School-aged children who qualify for special education have an IEP. Learn ‘what is an IEP,’ how it is administered, and more.

What is an IEP?

What is an IEP?

An IEP is a plan for your child’s special education. IEP stands for Individualized Education Program. It outlines how the school will address your child’s learning needs.


An IEP includes:

  • Learning goals for your child.
  • An outline of the services and support your child will receive.


There are two requirements for an IEP:

A child has one or more of the specific disabilities outlined in federal law. These can include:

    • Learning disabilities
    • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
    • Emotional disorders
    • Cognitive challenges
    • Autism
    • Deaf and hard of hearing
    • Speech or language impairment
    • Developmental delay
    • Physical disabilities
    • Partial sight or blindness
    • Traumatic brain injury

The disability must also affect your child’s ability to learn in the general education curriculum. They will need special instruction in or outside their general classroom.


How can I get my child evaluated for an IEP?

You can ask for your child to be evaluated. You will need to make your request in writing to your school and ask that they evaluate whether or not your child has a disability and needs accommodations, aids, and services.

After your child has been evaluated, and if they qualify for special education and related services, you and school staff will hold an IEP meeting.  The Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) has information on what the IEP must contain, who is required to attend the IEP meeting, and what happens during the IEP meeting.


Helpful resource:

A parent’s Guide to Developing Your Child’s IEP is available through the Center for Parent Information and Resources funded by the U.S. Department of Education.

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