Each Individualized Education Program includes:
- a statement of the child's present levels of educational performance;
a statement of annual goals, including short-term instructional objectives;
a statement of the specific special education and related services to be provided;
the extent that the child will be able to participate in regular educational programs;
the projected dates for initiation of services and the anticipated duration of the services; and
appropriate objective criteria and evaluation procedures and schedules for determining, on at least an annual basis, whether the objectives are being achieved.
The IEP for each student, beginning no later than age 16, must include a statement of needed transition services.
The IEP is required to address only those areas concerned with the provision of special education and related services and the extent that the child can participate in regular education programs. For some children, the IEP will address a very limited part of the education, e.g. speech therapy. For others with more involved impairments, a greater portion of the educational programming may be addressed in the IEP.
Developing an IEP
A meeting to develop an IEP must be held within 30 calendar days of the date eligibility for services is determined. An IEP must be in effect before special education and related services are provided to a child. The appropriate placement cannot be determined until after determination of the child's needs and the type of services to be provided.
The following participants need to be present at an IEP meeting:
- a representative of the public agency, other than the child's teacher, who is qualified to provide, or supervise the provision of, special education;
the child's teacher;
one or both of the child's parents;
the child, if appropriate; and
other individuals at the discretion of the parent or agency.
If a purpose of the meeting is the consideration of transition services for the student, the following shall also be invited:
- the student; and
a representative of any other agency that is likely to be responsible for providing or paying for transition services.
For a child with a disability who has been evaluated for the first time, either of the following needs to be present:
- a member of the evaluation team; or
an IEP team member who is knowledgeable about the evaluation procedures used with the child and is familiar with the results of the evaluation.
IEP meetings need to be held at least annually. Depending on the needs and progress of the child, meetings to review and revise may be held more frequently.
While IEP meetings are usually initiated and conducted by the school, it is appropriate for parents to request an IEP meeting when they believe their child is not progressing satisfactorily or they feel there is a problem with the current IEP.
Is the IEP a performance contract?
No. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act does not require that the agency, the teacher, or other persons be held accountable if the child does not achieve the growth projected in the written statement.