Individualized Education Program (IEP)

Below you will find resources on IEPs. This page is organized in a manner that shows the resources in order of how they would occur from the start to end of the progress to obtain an Individualized Education Program. 

Communication Tips for Parents & Educators

Sometimes it can be difficult to communicate your feelings about your child's education with their teacher. Try using some of these communication tips so next time you can focus on your goals, effectively set your expectations and not get too emotionally overwhelmed.

Learn more from ASK Resource Center

Parent Participation in the IEP Decision Making

When a parent has a child receiving Special Education services there are some rights and protections that are included in the law to help ensure that parent input is considered in the IEP (Individualized Education Plan) process. The Iowa Procedural Safeguards Manual for Parents describes a parent's right to involvement in the IEP process and should be provided to families at least once a year at the child's IEP meeting

Read the ASK Resource Center PDF

Student Involvement in the Individualized Education Program Process

IDEA requires that students with disabilities be invited to attend every IEP meeting where postsecondary transition goals will be considered. This page offers resources you can use to involve students with disabilities in planning their own transitions into adulthood.

Learn More at the Parent Center Hub

Developing Your Child's Individualized Education Program (IEP)

If your child has a disability, he or she may be eligible for special education services in school. This page offers information on how special education services can support your child, and what part you can play in the special education process.

Learn More at the Parent Center Hub

Contents of an Individualized Education Program (IEP)

Every student who is eligible for Special Education services will have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) with goals and services designed to meet his or her special needs. This plan will be designed with inputs from parents and educators.

Learn More at the Parent Center Hub

Components of Individual Education Programs

The process of developing an IEP consists of five phases: Identify present levels of academic achievement and functional performance, Develop well-written goals and determine effective progress monitoring strategies, Determine and describe all special education services, activities, and supports, Determine the least restrictive environment (LRE) and additional considerations, Determine how progress will be reported to parents.

Learn more from Iowa IDEA Information

Smart Individualized Education Program (IEP)

If you are like many parents, you feel anxious and insecure at IEP meetings. What do you know? What can you offer? What should you do? Some parents believe that if they are not educators, they have nothing of value to offer in planning their child's educational program. Other parents realize that their child's IEP is not appropriate but do not know how to resolve the problem. There are ways to get involved.

Read the PDF from FETA

The IEP Team

To write an effective IEP for a child with a disability, parents, teachers, other school staff-and often the child-come together at a meeting to look closely at the child's unique needs. These individuals combine their knowledge, experience, and commitment to design an educational program that must help the child to be involved in, and progress in, the general education curriculum-that is, the same curriculum as for children without disabilities.

Learn More at the Parent Center Hub

Individualized Education Program Overview

An Individualized Education Program (IEP) is a written statement of the educational program designed to meet a child's individual needs. Every child who receives special education services must have an IEP. This resource provides an overview of the IEP process.

Learn More at the Parent Center Hub

IEP Goals

The special education IEP process is a logical one. Each year the IEP team, which includes parents, develops an IEP for an eligible child. The child's present levels of performance determine the educational needs of the child. The team develops goals to meet those needs.

Learn More from Pacer

Checklists for IEP teams - Discussions and Decisions

These checklists were developed during the COVID-19 pandemic to assist teams planning for unique learning environments, however many of the questions will be useful for IEP teams in other situations. The first set of questions is written with the family perspective and the second list offers questions with the perspective of educators and related service professionals.

Read the ASK Resource Center PDF

Infographic - Participating in Virtual IEP Meetings

At times, you may not be able to join a special education meeting in person. Fortunately, technology allows meetings to be held virtually, by phone or via the Internet. This is now happening with many different kinds of meetings-IEP Team meetings, mediations, resolution sessions, and due process hearings.

Check out the IDEAs that Work Infographic

Medical and Educational Models - Why and how they are different

It is helpful to understand that sometimes the difference between medical and educational recommendations for the same student is due to different standards and obligations, not because of wrong data or bad intent. The medical recommendations that are made by doctors and therapists are always going to aim for the maximum growth, but could be limited by insurance approval. The school IEP team is not obligated to provide services that will maximize a student's potential but instead must provide students with disabilities with a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE).

