Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) (page 3)
NICHCY is pleased to connect you with resources on Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) for children with disabilities. When a child receives special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), he or she must have an Individualized Education Program (IEP). This is a written document listing, among other things, the special educational services that the child will receive. The IEP is developed by a team that includes the child's parents and school staff. The IEP is an extremely important document in the educational lives of students with disabilities receiving special education under IDEA. The resources we've listed below will help you learn more about IEPs---what the law requires, what information a typical IEP contains, how IEPs are developed, and so on.
The list isn't exhaustive of the resources available on IEPs. It's a beginning list, to get you started in your search for information. It's extremely important to note as well that IDEA was reauthorized in 2004, and small changes were made to what the law requires in terms of the IEP process. Final regulations for the statute were published in August 2006. NICHCY, like other disability-related organizations, is working very hard to update all its materials relating to the law and its implementing regulations. But this will take some time, so in the interim we alert you to the fact that existing materials may be caught in the mid-ground between two versions of IDEA, the one passed in 1997 and the one just passed in 2004. For the full story and to connect with all manner of info on the new law, please visit NICHCY's IDEA pages, beginning at: www.nichcy.org/idea.htm
IDEA and the IEP
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is the federal law that underpins most special education services in the country. A thorough description of the IDEA's wide-ranging requirements can be found by visiting NICHCY's Connections...to U.S. Education Laws. The following is a list of resources regarding IEPs and IDEA.
- IDEA has changed!
In 2004, the IDEA was reauthorized by Congress, and several changes were made to what's required by law and regulation with respect to the IEP. These changes aren't sweeping, but they do mean that the information and links presented below must be viewed through the screen of how the law has changed. The full story with respect to the IEP can be found in NICHCY's reauthorization pages, most notably at this link:
- Questions, questions? Answers, answers.
A good place to start unravelling the mysteries of the IEP is Wrightslaw.com. The link above will drop you right into the soup, where you'll find articles, law and regulations, tactics and strategies, tips, books, and free publications about IEPs.
- Here's a roadmap to IDEA 2004 and the IEP.
Wrightslaw offers us all a "Roadmap to IDEA 2004: What You Need to Know About IEPs & IEP Meetings" at the link above.
- Who's on the team that develops the IEP?
Also from Wrightslaw, here's "IDEA 2004: IEP Team Members & IEP Team Attendance."
- Want a brief description of the IEP process under IDEA?
Try NICHCY's Questions Often Asked by Parents about Special Education Services. (Keep in mind the small changes made by IDEA 2004 in the IEP...) For the same information in Spanish, read Preguntas Comunes de los Padres sobre los Servicios de Educacion Especial, at: www.nichcy.org/pubs/spanish/lg1stxt.htm. You can also read The Arc's brief question and answer on the subject, at: http://thearc.org/faqs/qa-idea.html
- How 'bout a more detailed description?
Read Questions and Answers about IDEA, which will tell you what the IEP must contain, who must be on the IEP team, and much more. (This document is still largely accurate about IDEA, but keep in mind the small changes IDEA 2004 has made to the IEP process, as noted in the first bullet in this section.) For the same information in Spanish, read Preguntas y Respuestas sobre IDEA, at: www.nichcy.org/pubs/spanish/nd21stxt.htm
- Official IEP guidance from the Feds.
The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), at the U.S. Department of Education, issued A Guide to the Individualized Education Program in 2000 as a resource for parents and teachers. (Again, keep in mind those small changes IDEA 2004 has made to the IEP process.)
- Beyond legalities: Writing a document that works.
IEP4U.COM has over 4000 free goals and objectives (IEP-ITP), each with changeable benchmarks. The statements are spread out over seven subjects (domains) and four functional levels. This information is free of charge and is designed to help you with the daunting task of writing proper IEP's Teachers, parents and students...just input key words, phrases, or test names in the search engine to find just the correct objectives for your students needs. Copy and paste any information you want, then modify the objectives (examples) to exactly describe the needs of your students. The kid section will give your students personal input to write their own objectives (with your help) and to play some interesting games as well.
Especially for Parents
- How 'bout a roadmap?
We mentioned this above, but maybe you skipped down here first and missed it...Wrightslaw offers a "Roadmap to IDEA 2004: What You Need to Know About IEPs & IEP Meetings" at the link above.
- Want to be a full participant in developing your child's IEP?
Take a look at NICHCY's Developing Your Child's IEP and learn how to effectively work with schools to meet the needs of your child. (Keep in mind the small changes made by IDEA 2004 in the IEP...)For the same information in Spanish, read Desarrollando el IEP de su Hijo, at:
- And your child can be involved, too!
NICHCY offers a Student's Guide to the IEP, a booklet designed to help students become active participants in their own IEP development. (Keep in mind the small changes made by IDEA 2004 in the IEP...) This is especially important when the IEP team focuses on transition planning. The guide comes with an audiotape or CD of students with disabilities talking about how they've been involved. There's also a guide for parents and school personnel called Helping Students Develop Their IEPs, available online at: www.nichcy.org/pubs/stuguide/ta2book.htm
- What to do before the meeting.
Nolo: Law for All offers Preparing for the IEP Meeting: What you need to know before you meet with the representatives of your school district. From the home page linked above, search using the term "IEP"---be sure to change the drop-down menu option from "Search for Products" to "Search the Entire Site." This brief will be among the results. (You'll find other resources you'll probably like, too!)
- Want to know more about what to do before, during, and after the IEP meeting?
Try Planning Your Child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP): Some Suggestions to Consider to view suggestions for the IEP meeting. This publication from FAPE (Families and Advocates Partnership for Education) is also available in Spanish at the link provided above.
- What do you say when THEY say...?
The IEP Pop-Up gives you responses to common "hurdle talk" (words and attitudes that keep an IEP meeting from being successful) you might hear in the meeting.
- Transition planning resources, for parents.
Visit this one part of our Transition Suite (and Transition101, for starters) and find connections to all sorts of transition materials for parents.
Especially for Professionals
In addition to parents, many school professionals will be involved on the IEP team developing a student's IEP. This includes administrators, educators, special educators, and, often, related services personnel.
- What's different in IDEA 2004 re: the IEP team?
Visit the IEP section of our IDEA 2004 list and hook up with the feds' detailing of what's new and different in IDEA 2004 re: the IEP, IEP teams, and IEP meetings.
- What's the role of the regular education teacher on the IEP team?
The Office of Special Education Programs, at the U.S. Department of Education, answers this critical question by looking at what the IDEA has to say on the subject. It may have been written for IDEA 97, not IDEA 2004, but the line of reasoning still applies.
- The rumor is...
..that teachers can be excluded from the IEP meeting. True? (Sorta...well, no, not really..."excused" might be a better word...) Find out at Wrightslaw, who offers "IDEA 2004: IEP Team Members & IEP Team Attendance."
- Online training in writing an IEP.
This online training is available via California Services for Technical Assistance and Training (CalSTAT) and is specific to benchmarks related to CA content standards. But it's also conveniently based on IDEA 2004 and deals with writing measurable goals and objectives, a skill quite central to writing effective IEPs.
- How to get students involved in the IEP process.
Helping Students Develop Their IEPs, available at the link above, is a guide for school personnel and parents to help support student involvement in IEP development. The guide comes as a set and includes A Student's Guide to the IEP and an audiotape or CD program featuring students with disabilities talking about this very subject.
- Transition planning resources, for professionals.
Visit this one part of our Transition Suite (and Transition101, for starters) and find connections to all sorts of transition materials for professionals
Reprinted with the permission of the National Dissemination Center.
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