In-Sync: Everything you should know about designing your child’s IEP

Being a parent is the best feeling you can have. Every child is unique, and children with needs are even more so, because they have a wholly different perspective to our world. However, being parents to children with special needs makes your life a little bit more complicated.

It is essential for you as a parent to recognize these needs of your child and get professional help to manage them. A part of these needs is the way your child perceives the world. As they get older, your children will also need to get education but the education norm won’t apply to them because they would have a different point of view.


Therefore to give your child the best of educational resources, you have to come up with an IEP, or the Individualized Education Program for your child. Let us start with the most basic question- What is an IEP? It is an education plan developed for children with special needs so they can reach their full potential.

Next, how will you know if your child qualifies for the IEP at their school? Before a child receives special education services, he/she must be evaluated for their eligibility. There are currently 13 categories under which your child is eligible for such services:

  • Autism
  • Deaf-blindness
  • Deafness
  • Emotional disturbance (any condition that generates behavioral issues under normal circumstances)
  • Hearing impairment
  • Intellectual disability (previously known as Mental Retardation)
  • Multiple disabilities
  • Orthopaedic impairment
  • Other health impairment
  • Specific learning disability (conditions as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia and developmental aphasia)
  • Speech or language impairment (communication disorder such as stuttering, impaired articulation, a language impairment, or a voice impairment)
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Visual impairment
Who else is involved in designing an IEP?

So now that you’re all ready to start designing the IEP of your child, you need to know who else needs to be involved in the same. After all, your kid’s school and its teachers are equally important in designing the plan for your child.

Designing an IEP

Designing an IEP

i. The IEP meetings where you, your child and his school staff members decide on an educational program for your child. It is somewhat of a formal meeting where your child, and his/her strengths and weaknesses are discussed in great detail.

Sometimes it can be a real challenge for a parent to keep up with the discussion. It may be even harder to slow it down. But you should feel free to ask questions and offer suggestions. You will also want to feel comfortable that the team has spent enough time talking and planning about your child’s future.

An IEP meeting is attended by you (parents), school administrators, a general education teacher i.e., someone who teaches regular children, a special education teacher i.e., someone who teaches only special needs children, someone who has the evaluation results of your child, and most importantly, your child.

ii. The IEP document which is essentially a form containing the following fields-

insyn role

  1. Your child’s present levels of educational performance
  2. Annual goals and short-term objectives
  3. How your child’s progress will be measured
  4. The specific special education, related services, and supplementary aids and services to be provided to or on behalf of your child, including program modifications or supports for school staff
  5. An explanation of the extent (if any) to which your child will not participate with regular children
  6. Any modifications your child will need when taking state or district-wide assessments
  7. The dates when services will begin and end, the kind of services, as well as how often and where they will take place
  8. How you will be informed of your child’s progress

Your role as a member of the IEP team is valuable from start to finish. Your child’s teachers, special education providers and schools may change. But you remain a constant in your child’s life. You’ll watch him learn, stumble, adapt and succeed. So your input is the most important one throughout the IEP process. Make sure you have an active role to play in all the IEP meetings and watch your child blossom and soar new heights in his life.

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