Around 14% of public school students receive special education services, including Individualized Education Plans, according to U.S. News and World Report.
An IEP is a legal document that can advocate for your child’s unique educational needs. Your child can receive accommodations like extended test time and specialized instruction that enable intellectual development and academic success.
Initiating an evaluation
Obtaining an IEP begins with an evaluation to identify your child’s educational needs. You or your child’s teachers can request this assessment. After the request, schools usually have a set period to complete the evaluation, which varies by state. This step helps determine if your child qualifies for special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
Creating the IEP document
The school arranges a meeting once the evaluation confirms the need for an IEP. This meeting involves you, special education teachers, general education teachers and school administrators. Your child’s school must provide you with enough notice before the meeting and schedule it conveniently for all parties.
The team collaborates at the meeting to develop an official IEP document. This document outlines your child’s educational performance, specific goals and necessary accommodations. It includes details like the support your child will receive and the length and location of services.
Following the plan
Once you and the school complete and sign the IEP document, the school can implement the plan. The teachers and school officials involved are responsible for carrying out the services and accommodations specified in the IEP.
Federal law requires an annual review of each IEP to assess whether your child is meeting their goals and to make any necessary adjustments. Additionally, a comprehensive reevaluation should occur at least once every three years. You or your child’s teachers can also request an IEP meeting at any time to propose changes to the plan.
By understanding these steps, you can more effectively navigate the IEP process. Your involvement ensures your child receives adequate educational support.