The IEP Process can be a confusing and stressful process for parents. Most likely you and the teacher have identified a problem that needs to be addressed in school. You may wonder what the next step will be. Is this something the teacher can just handle in their classroom? Typically parents have a million questions about the process and how it will individually affect their child, hopefully, this guide will help to ease the process and expectations.

The Process

1. A concern is identified either by the parent or teacher
2. The Response to Intervention (RTI) process begins with either classroom accommodations or more direct help from school ancillary staff
3. If no response is noted during the RTI process then a meeting is called to determine specific areas to be tested for “Eligibility”. Typically in attendance would be the parent, teacher, school psychologist, involved ancillary staff (OT, SLP, PT, etc.), and principal
4. The evaluation process begins. Testing is completed, scored and put into an Eligibility Report for parents to review.
5. A meeting is called to determine Eligibility and most likely if eligible for services will move to an IEP (Individual Education Plan) meeting to outline the services needed.

The amount of time it takes for a child to be placed on an IEP can take anywhere from 2-6 months depending on the school and district. School eligibility criteria are outlined by the State Board of Education. Most children to qualify to have to fall well below average for their age. To qualify for speech therapy services in the school district, the child has to be below the 7th percentile for their age and gender, indicating that if other children their age were given the same test, 97% of the kids would score higher than them.

FAQ about IEP’s

What does IEP mean? IEP stands for Individual Education Plan
Who can be on an IEP? Any student who qualifies can be placed on an IEP
Why are they important? An IEP is a plan of action that the school and teachers will use to help your child succeed in school. It transfers from year-to-year and from school-to-school. Just because one teacher understands how to handle and help your child does not mean that will transfer to the next school year so having the IEP set clear standards for the(remove) everyone involved. It is a binding contract and therefore, schools and teachers are liable for making sure it is being followed.
Can I request the IEP process be started? Parents can request an evaluation of their child to determine qualification for an IEP. Once an evaluation is requested, the parent will have to sign consent for initial testing to be started.
Does the school have any deadlines to adhere to? The evaluation and eligibility determination must be completed within 60 days from the date of receipt of consent. This timeline does not include days when school is not in session for 5 or more consecutive days. A notice of meeting should be sent to the parent in a reasonable amount of time to ensure that s/he will have an opportunity to attend [IDEA Reg. 300.322(a)(1)]. A 10-day notice is usually accepted as reasonable.

The IEP must be implemented within 30 days of the date that the child is determined to be an eligible child with a disability.
How often are IEP’s reviewed? Testing for an IEP is typically done every three years, but the IEP will be reviewed every year. This does not mean you cannot meet sooner. If you feel something is missing from the IEP, then a parent can call an IEP meeting at any time.

More Reading:

Idaho Special Education Parent Guide

Idaho Special Education Parent Guide

Idaho IEP Guidance Handbook
https://www.sde.idaho.gov/sped/sped-manual/files/chapters/chapter-5-individualized-education-programs/IEP-Guidance-Handbook.pdf

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