So, what is an IEP?
An IEP is an Individualized Education Program. It is the formal or official statement of your child’s special education and related services. Its main purpose is to help craft an education plan for your child’s unique and individual needs.
IEPs are developed in an IEP meeting where the team talks about your child’s assessment results. The team then develops a program tailored to your child’s needs and then determines the correct placement for your child. This plan includes any modifications your child needs as well as accommodations that may be required in the general education classroom.
When do you need an IEP?
If you feel your child has special needs, request an evaluation from your child’s teacher or the school.
Once evaluations have been made (using various testing methods) and it is determined that your child does have special needs the school will create an IEP for your child. In fact, under the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) the school is required to do so.
An IEP should be used to:
- Make Accountable
- Create compliance and monitoring
- Be used as a resource for evaluation
Remember that you as a parent or guardian are an integral member of the IEP team and the school has a legal duty to include you.
Although you are not required to attend IEP meetings, participating in these meetings may be the most important factor in determining whether your child’s needs are acknowledged and met. This is because you know your child best.
While teachers and administrators care about your child, they have many other students on their case loads. And let’s be honest, no one is more invested and can better advocate for your child than you.