The Individual Education Plan

The IEP is a plan that must be followed by the school, special education staff, and regular teachers. The IEP results in increased accountability. If accommodations are not made according to the IEP, the school can be liable for disciplinary and legal actions.

Writing the IEP

When it becomes apparent that a student might have a disability, a staff meeting occurs and tests are administered to the student to determine if she is, in fact, disabled. Once a student has been identified as having a disability, she requires an IEP. An IEP team meets with parents and their advocate, if they desire, to formalize the IEP. According to the IDEA Amendments of 1977, a regular education teacher must be part of the IEP team.

The IEP that the team creates must include a statement of the child's current educational situation and a description of how it's affected by her disability. The IEP must also provide measurable annual goals for the child's education, the services that the special education department must provide, and the accommodations that must be made in the regular classroom.

There is some concern that the nature of the IEP process is such that students from wealthier families tend to get the most services. Their parents often have the means to hire advocates to fight for their right to include as much as possible in the students' IEPs.

Part of the problem with IEPs is that they often serve as points of contention between parents and schools. Schools are liable to follow anything listed in the IEP, so they will work to make them as simple as possible. On the other hand, parents want the most for their children, so they will often fight to get as much included on the IEP as possible.

Teacher Accountability

It is imperative that you receive a copy of each disabled student's IEP and read through it completely. If you have any questions about the provisions of the IEP, you need to ask a special education specialist before the year begins.

Remember, if you do not follow the provisions of the IEP, you and your school district can be sued. Therefore, make sure that you follow the IEP and that you keep detailed records concerning compliance. Then, if a problem should arise, you will have your records to show how you made the required accommodations.

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