Individualized Education Program (IEP) - Definition & Meaning

An Individualized Education Program (IEP) is a legally binding document developed in the United States to ensure that students with disabilities receive appropriate special education services and support tailored to their specific needs. IEPs are part of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), a federal law that mandates the provision of a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) for students with disabilities.

Key features of an IEP include:

  • Individualized Goals: The IEP outlines individualized educational goals and objectives for the student, taking into account their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Special Education Services: It specifies the special education and related services the student will receive, which can include speech therapy, occupational therapy, counseling, and more.
  • Accommodations and Modifications: The IEP may include accommodations and modifications to the regular curriculum to support the student's learning.
  • Progress Monitoring: The IEP sets up a process for monitoring the student's progress and making adjustments as needed.
  • Annual Review: IEPs are typically reviewed and updated at least once a year to ensure they remain appropriate for the student's needs.
IEPs are developed collaboratively with input from educators, parents or guardians, and specialists, and they are legally binding documents that outline the rights and responsibilities of both the school and the student with disabilities.

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