Read the ASK Resource Center PDF

Performance Domains - Areas to consider for Special Education evaluations

Both the initial evaluation and reevaluation include testing and observations requiring parent consent. The student should be evaluated in all areas - referred to as performance domains - related to the disability or area of concern. Performance domains are the skill areas in which a student can be evaluated; they provide a framework for consideration of the individual's instructional needs. The seven performance domains are: academic, behavior, physical, health, hearing/vision, adaptive, and communication.

Read the ASK Resource Center PDF

Prior Written Notice

A Prior Written Notice (PWN) is a written explanation of a change the school district or AEA wants to make or refuses to make in a child's Individualized Educational Program (IEP). It is important that parents understand what the school plans to do (or not do) for their child. A PWN must give parents the information they need to actively participate in making decisions about their child's educational program and services.

Read the ASK Resource Center PDF

Sample Letter Requesting Prior Written Notice

This is an example letter for parents requesting written notice. The most important parts of the letter will be the blanks filled in with details from the parents! Parents are welcome to use part or all of the sample letter.

Read the ASK Resource Center PDF

Progress Monitoring

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires that schools monitor progress and provide regular progress reports to parents of students with IEPs.

Learn more from ASK Resource Center

Least Restrictive Environment

One of the components of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is the expectation that student with IEP's should be educated alongside their non-disabled peers (in the General Education classroom) as much as it is appropriate, which is referred to as the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) for that student.

Learn more from ASK Resource Center

Considering Least Restrictive Environment in Placement Decisions

Where will a student with a disability receive his or her special education and related services? IDEA requires placement in the least restrictive environment (LRE) for each child, a setting that is based on the child's IEP.

Learn More at the Parent Center Hub

Extent of Nonparticipation

This provision is pretty self-evident and highlights the value IDEA places on educating children with disabilities, to the maximum extent appropriate, with children who are not disabled. If a child's IEP places the child outside of the regular class, involvement in the general curriculum, and/or participation in extracurricular or nonacademic activities (the meaning of the phrase "the activities described in paragraph (a)(4) of this section"), the IEP must explain why.

Learn More at the Parent Center Hub

Recursos en español

¡Bienvenido a CPIR! CPIR es la sigla del Centro de Información y Recursos para Padres. Servimos como fuente central de información sobre las discapacidades que pueden tener los infantes, niños pre-escolares, estudiantes, y jóvenes adultos, IDEA (el Acta para la Educación de los Individuos con Discapacidades), la ley nacional de educación especial, ESSA (la lay nacional de educación general, Cada Estudiante Triunfa), por la relación que esta ley tiene con las discapacidades, y los Centros de Capacitación e Información para Padres (Cada estado tiene al menos un centro y ellos típicamente pueden ponerle en contacto con recursos locales y estatales. También ofrecen explicaciones, materiales informativos, y entrenamiento a los padres sobre sus derechos bajo IDEA).

Explorar recursos en Centro de Padres Hub


When a child has an IEP, the federal law requires IEP teams to consider reevaluating the student at least every 3 years. Parents can also request that their child be reevaluated up to once per year. This is most often helpful when there are new issues coming up at school related to the disability or the child has received a new diagnosis that may impact him or her at school.

Learn more from ASK Resource Center

Independent Educational Evaluations

In Iowa, evaluations for special education eligibility are usually done by Area Education Agency personnel, together with the educators at your child's school. However, parents have the right to other options if they believe the information described in the Educational Evaluation Report (EER) is incorrect or incomplete.

Learn more from ASK Resource Center

Procedural Safeguard Manual for Parents (Parental Rights in Special Education)

Parents have rights, known as procedural safeguards, which apply to every aspect of the special education process. State and federal laws and regulations outline what needs to happen to ensure that children with identified disabilities and on an Individualized Education Program (IEP) receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE). This document serves as your procedural safeguards notice and will help you understand the rights available to you and your child through a federal law, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and the Iowa Administrative Rules of Special Education.

