Once a child is determined eligible for special education the district must convene a meeting between parents, district personnel, AEA personnel and others who are knowledgeable of the child to develop an Individualized Education Program (IEP).
The IEP is “. . . a comprehensive statement of the educational needs of [an entitled] child and the specially designed instruction and related services to be employed to meet those needs.” [Burlington Sch. Comm. v. Massachusetts Dept. of Educ., 556 IDELR 389 (U.S. 1985)]. The IEP is developed in collaboration between parents and schools, and describes the unique abilities, interests, and needs of a child and prescribes the educational placement, services, and supports that are needed to meet those needs.
During the development of the IEP, team members identify the child’s present levels of academic achievement and functional performance, develop goals and progress monitoring strategies, describe special education services, activities and supports, consider the least restrictive environment (LRE) and make a placement decision. The team must consider the following: the strengths of the child, the concerns of the parents for enhancing the education of their child, the results of the initial or most recent evaluation of the child, and the academic, developmental, and functional needs of the child.
All IEPs must include:
- A statement of Present Levels of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance (PLAAFP)
- Measurable Annual Goals
- A description of Progress Monitoring and Reporting Protocols
- A description of special education and related services, supplementary aids and services, program modifications, and supports for school personnel
- An explanation of the extent, if any, the child will not participate with non-disabled peers in the general education setting
- A description of necessary accommodations on district wide assessments or need for alternate assessment
- A statement of secondary transition services
More detailed information on how special education services may be requested and delivered in the Heartland AEA area can be found at Working Together for Children (PDF).