an Individualized Education Program (IEP)
The May Institute
My son's teacher thinks he may have a learning disability that is
making it difficult for him to learn to read. She's asked me to
meet with her and some other people at the school to talk about
an IEP. What can you tell me about IEPs?
"An IEP is an Individualized Education Program which outlines
special education and related services that school districts must
provide to eligible children," says Robert Putnam, Ph.D., senior
vice president of consultation services for May Institute. "It
includes measurable goals and outlines services the child will need
to succeed in school. It also describes where and how those services
will be provided."
are developed in accordance with the Individuals with Disabilities
Act of 1997 (IDEA-97) which mandates that every child in the United
States with a diagnosed disability who requires special education
will receive that education free of charge.
your child will need to be assessed to determine if he is eligible
to receive services, explains Putnam. You will need
to make a written request to the Director of Special Education in
your city/town to request that your son be assessed. With your permission,
a multidisciplinary team of professionals will evaluate your son
based on their observations and his performance on standardized
tests. The tests will focus on his proficiency in specific school
subjects such as reading and math as well as his development in
the speech and language area."
professionals on an IEP team may include a psychologist, physical
therapist, occupational therapist, speech therapist, special educator,
vision or hearing specialist, and others, depending upon the specific
needs of a child. Parents and teachers are also important members
of any IEP team.
the assessment has been completed, the professionals who evaluated
your son will provide written reports of their findings and their
determination if your son has a disability covered under IDEA-97.
These written reports must be completed within 30 days of a written
request for determination of eligibility. If your child is eligible
to receive services, you and the other team members will meet to
decide what will go into his IEP," Putnam says.
IEP must be developed before any special education and related services
can be provided, and it should be written at this meeting and presented
to you for approval within three calendar days after a childs
eligibility has been determined. Thereafter, the IEP Team committee
must review it at least once a year, although a parent or teacher
may request more frequent reviews.
is important to note that IEPs are not only for students with severe
mental and/or physical disabilities. A wide range of students can
benefit from an IEP, including those with learning disabilities
and behavior disorders, adds Putnam.
to Federal requirements, an IEP must contain the following six
Statement of present levels of performances (PLOPs)
Measurable short- and long-term goals and objectives
Description of special education and related services to
Explanation of how and when progress will be reported
Explanation of extent to which the child will not participate
with non-disabled peers
Statement of any individualized modifications in the state-wide
or district-wide assessments
some students, additional information must be included in the context
of the IEP, such as a transition plan (for students ages 14 and
older), a behavior support plan, ESL (English as a Second Language)
needs, Braille communication needs, and assistive technology needs.
Institute offers early intervention, in-home and school consultation
services as well as parent and teacher workshops and training. In
addition, May Institute has Positive Schoolssm, a nationally recognized
school-wide behavior support program, that improves a school's climate
by providing training and consultation on effective disciplinary
practices and student social skills development. For more information,
800-778-7601 or visit www.mayinstitute.org.