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Initial Steps to the IEP Process

IEP ProcesIt can be overwhelming to think that your child is falling behind at school or might have needs that are not being addressed by the school or that your child may have a learning disability or developmental delay.  However, by taking the right steps you can start to get help for your child and begin to address educational concerns.

Individualized Education Programs (IEP) are created for all children who qualify for Special Education Services. This Plan will be the foundation for a child’s education, and parents/guardians have a significant role in building it. This document will list the special education services a child will receive based on their individual needs and goals.  This is a legally binding document.

To determine if a child qualifies for Special Education Services, there are three paths this step can follow:

  1. An independent, private professional can perform a special education evaluation; or
  2. Parents can contact the school and request that an evaluation be completed to determine if their child has a disability. Remember: it is best to put this request in writing; or
  3. The school may make a referral that a child be evaluated based on their observations. Remember: The school must obtain written permission prior to performing this testing
  • Under the federal IDEA regulation and Georgia law, the evaluation needs to be completed within 60 days after parental consent.
  • Once testing is completed, a group of qualified professionals and the parent/guardian will meet to determine if the child is eligible for special education as defined by the IDEA.
  • The IEP meeting is held.  If the child is determined to be eligible for special education services, then a meeting to formulate and write the IEP plan must be held within 30 calendar days.
  • The IEP is formulated.  Remember: Parents/guardians have the right to take home this document and review it prior to signing it. This is essentially a contract setting out all the educational services and accommodations your child will receive for one year. It should be carefully examined and considered.  Remember: Parents/guardians have the right to disagree with what the school has proposed.
  • Once the parents and school agree on the plan, the IEP is implemented.

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