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What is an IEP?


Mother and daughter (4-6) with mature female teacher in classroom
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Question: What is an IEP?

Answer: IEP stands for Individualized Education Program (alternatively called an "Individualized Education Plan," "Individual Education Plan," or some combination thereof). This is a legally binding document that spells out exactly what special education services your child will receive and why. It will include your child's classification, placement, services such as a one-on-one aide and therapies, academic and behavioral goals, a behavior plan if needed, percentage of time in regular education, and progress reports from teachers and therapists. The IEP is planned at an IEP meeting.

The individualized part of IEP means that the plan has to be tailored specifically to your child's special needs -- not to the needs of the teacher, or the school, or the district. Goals, modifications, accommodations, personnel, placement, all should be selected, enforced and maintained with the particular needs of your child in mind. "We don't do that," for example, is not an individualized response. If your school has never had a child like yours (and since your child is an individual, they haven't), and now they do, and a service is appropriate to his or her needs, then they do do that now.

Next question: Who attends an IEP meeting?


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