What is it?
An IEP is a written document for a child with a disability that recognizes measurable goals and strategies to help that child be successful in school. The IEP has two general purposes: 1) to set reasonable learning goals for a child and 2) to state the services the school district will provide for the child. Developing the IEP is a done by the child’s family members, teachers, child development experts and school administrators. Its guiding mission, as determined by the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), is to provide a free and appropriate education in the least-restrictive environment possible. The IEP process is different from a medical focus as it’s outcomes are to make the child successful in school.
Who is eligible?
There are two main ways in which children are recognized as possibly needing special education:
Child Find (AZ Find), and by referral of parent or school personnel.
Public schools are mandated to conduct a “full and individual initial evaluation” before providing special education to a child with a disability. The purpose of an initial evaluation is to (1) determine if the child is a “child with a disability” who is entitled to receive special education services and (2) to determine the educational needs of the child.
Keep in mind…
Within 30 calendar days after a child is determined eligible, a team of school professionals and the parents must meet to write the IEP for the child. The parent of the child with an IEP may invite anyone they deem necessary for the IEP’s success. This can include having someone there for emotional support, to take notes, or to be your (the parent’s) advocate.
What does an IEP need to contain?
The resulting IEP needs to contain specific information required by IDEA:
Keep in mind…
Parents, educators, advocates, and attorneys come to Wrightslaw for accurate, reliable information about special education law, education law, and advocacy for children with disabilities.