Individualized Education Program IEP

IEPs: The Basics

The IEP Process can be complex and stressful, but your involvement in ensuring that your child has the tools they need to succeed is crucial. For a child with a disability, this often means advocating for them to have an IEP, or Individualized Education Program. An IEP gives your child the right to special services and accommodations so that they can reach their full potential in the classroom. The right to an IEP for children with disabilities is mandated under IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act), which requires that schools provide a free and appropriate public education to all students

Once your child has been deemed eligible for an IEP in an initial evaluation meeting with the school’s child study team (link to page on that), you can begin creating it. Each year, you and the child study team will meet to reevaluate your child’s IEP. The final IEP will be a detailed document outlining your child’s educational goals and the services they will be given to achieve them.

There are five main steps in getting your child an IEP:

1. Referral for a Special Education Evaluation -

The referral can originate from a parent, teacher or other school personnel. It should be done in writing and it should be dated, signed and copied. Submit it directly to the principal, school psychologist or to your child’s teacher. For more information, see out blog post about referrals here (link to a post I will make).

2. The Evaluation

For your child to be evaluated for services, you must first give consent in writing. This evaluation will determine if your child has an eligible disability listed under IDEA qualifying them to receive special education services. The assessment will measure your child’s performance in different areas such as academics, social skills, emotional behavior, and medical diagnoses.

3. Determining Eligibility

It is up to the IEP Team to determine our child’s eligibility for services based off the results of their evaluation of your child. If you agree with the IEP Team’s findings, then this stage of the process is over. However, if you do not agree, there are further actions you can take to appeal the decision.

4. Writing the Individual Education Program

A case manager from your child's school will be assigned. This is usually a special education teacher or specialist who will be responsible for ensuring that your child’s IEP is implemented correctly.

This will include information such as:

• Your child’s present level of functioning
• Your child’s abilities and educational needs
• Area(s)of eligibility for services (based on the eligible disabilities named in IDEA)
• Annual goals and objectives
• DIS services (Designated Instructional Services refer to supplemental services that have been determined necessary to assist your child.)
• Program placement (what percentage of the day your child will spend in a specialized program outside of the typical classroom)
• Accommodations and level of participation in assessments
• Transition plan (for children over 16 who will soon graduate from school)

A parent can agree or disagree with all or part of the individualized education program (IEP). You can always sign for partial acceptance and have some services implemented while others are not.

5. The IEP Meeting

The IEP meeting should be scheduled at a mutually agreed upon time and place. It will include your child’s IEP Team, usually made up of the following school personnel.
• Parent/guardian
• School administrator
• Special education teacher
• General education teacher
• Professionals who performed the assessments
• Student (if appropriate and over age 8)

As a parent, you have a right to be an active member of the meeting in asserting your child’s needs. After the IEP is created and you sign off on it, your school district must then implement the plan for your child.

We understand that all too often, schools fail to provide the specialized instruction and other support needed to help children with physical, learning, or emotional disabilities. Our attorneys are prepared to represent clients at IEP meetings, due process hearings, and other complex meetings. Susan Clark Law Group can help you navigate the IEP and advocate for your child.

Contact us at the Susan Clark Law Group at 732-637-5248 for a free consultation.
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