The Individualized Education Program (IEP) is a written document that's developed for each public school child who is eligible for special education. The IEP is created through a team effort and reviewed at least once per year.

Before an IEP can be written, your child must be eligible for special education. By federal law, a multidisciplinary team must determine that the child has a disability and that the child requires special education and related services to benefit from the general education program.

The federal law, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), requires certain information to be included in the IEP, but does not specify how the IEP should be written. Forms differ from state to state and may vary between school systems within a state.

A student may qualify for special education services as an individual with special needs in one of thirteen areas identified by the IDEA. These qualifications are:

  • Autism
  • Deaf
  • Deaf-Blind
  • Emotionally Disturbed
  • Hard of Hearing
  • Intellectual Disability
  • Multiple Handicapped
  • Orthopedically Impaired
  • Other Health Impaired
  • Specific Learning Disability
  • Speech-Language Impaired
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Visually Impaired