Understanding and Working With Your Child’s IEP

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If your child has been recently diagnosed with a disability, one of the next steps you will take is to create an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). This blog post will outline the specific educational needs of your child and how they will be met.

It is important to understand who makes up your child’s IEP Team members and what their roles are. In this blog post, we will discuss the different IEP Team members and how to work with them to get the best outcomes for your child.

What is an IEP

  • An Individualized Education Plan (IEP): written document explaining how a child’s special education program will be designed to meet his/hers educational needs and goals
  • Written when a child qualifies for special education
  • Ages 3-25 and outlines services the district will provide to help the student make educational and academic progress
  • Amendable at any time
  • In 1975, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was passed. This act granted the right to a “free and appropriate public education” to all children with disabilities

IEP Types

Initial IEP:  If it is determined that a student needs special education services, they may be referred for a REED (Review of Existing Educational Data) and a MET (Multidisciplinary Evaluation Team).

zSource: What are the different kinds of IEPs

Annual Review IEP: Must be held every 365 days. No extension beyond 365 days is allowed. A parent or school team member may request an IEP prior to the annual 12-month meeting

Re-Evaluation IEP: A student who is currently eligible for special education must be present for re-evaluation at least every three years.

Source: What are the different kinds of IEPs

Transition IEP: If a student will be 16 or older within the next year, a transition IEP must be created. This IEP must be updated every year until the student leaves school. The student must be invited to participate in creating this IEP.

The IEP Team

Who is involved: responsible for developing an IEP:

  1. Parents of the student
  2. At least 1 general education teacher of the student
  3. At least 1 special education teacher who has direct involvement with the student
  4. A representative of the school district
  5. Someone who can offer an interpretation and evaluation of the results
  6. At the discretion of the parent, other individuals who have knowledge of the child (outside SLP, OT, BCBA etc.)

How does my child receive an IEP?

  • IDEA requires all schools to have a referral process for identifying and evaluating children 0-21 who may qualify for special education
  • You, your child’s teachers can request an education evaluation from the school. No matter who requests this, the school needs your permission to evaluate
  • When to do the IEP: The IEP must be completed and notice given within 30 school days of consent for the child’s evaluation. Eligibility is determined at the initial IEP meeting, based on the evaluation results.

Source: Family Matters Special Education Individualized Education Program Fact Sheet

Acronyms

IDEA – Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (Federal Level)

IEP – Individualized Education Plan

LRE – Least Restrictive Environment

REED– REVIEW OF EXISTING EVALUATION DATA

MET– MULTIDISCIPLINARY EVALUATION TEAM

IEP FAQs

My child is in special education and would benefit from attending a private school. What do I do? Mandates regarding special education are only applicable to public schools and offered for kindergarten through high school. Therefore, private schools are under no obligation legally to provide special education resources, and therefore they do not have to implement an existing IEP.

Source: 1) Disabilities and Specific Needs – Survey of Exceptionalities 4300.40

I do not agree with the services my child’s school is providing. What do I do? You can negotiate with the IEP team if you feel your child needs a certain service that the school is not providing. Services are based on the child’s evaluation results, teacher input, test results, and medical data.

If you do not want your child in special education, you have the right to choose and do not have to give consent for an evaluation or services. Negotiations typically begin at the school level. If for whatever reason the scope of services can not be agreed upon between the school and the parents negotiations then take place at the district level. The next step would be some form of mediation with the final step resulting in a hearing.

I do not want my child in special education, but my school is insisting? What can I do? Parents have the right to choose not to place their child in special education and do not have to give consent for an evaluation or services. The IEP process requires parents to give consent twice so you can consent to having your child evaluated and then choose not to give consent for services.

What if my child is not found eligible for special education services? Children who are not eligible for special education services may still receive services through a 504 Plan, which provides services and accommodations to children with disabilities or other medical conditions

Resources

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