The IEP creates an opportunity for teachers, parents, school administrators, related service personnel, and other professionals to work together to improve educational results for children with disabilities.

The IEP team, including, parents, teachers, psychologists, nurses, other school staff and the student, must come together to create an effective IEP. The IEP provides the delivery of special education and related services for a child with a disability. According to the IDEA, special education is provided to children with disabilities between 0-22 years of age. Before a child enters the public school system (K-12th), they should have an IFSP (Individualized Family Service Plan) which includes parent support and early childhood special education. At the age of 3, an IFSP should provide a transition plan to the public school which requires an IEP must be written based on the needs of each student who meets eligibility guidelines under the IDEA. At age of 16, everyone who has an IEP needs to create a ITP (Individualized Transition Plan) to assist him/her to make a smooth transition from school to adulthood.

Steps in the Special Education Process

  1. Child is identified as possibly needing special education and related services
  2. Child is evaluated by psychologist
  3. Eligibility is decided
  4. If the child is eligible, the IEP meeting is scheduled
  5. IEP meeting is held and the IEP is written.
  6. Services are provided according to the IEP
  7. Progress is measured and reported to parents
  8. IEP is reviewed annually.
  9. Child is reevaluated for special education.

Contents of the IEP

  • The child’s present levels of academic and functional performance
  • Measurable annual goals
  • Special education services, related services , and supplementary aids
  • Schedule of services
  • Program modification/accommodation
  • Explanation of any time the child does not participate in activities with nondisabled children,
  • Accommodations during state and district assessments that are necessary in measuring the child’s academic and functional performance.
  • Additionally, when the student is 16 years old, a transition goal (ITP) is required. The ITP can be created at an earlier age, however, it must be included by the age of 16. What needs to be considered when writing the IEP?
  • The child’s strengths and interest/preference
  • Parents involvement in enhancing their child’s education
  • The results of recent evaluations