Not all children learn the same. In fact, it is much more accurate to say that every student is unique in his or her learning style, abilities and needs. Thankfully, when children have a learning disability or a physical or mental disability that affects their learning, an Individualized Education Program (IEP) can be a great asset.
Think of an IEP like a customized workout program for people with special needs who are training in a gym with a personal fitness trainer. In terms of learning in a classroom setting, an IEP is a written statement that customizes a learning program for individual students with special needs. An IEP includes measurable goals and plans for academics, extracurricular activities and non-academic activities as well.
Who designs an IEP?
The parents or guardians of a child with special needs, in addition to a team of school personnel, meet to discuss and create an IEP. The group comes together at least once per year. However, if needed, additional meetings can be scheduled to discuss progress or to recommend modifications to the existing plan.
If a student is nearing the completion of a high school education, his or her IEP team will also incorporate transitional services into the plan. Such services are intended to help a student with special needs transition into adult life after high school. Such service discussions might include planning for further education, learning a trade, obtaining a job, and more. If a parent has questions or concerns about legal issues associated with a child’s IEP, he or she may seek guidance from an attorney who is well-versed in California education law.