Teacher and Pupil

IEP's Explained

What is an IEP?

What does IEP stand for?

IEP stands for an individualized education program or individualized education plan. It is a plan or program created for students to ensure that they receive specialized instruction and related services due to a qualifying disability. 

Who qualifies for an IEP?

Qualification for an IEP means that a struggling student needs support due to an adversely affecting disability in one of the following 13 categories.

1. Specific learning disability (SLD)

2. Other health impairment

3. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)

4. Emotional disturbance

5. Speech or language impairment

6. Visual impairment, including blindness

7. Deafness

8. Hearing impairment

9. Deaf-blindness

10. Orthopedic impairment

11. Intellectual disability

12. Traumatic brain injury

13. Multiple disabilities

Public schools are required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to provide special education services to all qualifying students.

What is better for a student a 504 or IEP?

The question is not which one is better but which one meets the needs of the student. A student who has a disability that requires specially designed instruction to achieve the same academic requirements as their peers would fall under an IEP or individualized education plan. A student who has a disability that requires accommodation but not specially designed instruction would be considered a candidate for a 504 plan.  For more information see our section on IEP vs 504 plans

What's an IEP meeting?

An IEP meeting is an meeting opportunity for teachers, parents, related service providers, school administrators, and students to work together to develop a plan to improve the learning of students with disabilities. IEP meetings are scheduled annually for review, but the team can meet at any interval necessary to meet the student's needs. For example, if a student achieves an IEP goal before the annual review, a mid-year review can be scheduled to create new goals and discuss present performance levels and academic strengths. Mid-year meetings can also be called when the parents have concerns or new information regarding the student's disability to share with the team.

Who attends an IEP meeting?

An IEP meeting is a meeting opportunity for teachers, parents, related service providers, school administrators, and students to work together to develop a plan to improve the learning of students with disabilities. IEP meetings are scheduled annually for review, but the team can meet at any interval necessary to meet the student's needs. For example, if a student achieves an IEP goal before the annual review, a mid-year review can be scheduled to create new goals and discuss present performance levels and academic strengths. Mid-year meetings can also be called when the parents have concerns or new information regarding the student's disability to share with the team.

IEP meeting attendees

Student - Students can lead the conversation by sharing how the past year has gone and what supports have been most helpful to their learning. What was necessary, and what do they think might need to be changed. Students have a unique view of how goal progressing is going and what they are most proud of. Remember that the student is the "I" in IEP.

Parents or Guardians - Parents have the most extended and most insightful view into the student's daily life. Details about the life history and family culture are a large part of what makes a student successful. Parents will know what has been successful in the past, which leads to guiding the future.

Special Education Case Manager

General Education Teacher - General education teachers bring information about the curriculum and content standards invaluable to the present levels of performance report and goal development process. 

 

Related Services - Provides information from a non-academic perspective related to the student's disability and impact on school life.