IDEA Basics: IEP Individualized Education Program

[MUSIC PLAYING] We’re going to talk
now about an IEP. An IEP is an individualized
education program. That is the plan that’s defined
under the federal law, the IDEA, as what a child is
entitled to once they’re found eligible for special education
and related services. Let’s break that down
by the letters. Individualized. Education. Program. OK. So individualized means
that the document– and the IEP is actually
a document. It works much like a contract
between the parents and the school district. And it’s mandated under
the federal law. And it has all sorts of things
that it has to have in it that are very detailed, and we don’t
have to get into all of that right now. But the document itself is
supposed to describe the program that the child
is receiving. And the I in individualized
is so important. Because the IEP document is
supposed to meet the unique needs of the child for
whom it’s written. And that is something that
sounds so basic, and yet it’s where I’m in disputes with
school districts. Because each child
is different. And what I find sadly occurs in
a lot of school districts is they offer you the program
they have instead of the program the child needs. And even within the same
diagnosis, no two child’s needs are identical. And school districts sadly,
because it’s easier, is they’ll say, well, this is our
program for kids who have specific learning
disabilities. Well, maybe this child who has a
specific learning disability would not be appropriate for
that particular program. And unfortunately, the IEP
reflects pretty much what every other child who’s in that
program’s IEP looks like, so it’s not really as
individualized as it should be to meet the unique needs
of that child. And in order for the program
to be appropriate– and we discussed the term free,
appropriate, public education, which is FAPE– the child’s program must be
individualized so it’s appropriate for them. Not the student next to them. Not the student sitting
behind them. Individualized for their, as
you said, unique needs. And there are some tips that
I’ll give for parents to start to recognize whether or not
their child’s IEP is actually individualized. If as you’re planning it at
that IEP meeting, you’re hearing the staff say things
like, well, this school is being put here because we
always have math in the morning, and so it’s important
that we do, and it starts to sound like any kid in this
class, you could pick them up and cookie cutter this exact
document for that child, then it’s really not tailored
to the unique needs of that child. So, education. Education. So education is more than
just academics. It includes functional
and adaptive skill. So the IEP individualized
education plan. It is supposed to focus on
the child’s education. Sometimes, that means that there
are services that are necessary for a child to receive
benefit from their education that may even take
place in a different environment than school. This is, again, where we
have a lot of disputes. So if a child requires home
services for five hours a week in order for them to benefit
from that IEP, well, those services should be listed
in the IEP. And even though it may be
focusing on daily living skills, that by definition of
the IDEA is still education. So parents are often faced with
arguments with school districts, where the parent is
saying, well, he really needs this, and they say, oh, well,
that’s not a school issue. Well, if it’s an educational
issue, it doesn’t matter if it’s happening in the schoolhouse, it’s still education. And if you consider the fact
that education is not just academics, it’s behavioral,
it’s communication, it’s social, it’s emotional
well-being, it’s perhaps physical therapy, occupational
therapy, speech and language services, you can have IEP
goals, individualized education program goals, that
address all those very specific needs, not just
academic goals. Right. And program is pretty much
what it sounds like. You’re developing a plan
for the child, but really, it’s a document. But what the document is
supposed to represent is what this child’s education
looks like. And so depending on the child,
it could look very much like a child’s program who doesn’t have
an IEP, but maybe they just have one hour a week
that they’re pulled out for some support. And for another child, their
entire day could be special education and related
services. Again, it depends on the unique
needs of that child. And that’s an IEP. [MUSIC PLAYING]

4 thoughts on “IDEA Basics: IEP Individualized Education Program

  • Special Ed teachers spend more time collecting data, assessing students and writing IEPs and attending daily morning meetings that takes away more time from lesson planning and implementing curriculum and instruction in their classroom. Where does that leave any time to cater to the child's individual "unique" needs? Besides, Common Core needs to go away.

  • They Destroyed mines and have been homeless since the end of High School and fired from every job I had over 20 for behavior problems, I 29 years with PTSD, Depression, ADD, and Bipolar and no one on state level is helping me get help

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