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Your Child's IEP

Read this page to learn what an IEP is and how it can help your child.

You know your child better than anybody else. So you know best how your child learns.

What an IEP is

IEP stands for Individualized Education Program. This is a plan that is made just for your child.

  • The IEP lists what your child should learn during the next year.
    It also lists special education services that your child needs to learn.
  • All people working with your child should follow this plan.

Who writes the IEP

  • You, the parents
  • If your child goes to a mainstream school, at least one of the child's regular ed teachers
  • A school representative
  • The person who understands what your child's evaluation means
  • Someone who is trained to work with children with hearing loss

What the IEP says

  • What areas in school your child does well in
  • What areas in school your child needs more help in
  • How your child is doing in school
    • What grade or level in school your child is in
    • Test scores and evaluations
  • What you want your child to be able to learn (goals and objectives)
    • How your child's progress will be measured
    • How the school will tell you how your child is doing
    • How often you will get a progress report
  • What services your child will get
    • For example, this could include interpreters, FM systems or speech therapy.
    • How often and for how long your child will get help
    • The names of the people who will work with your child
    • How much time your child will spend with children without disabilities or delays in school
    • Where your child will get special education services

If your child has a special way of communicating, like American Sign Language, make sure this is written on the IEP.

Expect the IEP to change starting at about age 16

  • Starting at age 16, the IEP also has to say what your child will do after he finishes school.
  • This transition plan is based on what your child needs. It's also based on what he wants to do. The plan can include:
    • College
    • Training for a job
    • Work
    • Services your child will need when he becomes an adult.

Ask for a copy of the IEP in the language you can read the best

  • You should be given a copy of the IEP.
  • The IEP and all reports from the school should be written in your native language so that you can read and understand them.

Plan to go to IEP meetings

Your child will have a new IEP every year, if he needs special education services.

1. You'll get a letter from the school inviting you to the IEP meeting.

  • The letter should give you the date, time and place for the meeting.
  • The letter should also tell you who will be at the meeting.
  • If you can't come to the meeting on that day, send the letter back to the school. Suggest other dates or times that are better for you.
    • It's important to have all the IEP team members together at the meeting. That way, you can all talk about what your child needs to learn at one time and place.
      Let the school know if you're bringing anyone to the meeting.

2. At the IEP meeting, here's what you should talk about:

  • How your child is doing with learning.
    Also talk about any testing that's been done since the last IEP.
  • The new things that your child should learn over the next year
  • Services that you or the rest of the team want to add, change or stop
    • Everyone can bring ideas to the meeting.
    • The school might give you their ideas in writing.
    • Nothing is final until the team (including you) agrees to it.

3. You and your IEP team write the IEP.

  • The IEP should be written in a way that you can understand.
  • You can write the IEP at one meeting, or more than one meeting.
  • After the IEP is written, everyone on the team should get a copy.

4. You'll be asked to sign a paper saying that you went to the meeting.

  • Signing this paper does not mean that you agree with the IEP.

Making Changes in the IEP

  • If you or your child's teachers want to change the IEP during the next year, your IEP team must meet.
  • The team must also agree that the IEP needs to change.

Next: What to do if you don't like your IEP

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National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders

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