Evaluations and IEPs
The acronym IEP stands for Individualized Education Program. This is a written document that describes the educational program designed to meet a child’s individual needs. Every child who receives special education must have an IEP.
The IEP has two general purposes: (1) to set learning goals for your child; and (2) to state the supports and services that the school district will provide for your child.
An IEP must be reviewed at least once a year. A meeting must be scheduled with you to review your child’s progress and develop your child’s new annual IEP. But you don’t have to wait for this annual review. You (or any other team member) may ask to have your child’s IEP reviewed or revised at any time.
Your child’s IEP will contain the following statements:
Present levels of academic achievement and functional performance. This statement describes how your child is currently achieving in school. This includes how your child’s disability affects his or her participation and progress in the general education curriculum.
Annual goals. The IEP must state annual goals for your child, what you and the school team think he or she can reasonably accomplish in a year. The goals must relate to meeting the needs that result from your child’s disability. They must also help your son or daughter participate in and progress in the general education curriculum.
Special education and related services to be provided. The IEP must list the special education and related services to be provided to your child. This includes supplementary aids and services (e.g., preferential seating, a communication device, one-on-one tutor) that can increase your child’s access to learning and his or her participation in school activities. It also includes changes to the program or supports for school personnel that will be provided for your child.
Participation with children without disabilities. The IEP must include an explanation that answers this question: How much of the school day will your child be educated separately from children without disabilities or not participate in extracurricular or other nonacademic activities such as lunch or clubs?
Dates and location. The IEP must state (a) when special education and related and supplementary aids and services will begin; (b) how often they will be provided; (c) where they will be provided; and (d) how long they will last.
Participation in state and district-wide assessments. Your state and district probably give tests of student achievement to children in certain grades or age groups. In order to participate in these tests, your child may need individual accommodations or changes in how the tests are administered. The IEP team must decide what accommodations your child needs and list them in the IEP. If your child will not be taking these tests, the IEP must include a statement as to why the tests are not appropriate for your child, how your child will be tested instead, and why the alternate assessment selected is appropriate for your child.
Transition services. By the time your child is 16 (or younger, if the IEP team finds it appropriate for your child), the IEP must include measurable postsecondary goals related to your child’s training, education, employment, and (when appropriate) independent living skills. The IEP must also include the transition services needed to help your child reach those goals, including what your child should study.
Measuring progress. The IEP must state how school personnel will measure your child’s progress toward the annual goals. It must also state when it will give you periodic reports on your child’s progress.
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Teachers, Intervention Specialists, Administrators, Speech-Language Pathologists, Occupational Therapists, Physical Therapists, School Psychologists, Paraprofessionals, Special Education Directors, and YOU!
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