Developing the Individual Education Program (IEP)

The Individual Education Program is developed by a team (sometimes referred to as the Committee on Special Education) that must include at least one parent and the professionals who work with the student. Teachers and a representative from the school administration are generally required to attend these meetings. Parents may additionally include anyone they choose, for any reason they choose.

Parents must be notified of the meeting in writing. The notification must indicate the purpose, time and location of the meeting and list the people who will be in attendance, including the name and position of each person. If parents are unable to attend at the appointed time, the meeting should be rescheduled to accommodate the needs of the family.[14]

The Individual Education Program
The IEP must include:

    * A statement of the child's present levels of educational performance, which describes the effects of the child's disability on all affected areas of the child's academic and non-academic school performance.
    * A statement of annual goals including short-term objectives. Annual goals must describe what the child is expected to accomplish in a 12-month period in the special education program. Short-term objectives should describe the steps required to achieve the goals. Goals and objectives are specific in all areas in which the child is receiving special education services.
    * A statement of the specific special education and related services to be provided to the child and the extent to which the child will participate in regular education programs.
    * The projected dates for the initiation of services.

Determining the appropriate placement

After the IEP meeting the parents must be given written notice of exactly where and how the services will be provided for their child. Most often, the suggested program will be located within the public school system in the district. When a student's disability is such that his or her needs cannot be met in the district, the school district may suggest a placement in an out-of-district program. These programs can include a Day Treatment Program, a Non-public Special Education School, a Residential School or Home Instruction. In all cases, parents should visit the sites that are recommended to observe the program to determine if the program is appropriate for their child.

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