Parents often have questions when their child is eligible for special education and an IEP is written.
Some frequently asked questions include:

What is an IEP?

The IEP, or Individual Education Plan, is the document that guides the interventions your child will receive in order to achieve success and close the learning gaps.

Why is an IEP necessary?

The special education and related services in the IEP are a commitment from the school system to you and your child. As such, the school system should insure your child receives the services listed in the IEP.

Do I need to be involved in the IEP process?

It is important for you to understand each component of the IEP and any related rights associated with these components as the parent of a child with a disability so that you have fair standing and meaningful input in planning your child’s educational program.

How long does an IEP last?

The IEP is usually written for a calendar year (a year’s progress.)

What happens at the end of my child’s IEP?

An annual review is scheduled by the school prior to the end date of the IEP.

What is included in an IEP?

The IEP should contain a description of your child’s:

The IEP includes several important sections. that culmonate in the services that will be provided to your child. Below are some key points to remember for present levels of academic and functional performance and goals and objectives.

Present levels of academic achievement and functional performance, including strengths and weaknesses of academic, social and communication skills

1. The present level of academic achievement and functional performance sets the stage for all goals and services in the IEP. It’s extremely important to have a thorough, accurate and data based present level of academic achievement and functional performance that describes your child’s strengths as well as weaknesses.

2. The present level of academic achievement and functional performance must contain specific and recent ( within 2 years for psychological information and within one year or less) academic data, including end of year testing, standardized testing, teacher reports, behavioral observations, progress reports, etc. When information that indicates CURRENT performance is old, it is not current enough on which to base goals and services.

3. Your input as a parent that summarizes your parental concerns regarding your child’s special educational needs and services is both required and a critically important part of the present level of academic achievement and functional performance. Yours should be included.

Goals and objectives to be achieved through the special education services in the IEP

1. Goals for each special education service should be very clearly stated so that progress can be accurately measured and there is no misunderstanding what we are expecting your child to achieve after one year of special education services

2. The goals and objectives in the IEP are the PROJECTED areas of achievement for your child.  The IEP should provide reasonable progress but do not INSURE or GUARANTEE a certain level of progress.


The IEP is to be written annually. But you as a parent can ask for the IEP to be amended at any time during the year. The IEP should be in your hands and in the hands of your child’s teachers and support staff so that they are aware of the content, the accommodations, the goals and the services to be provided. The IEP is a living document. Refer to it often and insure teachers and support staff are following its contents. The IEP is your and the system’s accountability document.

Do you have additional questions or need support?
We CAN help!
Contact Responsive Instruction today to get started.

To see Responsive Instruction’s list of IEP services, click here.

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