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An Individualized Education Program (IEP) is a written statement of the educational program designed to meet a child’s individual needs. IDEA requires that every child between the ages of 3 and 21 that receives special education services must have an IEP.
What’s the IEP’s purpose?
The IEP has two general purposes:
-to set reasonable learning goals for a child
-to state the services that the school district will provide for the child.
What’s in an IEP?
Each child’s IEP must contain specific information as listed within IDEA, our nation’s special education law.
The IEP must include:
– A statement of present levels of educational performance
– A statement of annual goals
– A statement of special education and related services
– An explanation of the extent to which the student will not participate with nondisabled children
– Individual modifications for state assessment
– The projected date for the beginning and duration of services
– A statement of how the child will be assessed
– Beginning at age 14, a statement of transition service needs must be included
– Beginning at age 16, an individual transition plan must be developed
When is the IEP developed?
An IEP meeting must be held within 30 calendar days after it is determined, through a comprehensive and individual evaluation, that a child has one of the disabilities listed in IDEA and needs special education and related services. A child’s IEP must also be reviewed annually thereafter to determine whether the annual goals of the IEP are being achieved. If annual goals are not adequately being achieved, the IEP must be revised appropriately to account for the child’s needs.
Who develops the IEP?
The IEP is developed by a team of individuals that includes key school staff and the child’s parents. The team meets, reviews the assessment information available about the child, and designs an educational program to address the child’s educational needs that result from his or her disability.
The IEP team must include the following members:
– Regular education teachers
– Special education teachers
– LEA representative
– An individual who can interpret evaluation results
– Others at the discretion of the parent or school
– The student (age 14 or older must be invited)
Can students be involved in developing their own IEPs?
Yes, DEA actually requires that the student be invited to any IEP meeting where transition services will be discussed. These services are designed to help the student plan for his or her transition to adulthood and life after high school. Further information about transition services is available on our Preparing Transition to Adulthood page, including how to involve students in their own IEP development.