PARTS OF AN IEP
INFORMATION / ELIGIBILTY
- Personal Information
This is most often the first page of your child’s IEP. It should include important personal information such as full name, birth date, parent’s names, contact information, and the dates of their most previous IEP. Always make sure this information is correct, as many schools use the information on this page to update their own contact information for your child. It’s always best to ensure all information has been updated!
- Purpose of meeting
It should be clearly indicated what type of IEP meeting is taking place (triennial, annual, or addendum). In the case of an addendum meeting, a purpose statement should be written such as, “The team is holding an addendum meeting to review and update Joe Smith’s sight word goal.”
- Qualifying Disability Information
It should also be stated what your child’s qualifying disability is, and if there are any secondary disabilities.
The current qualifying disabilities under IDEA are: autism, deaf/blindness, deafness, hearing impairment, intellectual disability, multiple disabilities, orthopedic impairment, serious emotional disturbance, specific learning disabilities, speech or language impairment, traumatic brain injury, visual impairment including blindness, and other health impairment.
When I write my present levels, I think of it as an opportunity to capture that student’s personality and successes. There is a great quote, “If you know one child with Autism, you know one child with Autism.” I try as much as possible to keep this quote in mind when drafting the present levels of a child’s IEP, because I want to remember to always make this section personal and informative.
Present levels should detail who the child is, what they are capable of, what they are working on, how they are motivated, and things they enjoy doing.
Think of it this way, if your child had to go to a new school without time for a lengthy transition, would their IEP have enough information for their new team to gain a rough understanding of what makes your child unique?
When it comes to present levels, as far as I’m concerned, the more information the better!
For a detailed description of Present Levels, check out: A Detailed Description of Present Levels.
- Assistive & Low Incidence Technology
If your child has any dedicated devices, please make sure they are correctly listed in this area. This can include assistive technology, low incidence technology, and even services provided to correctly implement and train on these devices.
- English language learners
It’s important for it to be documented if your child is an English Language Learner, as the team will have to make special preparations and accommodations for your child to ensure continued progress.
Many times there is a statement along the line of: “Does the student’s behavior impede learning of self or others?” If yes, then there needs to be a behavioral goal or behavior intervention plan.
In this section, the key to remember is that a behavior is considered severe if it impedes learning for either your child, or others he/she may be surrounded by.
If you would like a behavior plan in place, or believe that your child’s education is being effected by their behaviors, absolutely voice your opinion and let your child’s IEP team know.
Most, if not all, of your child’s IEP team will have experience helping kids manage maladaptive while learning positive replacement behaviors. Although no two children are the same, your team will have a large insight into strategies that can help. By coming together, and sharing experiences and knowledge, a highly effective and strategic plan can be developed to assist your child.
If your child participates in any statewide assessments, they must be listed here with all previous year’s test scores and achievement levels. If your child does not participate in any assessments, or if you would like your child to stop participating in standardized tests; this is the time to ensure that your team knows.
There are alternative assessments that can be taken, such as the CAPA in California, but again all assessments are optional, and you can absolutely have your child opt out of said assessments.
IEP goals are essentially the main teaching points that your child’s education will center around.
It’s important that their goals be aligned with the areas you deem most valuable and crucial to your child’s academic skill set, while still being individualized and tailored to your child specifically.
For a more detailed description of IEP Goals, check out: Essential Parts of an IEP Goal.
OFFER OF FAPE
FAPE stands for Free Appropriate Public Education.
This is your child’s right to education, and is guaranteed by both IDEA and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
For more information about how FAPE is defined, and how it is outlined in IEPs, please check out:
SIGNATURE AND PARENT CONSENT
There should be a page, which usually gets passed around at the conclusion of an IEP meeting, where each participating member must sign and date.
This is done in order to document all of the people who were in attendance of the meeting, and does not equal consent to the IEP.
A parent or guardian signature is needed to authorize and approve the IEP. There should be a statement on the signature page stating exactly what you are agreeing to.
Please, take your time to read exactly what you are signing and ensure that you agree to all parts. If there is something you do not feel comfortable signing, or if you would like to agree to some parts of an IEP but perhaps not all, voice your opinion and let your case manager know.
Many times parents will take home an IEP to review with their spouse or support system. This is perfectly fine, and okay to do. The ultimate goal is that everyone end up in agreement with all specifications documented in your child’s IEP.
Parents must be provided with a copy of their procedural safeguards, assessment reports, and a finalized version of their child’s IEP document.
If you do no receive these, please let your case manager know so that they can be assembled for you.
That’s a brief overview of the various parts which encompass an IEP document!
That wasn’t so bad, was it?
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If you have any great tips on how you make IEP meetings more effective,
let us know in the comments below!
FOR MORE ABOUT IEPS CHECK OUT: