Happy Teacher and Kids

I’m going to start with explaining what IEPs are by definition.  I think this is only fair for people who roam upon this post and simply want to know what the normal definition is.  However, I’ll be writing a post soon on what an IEP meeting feels like for the parent.

Simply put, an Individualized Education Program (IEP) is a plan that helps to layout goals between parents and the school for children with disabilities. The program is federally mandated by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and is meant to be individualized for each child’s needs.

The goal of an IEP is to help the child reach their own individual goals in school, i.e. your child may be required to read one page out of a stage 1 book per week, and another child may need to read an entire stage 2 book per week, where as kids without an IEP may be required to read an entire stage 3 book per week.

What’s important to remember with any IEP, is that it should never be compared to another child. All goals should only be set for your child, and shared with his teachers and providers so that they know how to better teach/care for him.

The biggest misunderstanding that I’ve seen when it comes to IEPs, is that most people assume that a child with an IEP is in special education classes, but this isn’t always true. The child should only be in special education classes if that is what is appropriate for that child. Some children with IEPs are in regular classes, but still need personalized care, i.e. they may need an augmentative communication device, they may need a laptop for writing, they may need more time for timed tests, etc.

However, because I’m not the professional you need for IEPs, I found these links for you to learn more:

Ed.Gov: Guide to Individualized Education Program

Kids Health: Individualized Education Program (IEP)

About.com: What is an IEP?

Wikipedia: Individualized Education Program