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IEP Requirements for Disabled Students

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act requires that an individualized education program (IEP) include specific information, including:

  • The student's present level of educational performance in cognitive skills, linguistic ability, emotional behavior, social skills, and behavior and physical ability. This information may come from testing and assessment data, grades, observations by teachers, and anecdotal information from teachers and parents.
  • The annual goals and short-term objectives for the child's educational needs. The goals and objectives can cover academic activities, physical education, socialization -- whatever the IEP team determines is important to the child's education.
  • The instructional setting or placement for the child, which can be the regular classroom, a special education class, or a location outside the school, for example. Any special services the child is to receive, such as a sign language interpreter, also must be listed.

A parent is an important part of his or her child's IEP; in fact, the parent is an equal partner with the school district. A parent must agree to and sign an IEP before the child begins special education or begins a new school year. After the initial IEP meeting, meetings must be held yearly.

If either the parent or the school district wants to change a student's IEP, the district must schedule an IEP meeting and develop a new IEP. In addition, a parent is entitled to a meeting whenever he or she feels it is necessary. Once the parent and the school district sign an IEP, the school district must provide everything included in the IEP.

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