Wondering What IEP Stands For? Here’s Your Comprehensive Guide to IEP’s

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What IEP Stands For:

IEP stands for Individualized Educational Plan and is a documented plan developed to ensure that a child attending public schools with a disability identified under the law receives the appropriate specialized instruction and related services. The IEP defines how a child should be serviced in three main categories according to the Center of Parent & Information Resources:

  • General education
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Nonacademic activities

This requirement began in 1975 with the passage of Education for All Handicapped Children Act (EAHCA). This law required school districts to provide specialized learning opportunities for students with special needs. The IEP is tailored to each student’s specific needs and is developed in conjunction with school officials and the child’s parents.

In this guide, we’ll look at how to determine if your child should have an IEP, what the IEP should cover, and how to be the best advocate for your child.

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IEP Eligibility

There are 13 disability categories that will qualify a child for special needs instruction and resources through the public school system. These categories include autism diagnosis, visual impairment, and traumatic brain injury. The SpecialEducationGuide.com specifies the complete list of categories.

Parents seeking additional assistance for a special needs child must simply request an evaluation from your child’s teacher or the school’s principal. This will get the ball rolling.

All children with disabilities do not necessarily require an IEP, but if the evaluation determines that your child’s disability presents an impediment to the learning process, the next step will be to develop the IEP.

Developing an IEP

Once an evaluation determines that a child qualifies to receive the special instruction, the first step is for parents and school administrators to formally prepare the Individualized Education Plan.

The first IEP meeting must by law occur no more than 30 days after the evaluation. Each IEP must also be reviewed annually.

The IEP meetings should include the school’s special education teacher, a district administrator, a general education teacher, and a representative to interpret the data. Additionally, the child’s parents or legal guardian should absolutely attend.

By law, the IEP must contain specific components. As detailed on the US Department of Education’s website, the IEP must specify:

  • Current performance
  • Annual goals
  • Special education and related services
  • Participation with nondisabled children
  • Participation in state and district-wide tests
  • Dates and places
  • Transition service needs
  • Needed transition services
  • Measured progress

IEP’s are generally very long documents that contain details related to how each specific child’s specialized education plan will occur. Parents will know exactly what resources their child has access to and, through annual meetings, the progress and performance related to goals should be reviewed. This helps all involved ensure that the current plan is producing the best results for the child.

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Advocating for your Child

Parents who are not satisfied with the proposed IEP and/or placement do not have to provide consent. Parents should discuss any concerns with the IEP team and work toward an agreeable solution. However, if this step is unsuccessful, parents can seek additional assistance through an independent evaluation, additional testing, or mediation.

Parents can also file a complaint with the district if the above remedies come to no avail. Remember, you are your child’s most effective advocate. Ensuring that your child receives the appropriate specialized education is an vital responsibility in the IEP process.