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An Individualized Education Program (IEP) is a plan that can help students with learning disabilities and other challenges succeed in school. Learn more about the definition of these plans are and how they are developed. How IEPs Can Help Students With Learning Disabilities The acronym IEP stands for slightly different words. For kids to receive special education services, they need an IEP—an Individualized Education Program.

If your child has been evaluated, the process of getting one has already begun. But there’s still a lot to learn about how the process works and what your role will be. Individualized Education Program, or IEP An Individualized Education Program, or IEP, is an important step in determining the best course to educate a child with learning challenges. It is a state-mandated program for all students who qualify for special education services.

An IEP is a special education plan designed to meet a child’s specific learning needs. IEPs provide personalized education, services, and support for children with disabilities. Each IEP is designed around a child’s specific needs. By law, public schools are required to provide students with disabilities free and appropriate education.

Once your child has been evaluated and it is determined that they are eligible for special education services, then the Individualized education plan (IEP) is created and put into effect. The IEP team may be comprised of the same members who participated in the initial meeting or a new team may be developed based on the needs of the student. IEPs assist students who require a range of supports with their education. An IEP is a written statement that describes the adjustments, goals and strategies to meet a student’s individual educational needs so they can reach their full potential. An IEP is essential as it helps you plan and monitor a student’s unique learning needs.

An IEP is an “individualized education program” for students who need special education. It is a legal document that spells out instruction and supportive needs of a student. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) states that physical education is a required service for children and youth between the ages of 3 and 21 who qualify for special education services because of a specific disability or developmental delay. Sara Rivera’s son has a special education plan, but he’s in general education at school and is pulled out of class for individual instruction.

He. The IEP is meant to be a collaborative effort, written by the whole IEP team, which includes the special education teacher, a representative of the district (LEA), a general education teacher, and the psychologist and/or any specialists who provide services, such as the speech language pathologist.

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If the adolescent qualifies for special education services under these requirements, the school will meet with the parent(s) to develop an individualized education plan (IEP) outlining the services the adolescent will receive.

“Encyclopedia of Adolescence” by Roger J.R. Levesque
from Encyclopedia of Adolescence
by Roger J.R. Levesque
Springer New York, 2014

After an IEP team has developed and reached consensus on a student’s annual goals, they then consider the optimum setting in which the child will receive the special education and related services specified in the IEP.

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To accommodate these students, a continuum of alternative placements must be available to the extent necessary to implement the individualized education program (IEP) for each student with a disability.

“Encyclopedia of Special Education: A Reference for the Education of Children, Adolescents, and Adults with Disabilities and Other Exceptional Individuals” by Cecil R. Reynolds, Elaine Fletcher-Janzen
from Encyclopedia of Special Education: A Reference for the Education of Children, Adolescents, and Adults with Disabilities and Other Exceptional Individuals
by Cecil R. Reynolds, Elaine Fletcher-Janzen
Wiley, 2007

Under the IDEA, the written IEP must include: • your child’s current levels of academic and functional performance • how your child’s disability affects his or her involvement and progress in the general curriculum • measurable annual goals, including academic and functional goals designed to meet your child’s needs

“The Complete IEP Guide: How to Advocate for Your Special Ed Child” by Lawrence M. Siegel
from The Complete IEP Guide: How to Advocate for Your Special Ed Child
by Lawrence M. Siegel
NOLO, 2017

If the child is not able to benefit from his or her IEP at this level of LRE, he or she may receive services in a special designated classroom or a designated school building.

“Occupational Therapy for Children and Adolescents E-Book” by Jane Case-Smith, Jane Clifford O'Brien
from Occupational Therapy for Children and Adolescents E-Book
by Jane Case-Smith, Jane Clifford O’Brien
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If a child has an identified disability that qualifies for special education services, the child will have an IEP.

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from Inclusive Physical Activity: Promoting Health for a Lifetime
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Students can receive special educational services either through an individualized education program (IEP) if they meet eligibility requirements as a student with disabilities under federal law or through a 504 Plan if they are able to function adequately in the general education classroom with accommodations.

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from Learners on the Autism Spectrum: Preparing Highly Qualified Educators
by Kari Dunn Buron, Pamela J. Wolfberg, Carol Gray
Autism Asperger Publishing Company, 2008

The IEP is designed to ensure that a student with any type of disability that affects his or her progress in learning receives specialized and individualized instruction.

“Encyclopedia of Disability” by Gary L Albrecht, Sharon L. Snyder, Thomson Gale (Firm), Jerome Bickenbach, David T. Mitchell, Sage Publications, Walton O. Schalick, III
from Encyclopedia of Disability
by Gary L Albrecht, Sharon L. Snyder, et. al.
SAGE Publications, 2006

To assign a student to a special education class full time, teachers are required to file two separate plans of intervention (each requiring a meeting with the principal, counselor, and mother), which each must be tried for 60 days before testing is permitted.

“Unequal Childhoods: Class, Race, and Family Life” by Annette Lareau
from Unequal Childhoods: Class, Race, and Family Life
by Annette Lareau
University of California Press, 2003

Thus, the LRE is the educational setting that most closely approximates the regular school program (i.e., that of nondisabled students), while also meeting each child’s special educational needs.

“Encyclopedia of the Social and Cultural Foundations of Education: A-H ; 2, I-Z ; 3, Biographies, visual history, index” by Eugene F. Provenzo, John P. Renaud, Asterie Baker Provenzo
from Encyclopedia of the Social and Cultural Foundations of Education: A-H ; 2, I-Z ; 3, Biographies, visual history, index
by Eugene F. Provenzo, John P. Renaud, Asterie Baker Provenzo
Sage Publications, 2009

Oktay Kutluk

Kutluk Oktay, MD, FACOG is one of the world's foremost experts in fertility preservation as well as ovarian stimulation and in vitro fertilization for infertility treatments. He developed and performed the world's first ovarian transplantation procedures as well as pioneered new ovarian stimulation protocols for embryo and oocyte freezing for breast and endometrial cancer patients.

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4 comments

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  • I loved this video and it was very informational. I am graduating in December and I have had some practice in writing an IEP, but it was hard to understand. Seeing you walk through and explain each portion helped me understand the process of writing an IEP and prepared me more. I also like how you gave a real example IEP because I have always worked off of case studies and they were hard to pull information from since they were not directed towards writing an IEP. Thank you for the video!

  • Thank you so much. I just started my first year as an ED teacher during covid and I already have four IEPs due. All the time away from school made me feel so ill-prepared and shakey with everything I learned before graduation. This is such a great refresher. So grateful to you.

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  • Where did you get the templates you are using for the IEP? We use frontline as our IEP writing tool, but I wanted to be able to write some info on my mac.