Getting Started with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs)

An Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting is where IEP team members determine a child’s eligibility for special education services. It is held after all assessments are completed. At this time, you and other members of the IEP team review the results of the assessments.

What is the purpose of an IEP meeting?

  • To discuss and consider the strengths and needs of your child.
  • To consider the results of the most recent assessments of your child.
  • To determine your child’s eligibility for special education services. This is a team decision based on all information from assessments and parents. You are critical members of the IEP team decisions.
  • To create goals and objectives, including placement. This should be decided only after careful consideration of all information and assessments. It should not occur at the beginning of the meeting or be decided by school personnel alone.
  • To discuss related services such as speech, occupational, or physical therapy; applied behavior analysis; transportation; or other services.
  • To obtain a copy of the complete IEP, including documentation of goals, objectives, and related services.

Who may be included in an IEP team?

  • One or both parents. As a parent, you are the expert on your child, which makes you the most important part of the IEP team.
  • A representative of the local education agency (LEA), such as the principal or the special education director for the school district. This person should be authorized to commit the needed funding to provide educational and related services for your child.
  • A primary teacher or therapist for the Early Start or Infant Development Program, if available.
  • Other professionals working with your child, such as a California Children’s Services (CCS) therapist or Vision Specialist.
  • An advocate, support parent, friend, or attorney. If you are planning to bring an attorney or advocate, you should notify the school district at least one week ahead of time.
  • A general education teacher from the school district or preschool.
  • A special education teacher from the school district.
  • A school psychologist.
  • A translator, if needed.

What are some tips for an IEP meeting?

  • Bring a picture of your child and place it in the center of the table. This is a suggestion to help all of the team stay focused on the purpose of the IEP meeting!
  • Be prepared. Know what you want for your child. Stay focused on getting the services he or she needs. Before the IEP meeting, you should have the chance to visit several suggested programs or classrooms. If you are still in the process of visiting programs and classrooms, you may postpone the IEP meeting.
  • Maintain a calm composure during the meeting. Ask for a break, if you need it.
  • Make sure the IEP states:
  • What services will be provided (classes, related services, etc.)
  • Who will provide services, instruction, modifications to curriculum or adaptations (teacher, therapist, paraprofessional)
  • When, where, how often, and how long the services will be provided. (Example: Once a week, Joe will get thirty minutes of 1:1 speech therapy outside the classroom.)
  • If you feel that there is not enough time to complete the IEP and discuss concerns, ask for more time on another day.

Individualized Education Program (IEP) » Resources