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IEP: What is it and how to obtain one

IEP on book

What is an Individualized Education Plan?

An IEP (Individualized Education Plan) is a document that outlines specific educational needs and services for your child and guarantees that the necessary support, services, and accommodations are put in place to help your child. At a minimum, the IEP must include the present levels of your child’s educational performance, the goals of the IEP, and the special education services and accommodations provided to your child.

How do I get an IEP in place for my child?

If you are the parent of a special needs child or your child is experiencing difficulty learning in the classroom, you’ve probably spent hours thinking about how you can best help your child through school. One of the most important tools that can be utilized in this scenario is an Individualized Educational Plan or IEP. It’s likely you’ve heard this term, but you may not know where to begin or the benefits provided by an IEP.

What is the process for obtaining an IEP?

The process for obtaining and developing an IEP can be quite complex and time consuming. The process starts with the parent or teacher requesting a formal evaluation of your child. You must consent to any formal evaluations. Once the evaluation is requested, the school had 60 days to complete its initial evaluation. This evaluation will assess all known areas of difficulty for your child.

The results of this evaluation, along with data collected by the teacher, will determine if your child is eligible for the Exceptional Student Education (ESE) program. If, after reviewing the evaluation results, you disagree with the school’s determination, you have the right to take your child for an Independent Education Evaluation or IEE, which possibly can be obtained at the district’s expense. Once your child is found to be eligible for ESE services, the IEP team, including legally required school personnel, the parents, and anyone (non-school individuals) the parents choose to invite to create the plan.

The school must schedule the meeting on a date and at a time that allows the child’s parents to attend the meeting. Your child’s needs, evaluation results, and goals will be discussed.

The team will create the IEP which will outline present levels of performance, services, and accommodations your child will receive. As the parent, you have the right to disagree if you do not feel the outlined plan provides what is necessary to address your child’s needs. It is critical that you advocate for your child to ensure they receive the help, accommodations, and services they need to succeed. If you and the school cannot agree on an IEP plan that benefits your child and addresses their needs, it may be time to contact a Special Education Attorney.

How can a special education attorney help me in this process?

The process for obtaining an IEP is complex and requires your vigilance, time, and advocacy. Many parents find themselves overwhelmed during this process and are unsure of the rights they may have. Our team of attorneys at Lacey Lyons Rezanka are able to use our experience and knowledge to help you in this process.

Our team will help you ensure that your parent rights and your child’s needs are protected. If you need help obtaining a proper IEP for you child, contact our firm today at (321) 608-0890.