CPTA: What is an Individual Education Program (IEP)?


Please find the original California State PTA content here

IDEA requires children to have an Individualized Education Program (IEP) in order to receive special education services under the law. The IEP includes information about a child’s present levels of performance on various tests and measures and includes information about goals and objectives, specifically how your child’s educational problems will be addressed. The purpose of the IEP is to set reasonable learning goals for your child and to state the services that the school district will provide.

Parents may want to prepare a binder of materials for their child’s IEP meeting. Depending on how much material you have, parents should organize the material into sections or tabs for ease of use. The binder or folder should contain:

  • All assessments and/or evaluations on your child
  • Copies of all previous IEP meetings
  • Work samples from your child
  • Any letters from the teacher and/or school board
  • Report cards and test results from previous terms and years
  • Any negative or positive feedback in writing from a teacher
  • If your child is reading and/or writing, samples of the level of reading and examples of writing
  • Medical reports.

The IEP must be developed with input from the following IEP team members:

  • At least one of the child’s parents
  • At least one regular education teacher
  • At least one of the child’s special education teachers or providers
  • A representative of the school district who is qualified, knowledgeable and authorized to commit the district to the delivery of resources to the child
  • A qualified professional who can interpret the evaluation of child
  • Others at the discretion of the parent or the school district and, where appropriate, the child with a disability.

There are several provisions within IDEA safeguarding parental involvement in education. Parents have the right to be actively involved in the development of their child’s IEP. Parents have the right to be notified of the IEP meeting early enough to ensure that one or both of the child’s parents have an opportunity to attend. Parents also have the right to have the IEP meeting scheduled at a mutually agreed time and the right to an interpreter if their native language is not English. IDEA also includes language that allows parents and the Local Education Agency (LEA) to agree to use alternative means of meeting participation such as video conferences or conference calls.

What questions should parents ask about special education instruction and assessment?

  • What kinds of assessments are offered in my state?
  • What kinds of responses does each assessment require (e.g., multiple choice, short answers)?
  • What kind of instruction has my child had?
  • Has my child received instruction in grade-level academic content?
  • Was the instruction evidence-based and of high quality?

What are the procedural safeguards for parents?

The Notice of Procedural Safeguards is required under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and must be provided to you:

  • When you ask for a copy of an IEP
  • The first time your child is referred for a special education assessment
  • Each time you are given an assessment plan to evaluate your child
  • Upon receipt of the first state or due process complaint in a school year
  • When the decision is made to make a removal that constitutes a change of placement.

How do I establish a special needs committee for my PTA unit?

Discuss the idea with your local PTA president, executive board and school principal. If the PTA board decides to form a special needs committee, the president should select a committee chairman who is knowledgeable about and sensitive to children with special needs, works in a constructive way with school staff and parents, and is a PTA member.

Can my child participate in physical education classes?

Adaptive physical education (APE) is a federally mandated component of special education services [U.S.C.A. 1402 (25)] and ensures that physical education is provided to the student with a disability as part of the child’s special education services. This modified, physical education program is designed to meet the individualized gross motor needs, or other disability-related challenges, of an identified student. The program can be provided one-on-one, in a small group, or within the general physical education setting. The APE instructor needs to be trained in assessing and working with special needs children. Lesson plans, rubrics, and worksheets need to be adapted for the needs of the children. The APE teacher is a direct service provider, as contrasted with physical or occupational therapists. These therapies are considered related services and are provided to the child with disabilities only if he/she needs them to benefit from instruction.

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