Read the EducateIowa.Gov PDF

Early ACCESS Procedural Safeguards Manual for Parents Rights for Children Ages Birth - 3

State and federal laws and regulations outline what needs to happen for eligible infants and toddlers with conditions or developmental delays to enhance their growth and development. The following document serves as your procedural safeguards notice and will help you understand the rights available to you and your child through federal law, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 Part C and the Iowa Administrative Rules for Early ACCESS Integrated System of Early Intervention Services.

Learn More at the Iowa Department of Education

Procedural Safeguards Manual for Parents Rights for Children Ages 3-21

The Notice of Procedural Safeguards: Rights of Parents of Students with Disabilities explains the specific rights and responsibilities of the parent in the special education process. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act 2004 requires school districts to give parents the Procedural Safeguards only one time a year, except upon initial referral or on request for evaluation, the first occurrence of the filing of a due process hearing complaint, or upon request by a parent. This document is available in six different languages.

Learn More at the Iowa Department of Education

Sample Letter - Requesting an IEP Meeting During a School Closure

This letter is designed to be used during a school closure but could be changed to meet other situations when a family would like an IEP meeting. The details of a student's situation should be added to the sample letter before sending to a Special Education Teacher, Principal, Special Education Director or Superintendent. Remember to keep a copy for yourself, including the date it was sent.

Read the ASK PDF

IEP Process during Covid-19

Important facts for families and IEP teams during the health crisis.

Read the ASK Resource Center PDF

COVID-19 Recovery Services for Learners Receiving IDEA Services Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

COVID-19 Recovery Services are services that are provided in addition to services and supports identified in an eligible individual's IEP or IFSP. They are designed to address skills and content that was not taught, as well as the compounding effects of those skills not being taught due to closures related to COVID-19. Provision of COVID-19 Recovery Services is not an admission or concession that a public agency violated the IDEA. Recovery Services are intended to recoup lost skills or regain progress.

Read the IDOE PDF

School Accommodations and Modifications: A Parent and Child Checklist

It is important to identify, discuss, and include accommodations and modifications necessary to meet the specific needs of a student in an Individualized Education Program (IEP). Students who receive services under a 504 Plan also need the same kind of individual attention to their plans for accommodations and modifications. The following checklist might be a good starting point for you and your child to think about his or her individual needs to include in the IEP or 504 Plan.

Read the PACER Center PDF

Ensuring FAPE for Students with Disabilities during COVID-19: A Resource for Educators

Despite the ongoing challenges of COVID-19, the right to a free appropriate public education (FAPE) for students with disabilities remains in place. As schools shift to more distance learning, teams of educators are left to redesign what FAPE looks like when they cannot be physically present with their students. That's why the Center, in partnership with the Diverse Learners Cooperative, has created a guide that offers a decision-making model that aims to balance individual student needs within a virtual learning context, as well as a range of exemplars showing how this model can be applied

Visit The Center for Learning Equity Website

9 Recommendations for Inclusive Learning Recovery for Students with Disabilities

Students have missed out on opportunities to learn and develop during the pandemic. In response, the federal government is providing billions of dollars to address "instructional loss". While states, districts, and schools pilot new approaches to promote learning recovery, these practices must be held to high standards, be accessible and inclusive to students with disabilities, and must have educators prepared to serve students with disabilities effectively and equitably. As organizations focused on supporting students with disabilities, their families, and the educators who serve them, we have identified the following recommendations as necessary tomaximize the impact for students with disabilities and ensure equitable access to strategies or learning recovery

Read the PDF from the National Center for Learning Disabilities

Extended School Year Services (ESY) - A Webinar

This Webinar is a helpful video on Extended School Year Services. Some students may need ESY to ensure FAPE.

Watch the Webinar from Pathfinder Services of ND