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Individualized Education Plans

What is an Individualized Education Plan?

Federal law requires Individualized Education Plans (IEP) for special education.  An IEP ensures that children with disabilities aren’t grouped into a single form of education. The law recognizes that different disabilities require different educational programs. 

To qualify for special education services, a student must have a disability that presents unreasonable challenges at school.  Once the child’s eligibility is established, the school must hold an IEP meeting to develop the plan. The IEP is generally developed by a team of professionals such as teachers, therapists and school administrators, as well as the parents of the child. 

The IEP is a legally binding document that spells out exactly what special education services the child will receive and why. The school can’t force the parents or the child to accept a plan that they don’t believe will be helpful or in the child’s best interest. 

The IEP process can be an overwhelming time for any parent. There is so much new information to take in as you begin to learn more and more about special education services and how they can best benefit the child.  

It can be beneficial for a parent to employ a lawyer during this process so that they feel confident in understanding the process, ask the right questions, know what they are signing and that the plan formulated meets the child’s every educational need.

In developing, enforcing and modifying an IEP, teachers and parents are sometimes at odds. Dispute resolution is an option, including mediation and a due process hearing if you disagree with any aspect of the IEP. You also have a right to an appeal hearing if you are still not satisfied with the outcome.

At Painter & Westfall, our aim is to do everything in our power to make sure that the child’s needs are met and in turn that parents feel a sense of relief, satisfaction and closure regarding the child’s services.

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