The IEP…

  • Is a blueprint for all educational programs and supports for your child for the following year.
  • Specifies the educational placement for your child.
  • Outlines goals that the IEP team will intermittently discuss to assess your child’s progress.
  • Must undergo at least yearly review and revision to determine goal achievement and to review student performance.

What Does the IEP Contain?

An IEP must include the following components:

  • Present Levels of Performance (PLOP) – This section captures a description of your child’s current abilities, skills, strengths, and weaknesses across academic, social, physical, and functional domains. It describes in measurable ways how your child’s special needs impact their ability to learn the general education curriculum. In essence, this serves as the baseline for your child’s progress.
  • Annual Goals – These must be written objectively and measurably while capturing the performance changes expected in the following year, and may touch upon various skills, including academic, social/emotional, communication, motor, etc.
  • Benchmarks or Short-Term Objectives – These should contain incremental and sequential steps toward meeting each of the annual goals. Teachers report student progress on these short-term objectives, so it is critical that they are measurable and appropriate. In addition to academic or communication-related skills, these short-term objectives can target challenging behaviors as well.
  • Supports – These include Special Education and Related Services that your child needs (e.g. SLP, OT, PT), and any program modifications or individual accommodations that need to be made in order for your child to reach academic achievement (e.g. visual schedule).

Your child’s teacher is responsible for reporting back to the IEP team on your child’s progress toward meeting the academic, social, and behavioral goals and objectives outlined in the IEP. The teacher will also be asked for input about developing new goals for your child in subsequent and review IEP meetings. This underscores the importance of collaboration and continuous communication between the teacher and you on IEP goals and more. Remember, you are a valuable part of the IEP team. If you have suggestions for goals, accommodations, etc., you should bring them up at the meeting. One good practice that enhances communication is the use of a student calendar; this may be customized for an individual student and used to document your child’s progress toward each specific, measurable goal.

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