Individualized Education Plan
Our nation’s public schools are required to provide a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) to all students. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA) requires public schools to develop an IEP for every student with a disability who meets federal and state requirements for special education. The IEP refers to the educational program and the written plan that describes the program. Parents often find themselves responsible for advocating to ensure that their children receive the academic benefits to which they are entitled. The process to obtain free educational benefits can unfortunately be complex and often an experienced advocate is required to guide a parent through the multitude of laws and procedures that govern FAP.
An Individualized Education Plan (IEP), sets forth the tools and procedures to meet a child’s special educational needs. It also sets forth objectives for a child who has a disability or requires specialized accommodation. The IEP is designed to help children reach educational goals. The IEP must be tailored to the individual student's needs, and must help teachers and service providers understand a student's disability and how the disability affects learning.
The IEP describes how the student learns, how the student demonstrates what they have learned and specifies what teachers and service providers will do to help the student learn. Developing an IEP requires evaluating a student, considering his or her ability to function effectively within the mainstream curriculum, understanding the impact of the disability on learning, forming goals, and choosing a placement in the least restrictive environment.
As long as a student qualifies for special educational services, the IEP is required to be maintained until high school graduation. Educational needs can be met in a variety of settings to include general education classes, specialized classes taught by a special education teacher, or other settings. An IEP is designed to allow each student to participate in regular school culture and academics as much as is possible. The student will have separate and specialized assistance when necessary.
The IDEA requires that an IEP be customized to each student. The following must be included.
- The student's present level of academic and functional performance
- Measurable annual goals
- How the student's progress will be measured and reported
- Identification of special-education services and supplementary aids
- Schedule of services
- Program modifications
- The amount of time to be spent each day in general and special-education settings
- Testing accommodations
The student should attend the planning session if of sufficient age and must be invited to attend at age 14 and beyond. Often parents are not sure what they should request to be included in an IEP for their children or know what services schools are required to provide. Schools, with large classes and limited funds, often do not volunteer the information to parents or assist them. Schools must conserve and focus funds. A special education attorney can educate and assist parents through the process of working with schools to ensure that their child’s individual needs are met.
If you would like assistance in ensuring that your child receives the educational services to which he/she is entitled, contact Janko Law and Mediation, LLC. Our firm understands the importance of ensuring that children have the best possible education to set them up for success in adult years and our attorneys have first-hand experience with their own children requiring assistance in the school system. Call for a free consult at 303-210-4204 or complete our confidential online intake.