IEP: What is an IEP and Does My Child Need One?

IEP stands for Individualized Education Program. An IEP is a written plan and legal document that follows the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). IDEA is the special education law that protects the rights of students with disabilties.

teacher instructing studentsSome things that should be included in an IEP:

  • Child’s current levels of performance.
  • Specific (measureable) goals that explain how and when performance should improve.
  • Changes to the way the child needs to be taught. These are often referred to as “accomodations” or “modifications.”
  • Any services or supports that will be provided (e.g. extra time, one-on-one support, technology to help) in order to reach and maintain goals.
  • Description of how and when progress towards the goals will be measured.

A child’s IEP includes specific types of help they need in order to perform to the best of their ability in school. Thus, it is important to have full evaluations done as part of the IEP process. This helps to make sure that the child’s IEP matches their unique strengh and growth areas.

Should I look into an IEP? 

struggling with homework iep

  • Does your child have learning, attention, or behavioral issues that interfere with their ability to learn while at school?
  • Does your child spend a lot of time and effort on their work, and thier grades remain lower than expected?
  • Is your child struggling inside or outside of the classroom, and you have already worked with the teacher to do all you can?
  • Does your child have a disability that can impact their learning at school?

If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, you may want to seek an evaluation for special education servcies to see if an IEP is an option for your child. Not sure how to do this? Come back tomorrow for part 2 of this 4-part blog series.

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