What is an IEP?
IEP stands for Individualized Education Plan. It is a written document of the educational services that a child will receive when eligible for special education services. The purpose of an IEP is to set reasonable learning goals for the child, list accommodations, and specifically state the services that the school district will provide. IEP's should be personalized to meet the child's unique needs. IEP's are governed by the Federal Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA), and the IEP document is legally binding - meaning the school district must provide the services written by the IEP team.
In IDEA, dyslexia falls under the category of Specific Learning Disability (SLD). Minnesota Administrative Rule 3525.1341 follows the Federal IDEA law and outlines the qualifying criteria for eligibility. Note that a child can qualify in two ways -- either from a 1.75 standard deviation below the mean (see Subp. 2. C) or from an inadequate rate of progress (see Subp. 2. D). A child must meet criteria in Subp. 2. A, B, and C or A, B, and D. A team override decision could also be made per Minnesota Administrative Rule 3525.1354 "Team Override on Eligibility Decisions".
The IEP is developed by a team of school personnel and the child's parents. The IEP team meets, reviews assessment information about the child, and develops an educational program for the individual needs of the child. The initial IEP meeting must be held within 30 calendar days of determining the child is eligible for special education. A child's IEP must also be reviewed at least annually to determine if the child's goals were met and if any changes are needed. A parent can ask for an IEP meeting at any time.
The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit released an opinion that an IEP can specify a specific methodology: "When a particular methodology plays a critical role in the student’s educational plan, it must be specified in the IEP rather than left up to individual teachers’ discretion."
Accessible Instructional Material
Having your child, who has an IEP or 504, have access to Accessible Instruction Material (AIM) can make all the difference in their education. AIM is for all students who qualify as having a "print disability" and provides them access to textbooks and other materials in accessible forms such as braille, audio, and digital text.
For more information about IEP's and 504 Plans, visit the following websites:
- Wrightslaw IEP Page - legal information
- Identifying and Evaluating Students for Special Education Services - from the MN Disability Law Center
- Special Education Advisor - many fact sheets about special education
- Comparison chart between IDEA and Section 504 - from Understood
We would like to give Katie Greving, President, DDIA credit for most of the content of this page.