An Individualized Education Program (IEP) is an individualized document designed for the specific needs of one student. The program creates an opportunity for teachers, parents, school administrators, and the student (when appropriate) to work together to improve the quality and success of his or her education.
Many children struggle in school, but all of them do not automatically receive an IEP. Kids who qualify for special education services have a challenge that has an adverse effect on the student’s ability to access the general curriculum and as a result, requires specialized services to succeed in school. According to Understood, these challenges may result from one or more of the following:
- Emotional disturbance
- Hearing impairment
- Intellectual disability
- Multiple disabilities
- Orthopedic impairment
- Other health impairment, such as ADHD
- Specific learning disability, including dyslexia and other learning issues
- Speech or language impairment
- Traumatic brain injury
- Visual impairment, including blindness
Parents are an essential component to a successful IEP. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) created an avenue for parents to stand up to school policies they feel work against their child’s best interests. By law, parents are considered equal partners in the IEP process, and they have a right to do the following:
- Attend each of the child’s IEP meetings and be an active member in the process
- Receive a written notification regarding every proposed change to the child’s IEP
- Dispute a decision that isn’t in the child’s best interests
As parents, we are our children’s best advocates. If you believe your child qualifies for an IEP or you need to make changes to an existing program to better help your child, visit the IDEA parent resources page on the U.S. Department of Education’s website.
About John Bair
John Bair is an experienced settlement planner and financial consultant. He helps families develop strategies to provide lifelong financial support for children with disabilities, catastrophic injuries, special needs, and congenital abnormalities. Read more about John’s work and his firm, Milestone Consulting, at http://milestoneseventh.com/.
A West Point graduate where he served as captain and military aviator, John Bair continues his commitment to our country through his efforts within the settlement planning industry. He has represented families of victims lost in the Flight 3407 crash, offered pro bono services to the families of 9/11 victims and drafted the first consumer protection bill for plaintiffs (H.R. 3699).