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Individualized Education Program (IEP)

A student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) is the vehicle through which their special education services are provided. This document is drafted as a result of the child study team (CST) meeting.

Child Study Team Members:

  • Teachers;
  • School psychologists;
  • Paraprofessionals such as speech or occupational therapists;
  • Outside professionals having evaluated the child and  most importantly;
  • The students’ parents.

What your student’s IEP should include:

  • Types of Programs your student is to participate in during the school day;
  • Related Services your student is entitled to receive;
  • A list of goals and objectives the student should be working on while at school;
  • Cumulative data taken by school district professionals and outside professionals;
  • Parents’ concerns;
  • Whether or not your student is entitled to Extended School Year (or summer) program enrollment.

An “Appropriate” IEP includes:

  • The IEP should tell us where a child is currently functioning, what the annual goals are for that child and what programming is going to be provided to propel that child from the starting point to being able to meet those annual goals.
  • To be appropriate, this IEP must permit the student to progress. Progress is the key word here. Courts have held that progress is the litmus test for appropriateness and if a student regresses or stagnates the program is not appropriate.
  • In order to help confirm that progress is being made, students have a right to have measurable annual goals in their IEP – goals that you can assess periodically throughout the year to see whether the student is moving towards the ultimate goal or not.
  • But reporting on IEP goals does not always help us determine if progress is made because goals are oftentimes not measurable – or they are vague – or they do not cover all areas of need.

To Assess Progress:

  • Parents can rely on objective measures of progress – for example, for a student with a learning disability we compare standardized test scores over time to see if progress has been made.

What parents find difficult to grapple with is that the IEP need not provide for every desire the parents have for their student. The IEP must however be geared and reasonably calculated to allow the student to receive meaningful educational benefits in light of the student’s intellectual potential.  The attorneys at Barger & Gaines believe that if a student has the intellectual ability to achieve at a high levels, they must be provided the opportunity to achieve at that level.