Before the IEP Meeting
After a formal evaluation is conducted, the educational team reviews the results and prepares a report. Parents are sent the Parent/Guardian Notification of Conference form inviting them to a meeting at their child’s school to discuss testing results and possible eligibility for special education services. Generally, the school professionals who have completed evaluations attend the meeting and present their findings. At times, students may be encouraged to attend some or all of their IEP meeting to begin developing self-advocacy skills, especially by the time they reach upper elementary grades.
During the IEP Meeting
Each of the evaluators reviews his/her results and prepares a written report documenting their findings. Written and oral reports from a private evaluator can be submitted at this time. The school has the right to accept or reject, in part or in whole, the information presented from private evaluations.
Once all evaluators have presented their testing/screening results, the team determines if the child meets criteria for identification under the following disability categories:
Autism, Cognitive Disability, Deaf/Blindness, Deaf, Developmental Delay, Emotional Disability, Hearing Impairment, Multiple Disabilities, Orthopedic Impairment, Other Health Impaired, Specific Learning Disability, Speech or Language Impairment, Traumatic Brain Injury, and/or Visual Impairment.
The child will qualify for services if, after the team’s analysis of the testing data, the team is able to identify one or more of these disabilities as the primary cause of the adverse affect on the child’s school performance.
Writing the IEP
If eligibility in one or more disability categories has been determined, the meeting moves to the formal writing of the Individual Educational Plan (IEP). The IEP includes: the child’s strengths, present levels of academic achievement and functional performance (Present Levels of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance Form). The effects of the child’s disability on involvement and progress in the general education curriculum must be detailed as well.
The IEP team then writes Annual Goals which are specific, measurable and address the deficits identified. For each goal, the child’s current level of academic performance is stated and individual benchmarks are developed. The benchmarks are the smaller steps toward reaching the annual goal. Goals are reviewed by the service provide three or four times a year.
Accommodations & Supports
The Educational Accommodations and Supports form describes the specific supplementary aids, accommodations and modifications that the child receives as indicated on the IEP. Accommodations are specific adjustments made to the regular school curriculum, based on the student’s learning difficulties. The Assessment form lists the testing and other accommodations the child requires for class-based, district-wide and state-wide assessments.
Modifications are made when the general education curriculum is determined to be inappropriate for the student and an alternative curriculum is necessary. The Educational Services and Placement form explains in what areas the child will participate in the general education curriculum (with and without supplementary aids) and the amount of special education and related services the child will be receiving. Based on the IEP goals, Educational Placement is determined.
An IEP is a legal document. It is governed under IDEA, the Individual with Disabilities Education Act, which assures that services meet state and federal requirements. District 27 provides services, supports, accommodations as documented in each student’s IEP.
In brief, the IDEIA eligibility process is more involved than that required under Section 504. Instructional services, goals, services, and accommodation under the IDEIA are delineated in a plan called an Individualized Education Program (IEP). The IEP is a legal document which describes the student's disability, instructional supports/accommodations, goals, related services, and other relevant educational programming information. IEPs are also reviewed annually and subject to re-evaluation for eligibility every 3-years.