Liles Parker PLLC
(202) 298-8750 (800) 475-1906
Washington, DC | Houston, TX
San Antonio, TX | Baton Rouge, LA

We Defend Healthcare Providers Nationwide in Audits & Investigations

The Contents of an IEP are Essential to Its Success

The Contents of an IEP Are Essential to Its Success.(October 25, 2011): An IEP is an essential tool to assist children with disabilities and for those who are involved in educating them. Done correctly, an IEP should improve teaching, learning and results. Each child’s IEP describes, among other things, the educational program that has been designed to meet that child’s unique needs. This part of the guide looks closely at the contents of an IEP, how it is written, and the minimum information it typically contains.  The IEP must include certain information about the child and the educational program designed to meet his or her unique needs. The typical contents of an IEP are discussed below.

I.  Contents of an IEP:

Simply put, the contents of an IEP often includes the following:

• Current performance. The IEP must state how the child is currently doing in school (known as present levels of educational performance). This information usually comes from the evaluation results such as classroom tests and assignments, individual tests given to decide eligibility for services or during reevaluation, and observations made by parents, teachers, related service providers, and other school staff. The statement about “current performance” includes how the child’s disability affects his or her involvement and progress in the general curriculum.

• Annual goals. These are goals that the child can reasonably accomplish in a year. The goals are broken down into short-term objectives or benchmarks. Goals may be academic, address social or behavioral needs, relate to physical needs, or address other educational needs. The goals must be measurable-meaning that it must be possible to measure whether the student has achieved the goals.

• Special education and related services. The IEP must list the special education and related services to be provided to the child or on behalf of the child. This includes supplementary aids and services that the child needs. It also includes modifications (changes) to the program or supports for school personnel-such as training or professional development-that will be provided to assist the child.

• Participation with nondisabled children. The IEP must explain the extent (if any) to which the child will not participate with nondisabled children in the regular class and other school activities.

• Participation in state and district-wide tests. Most states and districts give achievement tests to children in certain grades or age groups. The IEP must state what modifications in the administration of these tests the child will need. If a test is not appropriate for the child, the IEP must state why the test is not appropriate and how the child will be tested instead.

• Dates and places. The IEP must state when services will begin, how often they will be provided, where they will be provided, and how long they will last.

• Transition service needs. Beginning when the child is age 14 (or younger, if appropriate), the IEP must address (within the applicable parts of the IEP) the courses he or she needs to take to reach his or her post-school goals. A statement of transition services needs must also be included in each of the child’s subsequent IEPs.

• Needed transition services. Beginning when the child is age 16 (or younger, if appropriate), the IEP must state what transition services are needed to help the child prepare for leaving school.

• Age of majority. Beginning at least one year before the child reaches the age of majority, the IEP must include a statement that the student has been told of any rights that will transfer to him or her at the age of majority. (This statement would be needed only in states that transfer rights at the age of majority.)

• Measuring progress. The IEP must state how the child’s progress will be measured and how parents will be informed of that progress.

II.  Additional State and School-System Content:

States and school systems have a great deal of flexibility about the information they require in an IEP. Some states and school systems have chosen to include in the IEP additional information to document their compliance with other state and federal requirements. (Federal law requires that school districts maintain documentation to demonstrate their compliance with federal requirements.) Generally speaking, extra elements in IEPs may be included to document that the state or school district has met certain aspects of federal or state law, such as:

Holding the meeting to write, review and, if necessary, revise a child’s IEP in a timely manner;
• Providing parents with a copy of the procedural safeguards they have under the law;
• Placing the child in the least restrictive environment; and
• Obtaining the parents’ consent.

III.  Contents of an IEP May Vary From State to State:

While the law tells us what information must be included in the IEP, it does not specify what the IEP should look like. No one form or approach or appearance is required or even suggested. Each state may decide what its IEPs will look like. In some states individual school systems design their own IEP forms. Therefore, across the United States, many different IEP forms are used. What is important is that each form be as clear and as useful as possible, so that parents, educators, related service providers, administrators, and others can easily use the form to write and implement effective IEPs for their students with disabilities.

Ashley Morgan Healthcare AttorneyAshley Morgan, J.D., represents students and their families in connection with IEPs and other reasonable accommodation matters. For a complimentary consultation regarding your child’s needs, give Ashley a call at:  (202) 298-8750

  • Advertisement

Comments are closed.