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Individualized Education Program

The Individualized Education Program (IEP)

Writing an IEP is a collaborative process amongst all required team members.  IDEA identifies required team members as:

  • The child's parents
  • At least one of the child's regular education teachers (if the child is, or may be, participating in the regular education environment at any time during the implantation of the IEP)
  • At least one of the child's special education teachers or providers
  • A representative of the school who
    • Is qualified to provide or supervise specially designed instruction,
    • Is knowledgable about the general curriculum, and
    • Is knowledgable about the availability of resources of the school
  • A person who can interpret the instructional implications of evaluation results
  • At the discretion of the parent or school, other individuals who have knowledge and/or expertise regarding the child
  • Whenever appropriate, the child

The content of the IEP must spell out the unique strengths and needs of the child, and based on those needs, a set of goals for the child to attain in the coming year.  Based on those needs and goals, the IEP team must determine what specially designed instruction is needed, and whether that must occur in a general or special education setting.  Related Services such as speech/language therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and parent training/counseling are determined, if such services are needed to allow the child to access and benefit from their other special education services.

The IEP team must also consider:

  • Special factors related to a child's unique needs.
  • Whether the services are provided in the school the child would attend if they did not have a disability.
  • Whether the services are provided as close as possible to the student's home.
  • The potential harmful effect of the services on the child, or on the quality of needed services.
  • Whether the child's day is shorter or longer than peers without disabilities.
  • The need for Extended School Year services.
  • The need for classroom accommodations and/or modifications.
  • The need for accommodations on state and local assessments.

IEPs are tasked with providing services in the least restrictive environment (LRE) needed for the child to make appropriate progress in light of his or her circumstances.  As such, schools are required to consider a continuum of options from the least restrictive/supportive to the most restrictive to meet the child's needs.