WHAT IS AN IEP?
IEP stands for Individualized Education Program, and is a legally binding written plan which details your child’s education.
It is federally mandated by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) that every child with an eligible diagnosis have one, and is meant to protect your child’s right to a Free And Public Education (FAPE).
All members of the IEP team should give input, and come together to help make this a successful endeavor; therefore, please let everyone know if you have any suggestions or concerns when it comes to your child/student’s education! It is also the case manager’s responsibility to ensure that everyone is respected and given every opportunity to participate in the development of this program.
To summarize: An IEP plan is put together by everyone on your child’s IEP team during a set meeting. The document itself should be extremely detailed, individualized, and organized to outline every aspect of your child’s educational program. Once finalized and signed, this document legally certifies that your child’s team of specialists will follow through with everything outlined in the Individualized Educational Program.
HOW OFTEN DO IEP MEETINGS OCCUR?
There are three main types of IEP meetings: annual IEPs which are held once a year, Triennial IEPs which occur every three years, and Addendum IEP meetings which occur at the request of any IEP member (including you!) at any point in time.
WHO IS INVOLVED?
Any person who is involved with your child should be invited to the IEP meeting.
At minimum, an IEP should include all parents/guardians, the Special Education teacher, a General Education teacher your child may have, school administrators, a translator (must be provided if parents aren’t English language speakers or at the parent’s request), and a school psychologist (when warranted).
If your child receives any related services through their district such as Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Applied Behavior Analysis, Behavior Specialist services, Adapted Physical Education, etc. then that therapist or specialist should absolutely participate.
Also, if your child receives any services outside of the district or has a social worker, that person should also be invited. You yourself can always invite anyone you think will help give insight into your child’s success.
To sum up, invite every person that plays a crucial role in your child’s health, well-being, and academic success! Although this may make selecting a date cumbersome, with technology advancements such as video calls, it is becoming easier to include everyone without everyone necessarily needing to be present. This is the perfect time to think outside of the box, and determine alternative ways people can participate.
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