Parental Rights

Individualized Education Program (IEP) Development

The Individualized Education Program is a written educational plan developed at an IEP meeting for a student with a disability who will receive special education services. The IEP documents the child's present level of educational performance, sets annual goals and objectives that are written in measurable terms, and describes the special education and related services needed to meet those goals and objectives. 

  • If parents and the school district agree that the child is eligible for services, the IEP team will develop an Individualized Education Program (IEP) at a meeting.
  • Families have the right to attend and participate in a meeting to design an IEP, which must be held within 30 days of a child being found eligible for special education services. Some states may have a different name for the IEP team meeting.
  • The IEP lists any special services the child needs, including goals the child is expected to achieve in one year (and objectives or benchmarks to note progress).
  • The team determines what services are in the IEP, as well as the location of those services and any accommodations.
  • IEP and placement decisions may take place at one meeting. Placement may be made at a separate meeting (usually called a placement meeting).
  • Placement for the child must be in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) appropriate to the child’s needs. He or she will be placed in the regular classroom to receive services unless the IEP team determines that, even with special additional aids and services, the child cannot be successful in the regular classroom.
  • If the team agrees with the IEP and placement, the child will receive the services that are written into the IEP.
  • Parents need to consent to any services to be provided to the child with a disability.
  • Parents will receive reports on the child’s progress at least as often as parents are given reports on children who do not have disabilities.
  • The IEP team meets at least once per year to discuss progress and write any new goals or services into the IEP. Parents can agree or disagree with the proposed changes. Parents can disagree in writing.
  • Families have the right to participate in the development of the IEP, along with a team that will include the child's teachers (regular education and special education), and a representative from the school administration who can recommend and supervise special programs and services.
  • There may be representatives from other agencies that may be involved in a child's transition services (if child is age 16 or older).
  • Families can also request an advocate to help better understand rights and responsibilities, and request that this person be present.
  • During an IEP meeting, the IEP team may also develop goals for any related services, such as speech language or occupational therapy. The team will specify how often and for how long these services will be provided, as well as in what setting the services will be provided.
  • An IEP team may also identify behavioral strategies to support a child's learning at school. The team may conduct a Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA) in order to develop a Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP).
  • Assistive technology should be discussed at the IEP meeting. This includes speech recognition software, electronic organizers, or books on tape. Assistive technology services include evaluating a child for specific devices, providing the device, and training a child to use the device.
  • A comprehensive re-evaluation must be done every three years, unless the IEP team agrees that it is not necessary.  A reevaluation is conducted to see if a child continues to be eligible for special education services and to decide what services are needed.
  • If a school feels that a child should be evaluated, then the parent has to give consent to the evaluation.
  • Parents may request a reevaluation if they feel new information would benefit a child's education.
  • A child will continue to receive special education services if the team agrees that the services are needed.
  • A parent has the right to obtain an Independent Education Evaluation (IEE) from a qualified professional (not affiliated with school), in order to challenge findings of a school evaluation team.
  • Parents may request an IEP meeting at any time.