Individualized Education Program (IEP) : Everything You Need to Know

This is an education plan that is designed to suit the specific needs of students with disabilities. In the UK and Canada, the IEP is known as the Individual Education Plan. This plan specifies the instruction, goals, and milestones as well as the methods and techniques for special education students.

Students with ADHD, learning disabilities, cognitive challenges, emotional disorders, autism, visual impairment, developmental delay, hearing impairment, language or speech impairment, and physical disabilities may qualify for the IEP. However, the mere presence of a disability doesn’t automatically guarantee a student will get support services.

To be eligible, the disability must have an effect on functioning at school. Usually, a multidisciplinary team of professionals assess the student based on their own observations; how the child performs in standardized tests; and everyday work such as quizzes, tests, classwork, and homework, to decide eligibility. Depending on the student’s specific requirements, the multidisciplinary team can include a physical therapist, psychologist, speech therapist, occupational therapist, hearing or vision specialist, special educator, and others.

After the team members finish their individual assessments, they’ll create a CER (comprehensive evaluation report) that compiles their findings, provides an educational classification, and charts the skills and support the student will need. Next, the parents will get a chance to review the CER before the IEP is developed. Parents who disagree with the report will have the chance to work together with the school to develop a plan that best addresses the student’s needs.

Typically, an IEP includes:

·         The participation and progress of the student with a disability in the general curriculum.

·         All related services for which the student is eligible.

·         Suitable educational accommodations essential for the student’s success.

·         The student’s current academic performance levels.

·         Assessable yearly goals and objectives for the student’s education.

The objectives and services summarized in an IEP can be provided in a regular school setting. They can be carried out in the regular classroom or a special resource room. A group of students with similar requirements can be brought together for help in the resource room. However, for teaching students requiring intense intervention, a special school environment may be better than the standard school setting. The classes in such special schools have fewer students per teacher, which facilitates more individualized attention. 

Additionally, the teacher usually has specialized training in helping students with special educational needs. In such settings, the students spend most of their day in a special classroom and join their peers in regular classes for non-academic activities (like gym and music) or academic activities in which they don’t require additional help.

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