According to state and federal special education laws, all children who have been found eligible for special education must have an Individualized Education Program (IEP). The IEP is a written plan that describes exactly what special educational services and accommodations your child will receive. It must be reviewed every year.

Your child's IEP is developed by a team of people at the school and includes the parent as part of the IEP Team.

The IEP should include:

  • A report on how your child is doing in school.

  • A list of your child's strengths and areas to improve.

  • A vision statement - your and your child's hopes and goals.

  • Measurable educational goals for your child and a plan for achieving those goals.

  • Specially designed teaching and/or services your child needs to help reach those goals. The expected start and end dates for these services should be included (such as speech, occupational and physical therapies, in-school private duty nursing, assistive technology, and other services to be provided at school).

  • The amount of time during the school day your child will spend in regular and/or special education activities.

  • Beginning at age 14, a description of special instruction that will help your child transition from school to adult life activities when ready.

After the IEP is developed, the IEP Team decides on the placement for your child that is most able to provide the services identified in the IEP. This placement decision should be the least restrictive environment possible.

Throughout the school year, you are entitled to receive regular progress reports to tell you if your child is making progress towards his or her IEP goals.


This information is provided by the Division of Perinatal, Early Childhood, and Special Health Needs within the Department of Public Health.