IEP- Function and Purpose

When your child is identified with a disability, the school will bring together several people, including you, to help write an IEP.   This is a tool designed to help your child succeed in school.  It ensures that appropriate help, as well as academic and social goals, are set.

Definition

An IEP is defined as an Individualized Education Program. It is a document designed for your child that lays out a tailored educational program. Its purpose is to identify academic and social goals. It also states what help and services  the school will provide to help your child  to succeed .  

Law

A special education law, called the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), requires that schools have a process in place to identify disabilities.  The process can be early intervention services for children under the age of 2 or special education services for those between the ages of 3 and 21.

IEP Components

This law states that the IEP must contain statements about “present levels of academic achievement and functional performance”.  This means that the document must present “annual goals,” “special education and related services provided,” and “participation with children without disabilities. ”  

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Documentation

The “present levels of academic achievement and functional performance” document stipulates how the disability act will affect your child’s progress.  Goals are set to establish what the school team thinks your child can accomplish in a year.  These goals also identify any needs that relate to your child’s disability.  Goals map out how your child can take part in the general education curriculum.

Any services provided under the IEP should include tools and arrangements.  For example, services could provide a communication device or different seating arrangement.  In addition, it  must document  what personnel will provide  special education services at the school and how much of the day your child will spend educated away from the general population.

IEPs include a variety of other components, such as dates and location of services, participation in tests, transition services, and how progress will be measured. Read the Parent Center Hub site for more information about all IEP components.

Who Creates an IEP?

IEPs are created by the following;  one regular education teacher, a special education provider or teacher, a representative of the school system, someone who can interpret evaluation results, those who are invited, parents, and their child, when appropriate.

If at all possible, attend your child’s school IEP meetings.  Consequently,  you will be able  to understand the plan that could help your child to succeed.  Advocate for your child when necessary. The meetings can be done without parent participation, but try to attend, if you can. You can still get records of the meeting if you’re just not able to  attend.

In the end, an IEP is designed to help your child succeed. It is updated annually, and it reflects the school’s desire  to see your child do well in all aspects of life. Don’t be afraid of the IEP.  Embrace it as a tool to support your child.

EDUCATION STAFF WRITER