Special Education Legal Primer

> What is an Individualized Education Program?

At the core of special education service delivery is the Individualized Education Program, IEP. The IEP begins with a statement specifically describing the child’s present level of educational performance. In the IEP, specifically defined and measurable annual and short-term goals are written for each child based upon his or her own pattern of strengths and weaknesses. In addition, the IEP specifies how the child’s progress toward the goals will be measured. Finally, for students with behavior problems which interfere with their learning, the IEP should contain a program designed to teach the student appropriate behavior and social skills. All behavior management techniques to be used should be specifically addressed in the IEP.

Common problems with IEPs include the setting of very non-specific goals which are difficult to track and measure. For example, goals such as, “The student will be able to complete written work,” or “The student will improve . . . ” are far to general. Before setting a goal relating to productivity, you must have an accurate measurement of the percent of written work completed up to the setting of the goal. In addition, the multidisciplinary team should break down the analysis to measure productivity across settings and subject areas. They should then set specifically measurable goals within each subject area and/or setting.

Introduction | Disability | Free and Appropriate Education | Least Restrictive Environment | Special Education | Related Services | Case Study Evaluation | Multidisciplinary Conference | Individualized Education Program (IEP) | Re-evaluation

Referring to this article:
“Special Education Legal Primer for Parents of Children with Learning Disabilities, Attention Deficit Disorders, and Other Educational, Physical, and Cognitive Disabilities” was written by C. J. Newton, MA, and published in the Find Counseling.com (formerly TherapistFinder.net) Mental Health Journal in September, 1997.

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