Individual Education Program (IEP 504)
Question: Our son’s teacher said that he really needs an IEP before he can receive extra help for his learning disabilities. What is an IEP? –Mrs. A. E., Parent, Armonk, NY
Answer: An IEP stands for an Individualiz Education Program, sometimes called an IEP 504 Plan. Children who are classified with learning disabilities are entitled to individually designed programs, with specific instruction to address their particular disabilities. The plan is created and approved by a body called the “Committee on Special Education”.
No IEP would be appropriate for all children. Each IEP focuses on the specific needs of that child. That’s why it’s called “Individual.” For example, if the Committee on Special Education determines that Joey needs additional help when taking tests due to a reading disorder, he is entitled to specific services and programs. These are then included in Joey’s IEP
Here’s another example. If the Committee on Special Education determines that Suzy has a hearing disorder, and needs additional services or considerations, this is written in her IEP. This way she can receive specific support to help her compensate for her disability.
Parents, who are included in the process of preparing the IEP, are happy to know that they do not pay for the special help their children will receive. We encourage parents to get involved and help parents do that every day. Keep that in mind if you’re headed down the path. We’d love to help you get your bearings.
Question: Who decides what is included in the Individual Education Program?
Answer: The IEP is created by the school district’s Committee on Special Education. It is made up of people who represent various interests. This includes:
- one or both of the child’s parents
- at least one of the child’s general education teachers
- at least one special education teacher (one of whom works with the child, if appropriate)
- a representative of the school who is qualified to oversee the child’s instruction to be sure that it follows the plan
- an individual who can interpret the instructional implications
- the school psychologist (CSE only)
- another parent who has a learning disabled child in this or a neighboring district.
- the student, when it is deemed appropriate
- other individuals or professionals who may be invited by other committee members or the parents (we often serve in this capacity)
During the meeting, committee members are given the opportunity to explain their relation to the child, their assessment of the child, and their suggestions on how to best meet the child’s educational needs. After the members provide their input, and they decide that the child qualifies for special education services, then they write up the child’s IEP.
We do offer an IEP course for parents where you learn the following:
- What is an I.E.P.
- What are your rights as a parent?
- What is your role in the classification process?
- How to read the I.E.P.
- What to ask for at the annual review.
- What services you can expect to receive.
- How to read your child’s individual evaluations to determine your child’s specific needs and rights.
Please call us if you’re interested in an initial consultation. (845) 628-7910 .
Please continue to our IEP archive for more about Individualized Education Programs and IEP 504 Plans