1. The purpose of an IEP
The IEP has two general purposes: to set reasonable learning goals for a child, and to state the services that the school district will provide for the child. The IEP is developed jointly by the school system, the parents of the child, and the student (when appropriate).
2. The Team
IDEA (at §300.321) describes the IEP team as including the following members:
3. IEP Development
An IEP meeting must be held within 30 calendar days after it is determined, through a full and individual evaluation, that a child has one of the disabilities listed in IDEA and needs special education and related services. A child’s IEP must also be reviewed at least annually thereafter to determine whether the annual goals are being achieved and must be revised as appropriate.
4. IEP Contents
When the members of a child’s IEP team sit down together and consider how the child will be involved in and participate in school life, they must be sure that the resulting IEP contains the specific information required by IDEA, our nation’s special education law. Here’s a brief list of what IDEA requires:
A statement of the child’s present levels of academic achievement and functional performance, including how the child’s disability affects his or her involvement and progress in the general education curriculum;
A statement of measurable annual goals, including academic and functional goals;
A description of how the child’s progress toward meeting the annual goals will be measured, and when periodic progress reports will be provided;
A statement of the special education and related services and supplementary aids and services to be provided to the child, or on behalf of the child;
A statement of the program modifications or supports for school personnel that will be provided to enable the child to advance appropriately toward attaining the annual goals; to be involved in and make progress in the general education curriculum and to participate in extracurricular and other nonacademic activities; and to be educated and participate with other children with disabilities and nondisabled children;
An explanation of the extent, if any, to which the child will not participate with nondisabled children in the regular class and in extracurricular and nonacademic activities;
A statement of any individual accommodations that are necessary to measure the academic achievement and functional performance of the child on State and districtwide assessments;
(Note: If the IEP team determines that the child must take an alternate assessment instead of a particular regular State or districtwide assessment of student achievement, the IEP must include a statement of why the child cannot participate in the regular assessment and why the particular alternate assessment selected is appropriate for the child; and
The projected date for the beginning of the services and modifications, and the anticipated frequency, location, and duration of those services and modifications.
5. Sample IEP
Here is a sample IEP for a person who has epilepsy: