Top 3 Facts about the IEP

If you’re looking for information about the Individualized Education Program (IEP), then you’ve already discovered that a Google search on this term yields over 35,200,000 results as of August 2016. It can be overwhelming to find that one specific piece of information you’re looking for, so I’ve condensed the most frequently requested pieces of information to a single Top 3 list.

#1 IEPs are required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

According to the U.S. Department of Education, IDEA was put in place as a law to ensure “services to children with disabilities throughout the nation.” It governs how states and public agencies provide early intervention, special education and related services to more than 6.5 million eligible infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities.

Classroom IEP

According to the online IEP Guide, the IEP must include the following information about the child to meet his/her needs:

  • An evaluation of the child’s current performance.
  • Annual goals that the child is expected to successfully accomplish within a year.
  • A list of special education services that will provided to the child to supplement their needs
  • A description of the extent to which this child will or will not be allowed to interact with non-disabled children during school activities.
  • A list of modifications needed for district achievement tests provided to children in specific age groups and grades.
  • An outline of when services will begin, how often they will be provided, and how long they will last.
  • A statement of transition when the child reaches the age of 14 (or younger if applicable), which lists the courses needed for him/her to reach their post school goals.
  • When the child reaches the age of 16, a list of transition services the child may need to prepare for leaving school.
  • One year prior to reaching the age of majority (the threshold of adulthood as recognized by the law), he/she will be provided a statement describing the rights that will transfer to him/her once they reach the age of majority.
  • A description of how the child’s progress will be measured and how their parents will be informed of this progress.

#2 The IEP is both a document and a process

The process of the IEP contains 10 distinct steps, which are described in further detail on the government’s website:

  • Step 1: Child is identified as possibly needing special education and related services.
  • Step 2: Child is evaluated.
  • Step 3: Eligibility is decided.
  • Step 4: Child is found eligible for services.
  • Step 5: IEP meeting is scheduled.
  • Step 6: IEP meeting is held and the IEP is written.
  • Step 7: Services are provided.
  • Step 8: Progress is measured and reported to parents.
  • Step 9: IEP is reviewed.
  • Step 10: Child is reevaluated.

#3 Parents have the right to challenge decisions 

Once parents become involved in the process, they may not fully agree with the school’s recommendations about their child’s eligibility, evaluation, placement, and the services that the school provides to the child.

Kid IEPAs listed in the Department of education website, the following actions can be taken by the parent:

  • Try to reach an agreement.
  • Ask for mediation.
  • Ask for due process.
  • File a complaint with the state education agency.

For further information about IEPs and whether these services are needed for your child, click this link to download this guide provided by the Public Counsel:

Special-Education Resource Guide (downloadable PDF)

If you would like to discuss anything about IEPs in more detail, you can call me at  +1 (818) 514-5655 to schedule an appointment.

Christina Castorena, MS, LMFT



– Christina Castorena, LMFT
Castorena Therapeutic Services