What is an IEP? (Individualized Education Plan)
Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) are written plans for children who have been identified as having a disability. IEPs are legal documents, written by schools, which are used to specify what educational supports and services a child will receive.
If you’re interesting in creating an idea IEP for your child, you can learn how to create a Highly Individualized Education Plan for your child by going through our Individualized Instructional Design Process.
Within Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the law specifies an IEP must be written for children who fall into one of these disabilities categories:
- Emotional disturbance (EBD),
- Hearing impairment (HI),
- Mental retardation or intellectual disability (MR),
- Multiple disabilities,
- Orthopedic impairment,
- Other health impairment (OHI),
- Specific learning disability (SLD),
- Speech-language impairment,
- Traumatic brain injury (TBI), or
- Visual impairment including blindness.
IDEA regulates steps for identifying children with disabilities, establishes the child’s rights, the parent’s rights, and it regulates the entirety of the IEP development and implementation process.
There are very specific requirements for the information that must be included in an IEP. The regulations also specify that the parent must be included in the IEP process and is supposed to be an equal member of the IEP Team. Seldom do schools actually treat parental input with equal consideration to the educators’ opinions.
If your child is in public school, it’s a good educate yourself about IEPs, so I highly recommend going through the Learning Abled Kids’ IEP Training program here. It will help you understand, in detail, what an IEP is, your rights and your role in developing your child’s IEP.
ADA 504 Plans
Under the Americans with Disbilities Act, some children end up with what is called a “504 Plan.” From the Office of Civil Rights:
“Section 504 requires recipients to provide to students with disabilities appropriate educational services designed to meet the individual needs of such students to the same extent as the needs of students without disabilities are met. An appropriate education for a student with a disability under the Section 504 regulations could consist of education in regular classrooms, education in regular classes with supplementary services, and/or special education and related services.” (Ref: http://www.ncld.org/disability-advocacy/learn-ld-laws/adaaa-section-504/section-504-idea-comparison-chart.
If you are the parent of a child in public school, it will be helpful for you to explore these additional topics:
- Learning Abled Kids’ IEP Training
- Delphi Techniques (coming soon),
- Special Education Guidebook for Parents of Children with LDs.
Homeschooling and IEPs
IEPS are required for children with disabilities who are in public school, but are not generally required if a student is being homeschooled, unless the child is being provided services by the public school.
Regulations regarding requirements for homeschooling children with disabilities vary by state, so it is essential you research and understand homeschooling requirements designated by your state’s regulations.
You can find your State Department of Education Website by visiting my listing of: State Departments of Education then search for “homeschool” on their website. Be sure to check to see if there are any special hoops you must jump through because your child has a learning disability. Read the homeschooling laws carefully to see what is actually required. Some departments of education will ask parents for documents or actions that the law does not require.
Another good resource for information about legally homeschooling a child with special needs is the “Homeschool Legal Defense Association” website’s state-by-state listing: http://www.hslda.org/strugglinglearner/sn_states.asp. They have information regarding regulations for homeschooling children with special education needs in each state. You can see what your state requires there, but you’ll want to check your actual state laws too just in case anything has changed since the HSLDA website was last updated.
Most states don’t require IEPs for homeschoolers, so you don’t have to have one for your child if you are homeschooling. You might like to create one for your own use though. Going through the process of deciding exactly what your child needs and having a plan to follow will help you focus your teaching efforts. You can learn how to create a Highly Individualized Education Plan by going through our Individualized Instructional Design Process.
BEST WISHES in creating the best Individualized Education Plan or 504 Plan for your child.