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Why does my child need an Individualized Education Program?

Children who are classified as needing services provided by special education teachers are required by law to have an Individualized Education Program (IEP) drafted for them. This legal document is supposed to clearly define what your child's specific learning needs are, how the school intends to go about providing them and how they intend to keep track of the process that they're making.

Even if your child has not yet been identified as needing special education services, a request to have him or her evaluated to see if one is necessary can be made by a physician, parent, counselor or teacher.

If an evaluation is requested, it will generally involve a school psychologist coming into the classroom in an effort to observe how he or she acts. The psychologist will likely administer different cognitive or behavioral tests to see how your child performs as well.

The decision as to whether or not your child ultimately qualifies for an IEP is supposed to be a joint decision between school administrators and parents. A child must be unable to adequately learn the necessary general curriculum knowledge in order to qualify for one.

When a child does qualify for an IEP, drafting it becomes a bit of a collaborative effort between the child's parents, his or her teachers and school administrators. Generally listed within the IEP are some of the strengths and weaknesses you child has and how all parties involved are going to help to ensure that they have the best chance of success in school.

If you child is deemed to not qualify for an IEP, then you could request an assessment for a 504 plan as well. Decisions regarding IEPs are often made in haste without full consideration of all important factors.

In other instances, IEPs may be implemented yet never followed up on. If you find yourself in either one of these situations, then a Providence special education attorney can advise you of your rights in your legal matter.

Source: Understood, "Understanding Individualized Education Programs," Kristin Stanberry, accessed Feb. 16, 2018

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