Find answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about Individualized Education Programs (IEPs). Just click on a question below to reveal the answer associated with it.
What is an Individual Education Plan?
An IEP is a plan created to specifically address the needs of your child. As a student with special needs, your child has a right to specialized instruction that allows him or her to make meaningful educational progress. The law requires schools to provide what is appropriate or necessary but not what is best.
Who is on the IEP team?
The IEP team consists of:
- Special education teacher
- General education teacher
- An administrator
- Other service providers
- Any other person you or the school choose to invite
What are the parts of the IEP?
The parts of the IEP include:
- Present level of performance
- Annual goals
- Modifications and accommodations
- Transition planning
What else should be included in the IEP?
The IEP should be written based on recent information. If the current evaluations do not identify your child’s weaknesses and provide strategies to address them, you should request that more testing be done.
I don’t agree with the school. What are my options?
If you are having a problem that you have not been able to resolve by talking with the school, you have several options outside of the IEP process. Each of the options has different rules so it is important to choose the best one for your situation. The conflict resolution options are:
- Complaint Investigation Process (ISBE)
- State-Sponsored Mediation (ISBE)
- Special Education Due Process (ISBE)
- Filing a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR)
What types of transition goals should be in the IEP?
If your child plans to work after high school, goals should include:
- Completing training in life, vocational and social skills, along with workplace etiquette
- Building skills in order to help with work
- Visiting/shadowing at possible workplaces
- Using a job coach to try different occupations
- Taking public transportation if needed for work
If your child plans to go to college after high school, transition goals may include:
- Requesting accommodations for college entrance exams
- Investigating the Disability Student Services (DSS) offices of various colleges
- Building skills necessary to self-advocate
- Completing applications for at least four schools with strong DSS offices
If your child has the academic ability to go to college, but not the functional skills (organizational, independent living, or social), you may consider a transition program, or a college program with additional support, or a structured environment with tutors.
How do I learn more about special education?
If your child needs special education because of a disability, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) gives you and your child certain rights:
- Your child has the right to a free appropriate public education.
- You do not have to pay any more for the education of your child with a disability than a parent would pay for the education of a nondisabled child.
- The school cannot use your private insurance to pay for your child’s education and related services unless you agree.
- If your child receives special education services, the school must give you notice in writing within a reasonable time before any meetings, and before any service your child receives is changed or denied. This notice must explain the procedures, the meeting or the proposed changes, and inform you of your rights.
- View our IEP Resources page
- Read about our case work involving IEP issues
- Donate to our Equality for Kids Campaign
- Get legal help
Last updated: March 23, 2021