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Implementing an Individualized Education Program (IEP)

(October 25, 2011) An Individualized Education Program, commonly referred to as an “IEP,” is a written agreement entered into by an IEP Team (typically comprised of a child’s parents, school administrators, teachers, and, when appropriate, clinical personnel (such as a school nurse, psychologist or social worker).  The purpose of an IEP is set out appropriate accommodations intended to address the learning needs and deficits of a specific student. 

I.  Implementation of an IEP:

Once the IEP is written, it is time to carry it out-in other words, to provide the student with the special education and related services as listed in the IEP. This includes all supplementary aids and services and program modifications that the IEP team has identified as necessary for the student to advance appropriately toward his or her IEP goals, to be involved in and progress in the general curriculum, and participate in other school activities. Every individual involved in providing services to the student should know and understand his or her responsibilities for carrying out the IEP. This will help ensure that the student receives the services that have been planned, including the specific modifications and accommodations the IEP team has identified as necessary.

II.  Teamwork and Coordination Among IEP Team Members is Essential:

Teamwork plays an important part in carrying out the IEP. Many professionals are likely to be involved in providing services and supports to the student. Sharing expertise and insights can help make everyone’s job a lot easier and can certainly improve results for students with disabilities. Schools can encourage teamwork by giving teachers, support staff and/or paraprofessionals time to plan or work together on such matters as adapting the general curriculum to address the student’s unique needs. Teachers, support staff, and others providing services for children with disabilities may request training and staff development.

It is helpful to have someone in charge of coordinating and monitoring the services the student receives. In addition to special education, the student may be receiving any number of related services. Many people may be involved in delivering those services. Having a person in charge of overseeing that services are being delivered as planned can help ensure that the IEP is being carried out appropriately.

III.  Communication Between Parents and School Officials is an Ongoing Obligation of Both Parties:

Communication between home and school is also important. Parents can share information about what is happening at home and build upon what the child is learning at school. If the child is having difficulty at school, parents may be able to offer insight or help the school explore possible reasons as well as possible solutions.

The regular progress reports that the law requires will help parents and schools monitor the child’s progress toward his or her annual goals. It is important to know if the child is not making the progress expected-or if he or she has progressed much faster than expected. Together, parents and school personnel can then address the child’s needs as those needs become evident.

Ashley Morgan Healthcare Attorney

Does your child qualify for an IEP but the school refuses to provide appropriate accommodations to address his or her learning deficits?  Give us a call.  A number of Liles Parker health care lawyers are skilled in representing individuals in connection with the negotiation, development and enforcement of IEPs.  For a free consultation, please give us a call.  1 (800) 475-1906.

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