Compiled by Louise Ratcliffe BSc (hons), Information Officer, Parent to Parent
An Individual Education Plan (IEP) is the plan that is developed for your child when they are at school or kura.
These plans outline how, who and when the goals for your child will be reached and may include:
These plans don’t have to be large, intimidating documents. They don’t even need to be all in words – they might have charts, photos or pictures.
These plans are living documents, and will change over time as your child’s needs change. You and your child’s team will talk regularly about your child’s progress and what their next goals will be and update the plan.
In order to qualify for an IEP, your child needs to receive an evaluation in school (or at home if your child has not started school yet, or attends homeschool or Cyber School). Depending on your child’s specific needs, the evaluation could be conducted by one or all of the following professionals: a school psychologist, a speech/language pathologist, an occupational therapist, a physical therapist, or a vision or hearing specialist. If your child is of school age, the parent or school team can request the evaluation. If the school team requests it, you will be contacted to sign a permission form to let the evaluation begin.
There are several reasons an IEP might be needed. For example, when –
Following the Special Education website diagram of the IEP process, the first step is to arrange a meeting with the school to discuss your concerns around your child’s educational needs. From there, an IEP can be created using a template such as the one on the Special Education Online website, or created from scratch.
The format of an individual education plan is not prescribed, but the plan does need to include the elements outlined in Contents of the IEP section (section 9.4) of the booklet Collaboration for Success: Individual Education Plans.
The team around the student agrees on the format of the plan.
From there, the school and parents should meet regularly to work through the IEP, assess how well things are working (or not working), and agree on the next steps to ensure the child is getting the education they need.