When you arrive at an IEP meeting there may be many people present. The meeting will begin with each person introducing themselves and telling why he/she is there. Those that may be present at the meeting include the student’s parent, special education teacher, regular education teacher, speech/language pathologist, educational diagnostician, school administrator, or other special education personnel who are there to help make decisions to assure the student’s free and appropriate public education.
During the IEP meeting, one may hear many terms not familiar to them. Below is a list of some terms:
- IEP team The team of people who determine a child’s eligibility, needs and who also approves the IEP. The parent/legal guardian is an important member of this team.
- Due Process The student’s rights are protected by law. Each student with a disability is entitled to a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). If the parent does not believe their child is receiving FAPE, they have the right to request a due process hearing or mediation in an attempt to resolve the issue.
- ESY (Extended School Year) The student’s IEP team evaluates each child’s need for an ESY based upon his/her growth, skill level, ability to regain the skill after breaks and the amount of loss a student may experience due to a break in service during the summer months. This is highly individualized and represents a small portion of the student population.
- IEP (Individual Education Plan) – An IEP is developed which outlines long range goals and short term objectives for the student based upon his/her needs based on qualifying disability. The IEP is approved prior to placement in a program.
- Service Hours The number of hours the student receives special education services
- LRE (Least Restrictive Environment) By law the IEP team must consider placing the student in or as near to the home school as possible.
- OT (Occupational Therapist) An OT is a person who assesses and works with fine motor problems.
- PT (Physical Therapist) A PT works with gross or large muscle problems.
- Related Service These are the support services to help the student achieve individual identified goals and objectives. These may include OT, PT, counseling, transportation, and orientation & mobility, etc.
- Section 504 Section 504 is that portion of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 that provides safe guards for all persons with disabilities. A person not qualifying for services under special education may be eligible for service and support under this regulation.
- Speech/Language Pathologist A speech/language pathologist is a person who works with disorders of speech and language. This may include articulation (pronouncing sounds correctly), language (appropriate use of words), voice problems and/or fluency problems.
At the beginning of an IEP meeting the student’s eligibility, strengths, and needs will be identified. After this is done, an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) will be developed and approved.
Within the IEP, the type of service, the location of service, amount of service and identification of service provider(s) will be identified. Services will begin as soon as stated within the IEP.
All IEP team members are encouraged to question and provide input during the meeting. All members are vital to the proper development of a student’s IEP. Any member may request a meeting at any time to review identification, placement or services or any other matter pertaining to a student’s special education program.