The IEP Process

We’ve all been there. IEP meetings that just dont go smoothly because the participants cant seem to get on the same page. One major barrier to successful IEPs that I have seen is a misunderstanding of the IEP process. In IEP meetings I’ve  witnessed both parents and teachers get upset because they feel like they are not being listened to:  They want to talk about placement or services but some one else in the meeting insists on talking about goals.

An IEP  or Individualized Education Plan is more than just a legal document: It is a process.

The first step in that process is to look at the student in his or her current state. This is called Present Levels of Performance (PLOP). PLOP looks at how a student is performing in various domains and then identifies the domains in which a student has unique needs. It is in these areas of unique need that the team will identify areas of growth.

After identifying the student PLOP and areas of unique need the team identifies goals and objectives to address these  areas of need. In writing a goal it is very important to consider the student’s baseline and history of growth to determine where the bar should be set. (For more info see the Goals Posting)

Next, once the team is in agreement on the goals and objectives for the student they will begin to discuss Services.  Services are put in place to help a student achieve their goals and objectives. When considering services the team is required to consider the least restrictive environment for the student. This generally means as close as they can get to general education (or in general education) while still enabling the learning of the student in question and other students.

I have only addressed 3 parts of the IEP here, because in my experience they are the parts that there is the most confusion over 🙂 As you can see the IEP is more than a document it is a linear process! By following the process, the team is creating the most appropriate IEP for the student!