A preschool teacher sitting on the floor with a group of multi-ethnic children in a circle.  They are watching her as she holds up a card.  A little girl, a special needs child with down syndrome, is standing beside her handing a card to another child.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), requires that a written plan must specify how special education, related services, and support will be provided to a student eligible to receive those services. That written plan is called an Individualized Education Program (IEP).

Developing an IEP is a process. Think of developing the IEP as if you were building a family’s home. Before you begin building, you would speak to the family to learn how the family lives and what the family wants in their home. You would identify the family’s wants and needs and gain an understanding of what is important to everyone in the family.

The same holds true for building IEPs. School IEP Teams, of which parents are members, work with families to gain insight into each student’s personality, history, educational experiences, and learning styles. Active family involvement is essential, welcomed, valued and critical to each student’s success.