What Is an Individualized Education Plan (IEP)?
An Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is a written plan that defines your child's educational needs and requirements. Your child's IEP will be developed at least annually, with input from you and your child's teacher(s).
IEPs are designed to help students who have disabilities achieve meaningful educational success and meet their particular needs.
The team that develops an IEP for your child may include:
- You, as a parent or guardian of the student
- The student's teachers
- The school principal or designee
- A representative from the school district who is knowledgeable about special education;
- Representatives from any other agencies who are involved in providing services to the student (for example, physical therapy or speech therapy)
- Other individuals who have knowledge or special expertise regarding the student (for example, a diagnostician)
Why Are IEPs Important?
IEPs are important because they are a way for all students, regardless of if they have special needs or not, to get the help they need in order to succeed. An IEP for a student includes goals and objectives, which are helpful tools that can be used in order to determine whether or not a student is making progress toward their goals. It also includes accommodations, which are things like extra time on tests or having a quiet space during class where they can work on their assignments without interruption. Finally, it includes modifications: changes made to the way something is done in order to accommodate a student's needs.
In addition to helping students succeed now, IEPs also help them prepare for life after school. This means that if your child has an IEP at school, you will want one at home as well — so that you can have some consistency between what happens at home and what happens at school!
How Do I Construct an IEP for a Student?
IEPs are developed by a group of people who meet to discuss how best to meet a child's needs. This group includes parents, teachers, administrators, therapists, and other professionals who work with a child.
If you are one of these individuals and are trying to construct an IEP for a specific child, it is important to acknowledge what belongs in this IEP before you create it. The IEP should include:
- Goals: What do you want to accomplish? What do you want your child to be able to do by the end of the year?
- Measures: How will we know if these goals are being met? What kinds of tests or evaluations should be given? And how often?
- Procedures: What steps need to be taken each day in order for your child to learn what he/she needs? Who will do each step? When will they happen?
- Support Services: Who will provide what kind of help, what kind of training do they need, how long will it last, etc…
Once you have all of this information, you can write up these goals on any form of documentation and create benchmarks that the group believes the child should meet by certain deadlines.