Essential Elements of an IEP
By Noreen J. O’Mahoney, CSW, SDA
The Individualized Education Program (IEP) is the roadmap for your child’s education. It is a legal agreement between parent and school that states what the child will learn and be able to do; it dictates the programs and services he will receive. It’s supposed to set targets for your child and answer the question: Is he learning and mastering skills?
Essential Elements of An IEP
At a minimum, an IEP should contain the following elements:
- Strengths and weaknesses. Does it reflect your input regarding the skills he does well and the skills he needs, as well as what you want him to know and do?
- Correct diagnosis. Does it contain an accurate, comprehensive definition of her diagnosis, expressed clearly so that you understand how and what areas of learning are affected?
- Current performance indicators. Does it present a clear, valid picture of his present level of performance in such a way that it can be used as a benchmark to measure future progress?
- Valid interventions. Are you convinced that the treatment programs recommended are research-based and effective for his particular learning needs?
- Realistic, measurable goals. Are the annual goals set for her meaningful and attainable; will objective measures be used to determine if the goals have been achieved?
- Short-term objectives. Do the short-term (interim) objectives leading up to the annual goal specifically describe how progress will be measured, and is there a timetable and mechanism for regularly reporting progress, or lack thereof, to you?
- Social considerations. Does the IEP provide a program for your child that allows maximum involvement with his peer group, in compliance with the law’s Least Restrictive Environment mandate?