top of page

What is an IEP?


An individualized education program (IEP) is a document developed for each public and charter school student who has a need for special education. 

It is created through a team effort and reviewed periodically. The IEP describes the goals the team (see below sets) for the student during the school year, as well as any special support needed to help achieve them. 

To qualify for this, a child must demonstrate at least one of the five “special factors” described in the 1975 law, according to These factors include:

1. Behavior that impedes learning:

  • Extreme tantrums;

  • Difficulty concentrating; and

  • Difficulty completing tasks.

2. Limited English proficiency;

  • Native language is not of English

3. Blindness or visual impairment;

4. Communication problems, including deafness; and

5. A need for assistive technology.

After assessing these factors, parents should consult with their child’s teacher(s) and listen to their concerns about the student’s academic progress. 

Who’s on the Team?

On the team, the professionals often include:

  • A psychologist;

  • A physical therapist;

  • An occupational therapist;

  • A speech therapist;

  • A special educator

  • A vision or hearing specialist;

  • The parent of the child; and

  • The primary teacher of the student.

When Do Students Get IEP’S?

Though it can be different for each student, elementary school is when a need for an IEP is usually identified. Through the school years, it can then be edited to fit the needs of the student. 

After three years, the student is tested again to see if they are still qualified for an IEP. Although, if the parents think their child no longer needs an IEP, they can request a meeting to review it, and the student can “graduate” from the IEP. Also, if the child has ADD or ADHD, they need a 504 plan (a special type of an IEP plan) before their senior year in high school, so that when they go to college, they continue to get special accommodations. 

What are the Benefits?

● Less academic stress on the student;

● Parents participate on establishing the education portion;

● The student learns to become more goal oriented;

● Decreases dropout rate; and

● More accommodations on tests and projects

  • Extra time on tests

  • Calculator for math tests

  • Ability to use notes during exams

  • Text-to-speech on standardized states tests

  • Other general modifications 

How can Circle4Parents Help?

At Circle4Parents, our expert coaches will help parents navigate through the process, which can be overwhelming. Parents are sometimes in shock when they learn their child has special needs.

Our coaches will guide and coach you step-by-step including explaining what you should expect when you meet with the school officials. As a result, you will walk into that meeting better prepared to answer all questions. Remember, it takes a village to raise a child!

Overall, this individualized education program provides a great support system and helps students who may have a few challenges. As always, parents should consult with their child’s teacher(s) to see if this is the right option and to see how their child could academically grow and develop with this extra help. Our coaches are here to add that extra support.

bottom of page