Developing the Individual Education Program

The Individual Education Program is developed by a team (sometimes referred to as the Committee on Special Education) that must include:

A representative of the school district (not the child's teacher) who is qualified to provide or supervise special education.

The child's teacher(s). If the child is in a general education class and receives special education services as well, both teachers are required to attend.

If the program to be recommended includes activities with general education students, even if the child is in a special education class in the school, a general education teacher is required to attend.

One or both of the child's parents. Consistent with the IDEA's stated policy, parents should expect to be treated as equal participants with school personnel in developing the IEP.

The child should attend the meeting whenever the parents think it is appropriate.

Professionals who are qualified to explain the results of the testing. Usually this requires at least the presence of a psychologist and educational evaluator.

Parents may bring with them any others involved with the child who they feel are important for the IEP team to hear; for example, the child's psychologist or tutor.

Parents may elect to bring an educational advocate and/or lawyer knowledgeable in the IEP process.

Although not required, if the child is receiving related services (such as speech therapy or occupational therapy), it is valuable for related service personnel to attend the meeting or at least provide written recommendations concerning the services in their area of specialty .

In some localities additional members are required. For example, New York State requires the presence of a parent member. A parent member is the parent of a child with a disability (not the parent of the child for whom the IEP is being developed) who has had special training in the workings of the IEP process.

Parents must be notified of the meeting in writing. The notification must indicate the purpose, time and location of the meeting and list the people who will be in attendance, including the name and position of each person. If parents are unable to attend at the appointed time, the meeting should be rescheduled to accommodate the needs of the family.