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NC Education Lawyer Blog

  • Writer's pictureNeubia Harris

What is an IEP (Individualized Education Plan)?

The Individualized Education Program (IEP) helps students with disabilities or special needs attain success in school.

Parents/guardians, classroom teachers, school staff, specialists, and the concerned student work together to develop a plan that details the student's needs and goals for the school year. This program is referred to as the IEP.

Think of the IEP as a GPS map. It identifies the child's learning stage, where they should be at the end of the school year (goals), and what they need to get there. IEPs are entirely free in public schools.

Does my child need an IEP?

Some of the conditions that necessitate an IEP include:

  • Developmental delays

  • Speech impairment

  • Learning difficulty

  • Autism

  • Cognitive challenges

  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

  • Hearing impairment

  • Vision problems

What does an IEP contain?

After an individual assessment has been completed, the IEP is developed and written. It contains:

  • Information on current performance levels

  • Progress measuring information

  • Support services (e.g., therapy) and the number of times they'll be provided

  • Date and place of the services

  • Specific short-term and yearly goals

  • Teaching methods and strategy

  • Mainstream classroom participation

  • Dates for evaluation and review

Your legal rights as a parent

As a parent, you have certain rights that enable you to have a say during the IEP process. For example, you can challenge an IEP if it is ineffective for your child.

You can disagree with the assessment outcome and even the IEP itself and seek redress through mediation and hearing. You can also choose to have your child educated in a private or public school.

Attorneys familiar with the IEP, such as Neubia L. Harris, can go over your rights with you and provide representation when you need it. You know your child's concerns and struggles and should play a key role in their learning process.


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