Navigating Through the IEP Process

Once you’ve learned what the basics of an IEP are, you might be wondering where and how to begin your child’s special education program. The beginning of this long and sometimes arduous journey can be difficult for many parents, especially new parents who are still trying to figure out exactly how they can provide the best lift for their child or children.

To this end, we have compiled a short step-by-step process to help parents who might not know how to get started in giving their child the best education possible.

Starting the Process

The first step would be getting your child an IEP. For that to happen, your child must be eligible for special education services.

There are two main routes that parents tend to take to find out. You can ask the school that your child attends if they can do it for free, or you could pay for a private evaluation of your child outside of school. 

Much of the time, the school will be the one to initiate the evaluation process, advising you to perhaps evaluate your child through them. However, they cannot do so without your consent, so if they do think your child might need evaluation, then perhaps it could be worth it.

You might have some questions about the process that you want to be answered before giving such consent, in which case you want to look at this guide to evaluations.

Determining IEP Eligibility

Once your child has been evaluated, and the results have been read over, the school will decide if your child is eligible for an IEP. There are two questions you’ll have to answer before you can get an answer, however.

Firstly, you’ll have to know if your child has any of the thirteen conditions covered by the special education law IDEA. Secondly, you’ll also need to mention if your child has any special accommodations or services to succeed in school.

The IEP team will decide if your child is eligible or not at an eligibility meeting. You, as the parent, will also be a part of this meeting, alongside a school professional such as an occupational or speech-language therapist. If it is determined that your child is eligible, you will begin putting the IEP together. 

What If My Child Is Not Eligible?

If they are not eligible, you can look into what you can expect at these meetings for the future, look into your state’s requirements through a parent training center, and learn what some of the more critical IEP terms are.

Another route you can take is to request a 504 plan for your child, which can provide your child with additional support and accommodations. You could also look into the IEE.

Concluding Thoughts

The IEP process can be nerve-wracking if you don’t know where or how to begin, and those nerves can often last throughout the whole initiating process. However, if you keep your head on straight and take the appropriate steps in preparation, you and your child will be thankful for the accommodations made for their education.

Choose your Reaction!