The Individualized Education Program (IEP)
The IEP is a document developed by a team of professionals in conjunction with your family. It is mandated by Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, better known as IDEA.
What you have to say as the child's parent is of utmost importance when meeting with a group of professionals to plan for your child's education. Visit Parental Tips for the IEP Meeting to prepare for this annual event.
IEP as a Roadmap
For parents new to the IEP process, the development and implementation of the IEP can seem overwhelming. Thinking of the IEP as a roadmap of your child's educational journey makes the IEP process easier to understand.
First of all the IEP summarizes where your child has been. This is known as a statement of the child's current level of development or simply what your child can currently do.
The IEP describes where your child will go in the next year. This is detailed in the goals section of the IEP. You can influence these goals by understanding your child's level of development and being able to articulate what you want your child to accomplish in the coming year. Explore Developing Goals for more information on how to develop your child's IEP goals.
The IEP also details the setting and program that your child will attend. Think of this as describing where your child's journey is going to take place. Settings might include a special education classroom or a community preschool classroom.
Additional resources about the IEP process include:
- Center for Parent Information and Resources website
- Wrightslaw website
- IEP forms from the ISBE in either English or Spanish
- "Educational Rights and Responsibilities: Understanding Special Education in Illinois - Chapter 6" provided by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE)