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Advancing the Human & Civil Rights of People with Disabilities in Illinois



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.

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.

The IEP team consists of:

  • Parents
  • Student
  • Special education teacher
  • General education teacher
  • An administrator
  • Evaluators
  • Other service providers
  • Any other person you or the school choose to invite

The parts of the IEP include:

  • Present level of performance
  • Annual goals
  • Services
  • Modifications and accommodations
  • Placement
  • Transition planning

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.

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:


Exceptions are limited:

  • Your child does not fall within the exceptions to expulsion under IDEA if:
    • You did not agree to an evaluation or services for your child
    • The school evaluated your child but did not find him or her eligible for special education
  • The exception is:
    • If the school knew or should have known that your child should be in special education but did not offer to evaluate your child and he or she does not have an 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.

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Last updated: April 11, 2014

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