
What is an IEP?
Federal and state law (the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, IDEA) mandate a free appropriate education for all children with special education needs, from three to 21 years of age. The IEP is the specific vehicle for your child’s free appropriate education. You, as the parent, know your child better than anyone else. Therefore, your input during the IEP process is essential and invaluable.
State and federal law require a written IEP be developed and reviewed annually, to meet your child’s unique education needs.
The IEP is developed at a special meeting, with the participation of:
- The parents of the child;
- Not less than one regular education teacher of the child (if the child is, or may be, participating in the regular education environment);
- Not less than one special education teacher of the child, or where appropriate, not less than one special education provider of the child;
- A representative of the public agency whoIs qualified to provide, or supervise the provision of, specially designed instruction to meet the unique needs of children with disabilities;
- Is knowledgeable about the general education curriculum; and
- Is knowledgeable about the availability of resources of the public agency.
- An individual who can interpret the instructional implications of evaluation results, who may be a member of the team described in paragraphs (a)(2) through (a)(6) of this section;
- At the discretion of the parent or the agency, other individuals who have the knowledge or special expertise regarding the child, including related services personnel as appropriate; and
- Whenever appropriate, the child with a disability
- Transition services participants. (1) In accordance with paragraph (a)(7) of this section, the public agency must invite a child with a disability to attend the child's IEP meeting if a purpose of the meeting will be the consideration of the postsecondary goals for the child and the transition services needed to assist the child in teaching those goals under Section 300.320(b)
Participating in Your Child's Individualized Education Program (IEP) Meeting
As the parent of a child with special education needs, you should learn how to use the Individualized Education Program (IEP) process as an effective tool to obtain appropriate special education and related services for your child.
You should know:
- What an IEP should consist of
- How to Prepare for an IEP meeting
- How to write your own IEP statement
- How to effectively participate in an IEP meeting
- How to use communication skills to build a cooperative home/ school relationship
- How to obtain appropriate special education and related services through the IEP.
The amendment to IDEA in 1997 and the resulting federal regulations have made it clear, that there are options during the reevaluation processes. Every three years, the IEP team, including the parent, must determine whether additional data is needed in order to redetermine eligibility and develop a new IEP. A report is completed on the discussion of the IEP team with a decision on further testing. Prior written notice is given to parents outlining whether the student is eligible for services and whether additional testing will be necessary.
If additional data is needed by the MET, parent consent is required before testing. After testing, a report is completed and the team decides whether to continue services in special education. A new IEP is written and the placement process is repeated as before. Or, if the student is no longer eligible, special education services will stop.