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What is An IEP? IEP Meaning & Other Burning Questions Answered:

So, you’ve heard of an IEP, or maybe one’s been suggested for your child, but what does it actually entail? Frankly, IEPs are made up of a lot of moving parts, so it can be hard to figure out the first time you find yourself considering one. To ease any confusion, we’ve put together this guide on IEPs that covers the benefits, the application process, and how we can help.

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What is an IEP?

When a child is struggling in school, we often hear the term IEP thrown around, but what is an IEP anyway? An IEP stands for an Individualized Education Program, eligible for public school students in PreK-12. The federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires that public schools create an IEP for all students in need of special education services. In order to qualify for an IEP, your child must meet the criteria for one or more of the 13 disability classifications stated by the New York State Education Department’s Regulations of the Commissioner of Education. Qualifying disabilities range from Autism, ADHD, Blindness, Deafness, traumatic brain injury, health impairments, etc.  

The short answer to “what is an IEP?:” it’s a strategic planning document that identifies a student’s unique needs and the next steps to address them. Your child’s IEP will also indicate the appropriate special education supports and services for your child to access.  

What Does an IEP Look Like? 

An Individualized Education Program will outline the following: 

  • A Description of Academic Performance: evaluation results, academic achievement, social-emotional development, physical development, and management needs. 
  • Measurable Annual Goals: The program includes explicit IEP goals that can be accomplished in a school year.  
  • Progress Reports: The frequent reports provide updates on your child’s progress throughout the school year. 
  • Annual Review: Once a year an IEP meeting for your child will be held. It is important for the student, parent/guardian, general education teacher, and special education teacher to be present. Other IEP team members may include a speech and language pathologist, physical therapist, an interpreter, a psychologist, etc.  
  • Reevaluation: A reevaluation of the IEP must be completed once every three years. It is imperative that the students and IEP team are present.

The Benefits of an IEP 

Now that we’ve answered the must-asked question “what is an IEP?” let’s talk about all the perks. There are many benefits to acquiring an IEP for your child. While the process can be lengthy, it is essential that your child gets the support, programs, and services that they need. An IEP provides students and families with great involvement in their child’s education as the student is encouraged to present and share their thoughts. Therefore, an IEP can have tremendous benefits to promoting success in all developmental aspects.  

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How Can Your Child Get an IEP?

The most popular question about IEPs (aside from “what is a an IEP?”) is how do I get my child an IEP? Typically, the referral process goes as follows: 

  1. The child is identified as possibly needing special education and related services by a teacher, parent, or guardian 
  1. The child is evaluated upon parent approval 
  1. Eligibility is determined according to the evaluation results 
  1. The child is deemed eligible for services 
  1. An IEP meeting is scheduled with all parts of the IEP team present 
  1. The IEP meeting is held and the IEP is created 
  1. Services such as accommodations, modifications, and supports are provided for the child 
  1. Progress is measured 
  1. The IEP undergoes an annual review 
  1. The child is reevaluated once every three years

Additional Services 

Children may require any of the following services: 

  • Audiology services 
  • Counseling services 
  • Medical services 
  • Occupational therapy 
  • Parent counseling and training 
  • Physical therapy 
  • School health services 
  • Social work services in schools 
  • Speech-language pathology services
  • Transportation  

Overall, Individualized Education Programs are imperative for struggling students with qualifying disabilities. We Tip-Top Brain tutors, understand the uniqueness of each student’s IEP. Every student is different with much to offer; therefore, our curriculum is individualized and specially curated. By catering to our students, their IEPs, and their needs we continue to offer support in multidisciplinary ways. Additional support at Tip-Top Brain will help your child flourish throughout their educational journey! 

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