IEP Planning

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Individualized Education Programs (IEPs)

An Individualized Education Program (commonly referred to as IEP) is a document, mandated by the IDEA, which clearly defines the individual goal and objectives set for a child with a disability. These programs are written documentation of the special education program and academic modifications required to meet the child’s individual needs.


The two main purposes of a student’s IEP are to:

  1. Set reasonable learning goals for the student, and

  2. State the required services that the school district needs to provide for said child.


IEPs are developed by a team including the child’s teacher(s), parents, and supporting school staff. This team meets annually (at minimum) to assess the academic and developmental progress of the student, design appropriate educational plans, and adhere any changes if necessary. The main goal these reviews is to ensure that the child is receiving appropriate and adequate services within their least restrictive environment.

While each child’s IEP is unique, IDEA mandates that all IEPs must contain the following specific information:

  • Student’s present level of academic achievement and overall performance

  • Annual goals and/or objectives for the child (milestones that both parents and school staff feel is reasonably achievable within the next year.)

  • Special education and related services, including supplementary services such as adaptive communication devices, adequate transportation services, and appropriate school personnel

  • Portion of the day that the child will be educated apart from his or her typically-developing peers

  • Participation and/or modification to district-, state-, and nation-wide assessments

  • How child’s progress will be measured


For a much more detailed explanation of everything that goes into creating an IEP, as well as an overview of the basic Special Education Process under IDEA, please refer to the U.S. Department of Education's Guide to the Individualized Education Program External link .