After the IEP team meets to consider a child’s educational needs, the team will write an Individualized Education Programs (“IEP”) that specifies what services the child will receive and where the services will be delivered. In essence, an IEP is a binding contract in which the school district agrees to provide specific services to the student. Every child who is found eligible for special education services must have an IEP. We help parents understand Individualized Education Programs in Massachusetts and, in certain cases, we can attend IEP meetings with parents to help advocate for eligibility, services or placement.
The Individualized Education Program is the foundation of a student’s educational program. It specifies the services to be provided and how often. It also describes the student’s present levels of performance and how the student’s disabilities affect academic performance. It sets forth specific goals against which the student’s performance can be measured. Finally, it details the accommodations and modifications to be provided for the student and states where the services will be delivered.
An Individualized Education Program in Massachusetts must be designed to meet the unique educational needs of the student in the least restrictive environment appropriate to the needs of that child. When a child qualifies for services, an IEP team is convened to develop an education program. In addition to the child’s parents, the IEP team must include at least one of the child’s regular education teachers; a special education teacher; someone who can interpret the educational implications of the child’s evaluation, such as a school psychologist; any other related service personnel deemed appropriate or necessary; and an administrator who has adequate knowledge of the availability of services in the district and the authority to commit those services on behalf of the child. Parents are considered to be equal members of the IEP team along with the school staff. Based on the full educational evaluation results, this team collaborates to write an IEP for the individual child, one that will provide a free, appropriate public education.
Understanding an IEP and deciding whether it adequately provides the services your child needs is extremely difficult. If you have questions about an Individualized Education Program in Massachusetts which has been proposed for your child, or if you need help negotiating the process, call us. We understand the steps that are necessary to get your child the free appropriate public education he or she is legally entitled to receive.