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What parents should know about IEPs and the law

Being told that your child has a disability can be an overwhelming diagnosis to hear, especially when you learn about all of the things that go along with it. Your child may require disability benefits through the Social Security Administration, long-term medical care, or special rehabilitative services. If your child is school age, there are other things to consider too such as transportation to and from school and their education.

We understand the confusion many of our readers face, especially if they have no experience with the special education system and the laws governing it. This is why we wanted to highlight one aspect of the system in this week's blog post with the introduction of Individualized Education Plans, also known as IEPs.

According to state and federal laws, public schools are required to not only provide students with disabilities with special education services but are also required to provide these students with an IEP. Each IEP must be individually tailored to each student's needs and disability in order to provide them with the best education possible.

To achieve a well-tailored IEP, school administrators are encouraged to collaborate with teachers, service personnel, parents of the child and the student as well. By collaborating, school administrators can ensure that they are delivering a quality education to the student every school year.

Even though public schools are required by law to create IEPs for special education students each year, some cases in the past have highlighted the fact that this doesn't always happen. In these cases, legal representation has been needed and civil action may have been taken against the culpable school.

Source: The National Center for Learning Disabilities, "What Is an IEP?" Accessed Sept. 5, 2014

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