An Individualized Education Program (IEP) is a written statement of the educational program designed to meet a child's specific individual needs. The IEP is created under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and is different from programs created under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.
Every child who receives special education services must have an IEP.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) aims to provide a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment (LRE) to children with qualifying disabilities. The objective of the IDEA is to provide students with disabilities the opportunity to access and benefit from FAPE.The goal is not to provide equal education or maximize academic potential. In order to accomplish the goal, the IDEA requires that an IEP be developed for eligible students.The IEP is a guide which lays out the program of special education instruction, supports, and other services that the child needs, given their unique circumstances, to make adequate progress in school.
Students with disabilities who do not qualify under IDEA, may qualify under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act for a 504 Plan instead. 504 Plans are not part of special education and do not provide the child with individualized instruction or services. Contrary to IEPs, the goal of 504 Plans is to grant students with equal access to the same education as their peers through accommodations. Dependent the circumstances, a 504 Plan may offer greater benefits.
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At minimum, IEP's must include the following: