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  Effective IEPs



An IEP must include certain information about the child and the educational program designed to meet his or her unique needs. The following is a brief synopsis of these requirements.

  • Present Levels of Performance:

The IEP must state how the child is currently progressing in school, otherwise known as present levels of educational performance. This information usually comes from the evaluation results such as classroom tests, assignments, and individual tests given to determine eligibility for services or during re-evaluation. Observations made by parents, teachers, related service providers, and other school staff also aide in deciding the present level of educational performance. The statement of current performance includes how the child's disability affects his or her involvement and progress in the general curriculum.

  • Annual goals:

These are attainable goals that the child can reasonably accomplish in one year. Annual goals are broken down into short-term objectives or benchmarks. These goals address various categories from academic, social, behavioral, physical, or other educational needs. Annual goals must be measurable, meaning that it must be possible to measure whether or not the student has achieved the goals.

  • Special education and related services:

The IEP must list the special education and related services to be provided to the child, or on behalf of the child. Special Education and related services include supplementary aids and services that the child needs. Also included are modifications to the program or supports for school personnel, such as training or professional development, that will be provided to assist the child.

  • Participation with nondisabled children:

The IEP must explain to what extent the child will, or will not, participate with nondisabled children in regular class settings and other school activities.

  • Participation in state and district-wide tests:

Most states and districts give achievement tests to children in certain grades or age groups. The IEP must state what modifications in the administration of these tests the child will need. If a test is not appropriate for the child, the IEP must state why the test is not appropriate and how the child will be tested as an alternative.   

  • Dates and places:

The IEP must state when services will begin, how often they will be provided, where they will be provided, as well as the duration of these services.

  • Transition service needs:

Beginning when the child is fourteen, or younger if appropriate, the IEP must address the courses the student needs to receive in order to reach his or her post-graduation goals. The IEP must address these issues in all applicable parts of the IEP document. A statement of transition services needs must also be included in each of the child's subsequent IEPs.

  • Needed transition services:

When the child is sixteen, or younger if appropriate, the IEP must state what transition services are needed to help the child prepare for leaving school.

  • Age of majority:

At least one year before the child reaches the age of majority, the IEP must include a statement that the student has been told of any rights that will transfer to him or her at the age of majority. This statement is only necessary in states that transfer rights at the age of majority.

  • Measuring progress:

The IEP must state how the child's progress will be measured and how parents will be informed of that progress.

There are special factors to be considered and addressed in the IEP, depending upon your child's specific needs.

Supports and strategies for behavior management are addressed in the IEP, if the student’s behavior interferes with the student’s education or the learning of others

• Language needs as related to the IEP are addressed if the student has limited mastery, or proficiency, in English.

• Communication needs as related to the students progress

• Assistive technology devices or services required in order to receive  FAPE

• Necessary accommodations and/or modifications concerning the     general education or special education setting 

  • If the child has limited proficiency in English, the IEP team will consider the child’s language needs, as these needs relate to his or her IEP

• For the child who is blind or visually impaired, the IEP team must provide for instruction in Braille or the use of Braille, unless it is determined after an appropriate evaluation that the child does not need this instruction

• If the child has communication needs, the IEP team must consider those unique needs carefully

• Concerning the child that is deaf or hard of hearing, the IEP team will consider the student’s language and communication needs, including the child’s opportunities to communicate directly with classmates and school staff in his or her usual method of communication (i.e. sign language)

• The IEP team must always consider the child’s need for any assistive technology devices or services.


It is important that the discussion of what the child needs be framed around how to help the child...

  • Advance toward annual goals 
  • Be involved in, and progress in, the general curriculum
  • Participate in extracurricular and nonacademic activities
  • To learn and participate with disabled and non-disabled children




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