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IEP & 504 Plan

Students who qualify for the learning disabilities classification are entitled to a formal plan that describes how the school will support your child’s educational needs. Learn how these statements—called the Individualized Education Program (IEP) or 504 Plan—are developed and monitored.

504 Plans - IEP for School

IEP & 504 Plan



What Is an IEP?

What is an IEP-Individualized Education Program Each public school child who receives special education and related services must have an Individualized Education Program (IEP). Each IEP must be designed for one student and must be a truly individualized document. The IEP creates an opportunity for teachers, parents, school administrators, related services personnel and students (when appropriate) to work together to improve educational results for children with disabilities. The IEP is the cornerstone of a quality education for each child with a disability.

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Is a 504 Plan Right for My Child?

advocacy-for-children-mother-childWhen you are making a decision about how to seek support for your child at school it’s important to know your options to request help under the federal law. There are two laws for K-12 students in public school that may offer supports and services: the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Schools that receive federal funding are obligated to serve students under Section 504; however, no federal funds are provided to directly support offering Section 504 services.

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The IEP Team: The Law, the Reality and the Dream

IEP Meeting-Idividualized Education Program “Free appropriate public education”—Never have four words had such power to determine a child’s chance for a meaningful education. “FAPE” is the core purpose of our federal special education law, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 2004 (IDEA 2004). The intent of FAPE is to ensure that special education programs and related services are designed to meet a child’s unique needs and prepare him or her for further education, employment, and independent living.

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Why and How to Read Your Child’s IEP

IEP Forms-Idividualized Education Program I know few parents who look forward to attending their child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) team meeting. IEPs are difficult to read. Comprehending the IEP jargon and legalese can be daunting. Many parents are so intimidated by the document and the process surrounding its implementation that they “give up.” This is a mistake. Parents need to be engaged in this educational journey that will continue until their child’s very last day in high school or a post-secondary special education program.

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A Parent’s Perspective—Why My Son Attended His Own IEP Meetings

IEP Meeting - Individualized Education Program

My son Jay was identified with multiple learning disabilities when he was just a toddler. When he was admitted to a school in New York for special education students, no one knew whether he could ever learn to read. I do not know where in his soul he found the drive and motivation, but he learned to do what many people said could not be done—he learned to read at age nine.

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Top 10 Things to Know About IEPs

Top 10 IEP FactsIf your child is struggling in school because of a learning disability (LD), an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) might be an option to support his or her K–12 educational needs. Every public school child who receives special education and related services must have an IEP, and it’s hard to understate just how important this document is—it’s the cornerstone of a quality education for many students with disabilities.

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Developing a Successful 504 Plan for K-12 Students

Developing - 504 PlansA 504 Plan can be an effective way to support a K-12 student in the regular classroom when the child’s learning disability (LD) or Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD) may not be impacting their learning in ways that qualify them for special education services, but when it still substantially limits them in performing one or more major life activity (e.g. reading, writing, thinking, concentrating, etc.) as required under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

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A Parent’s Perspective—Prior Written Notice

IEP Meeting-Idividualized Education Program My name is Alex, and I am the father of twin second graders, Holly and Josh, who attend elementary school in Delaware. Holly and Josh were born 12 weeks premature. Their pre-maturity resulted in both children having hydrocephalous as well as various learning disabilities. I have participated in IEP meetings for five years starting when Holly and Josh were three years old.

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Four Important Signs That Your Child’s IEP Is Working

Signs - IEP WorkingThe Individualized Education Program (or IEP) lays out the school’s commitment to provide special education and related services to your child. Developed annually, an IEP must be tailored to the individual needs of your child, with your involvement and input. Once formulated, the IEP becomes your roadmap to track your child’s progress throughout the year.

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A Teacher’s Voice: IEPs, Self-Advocacy and My Teenage Students

Recently a senior at our high school in the Bronx, who we’ll call Maria, realized that there will be some huge changes when she starts college. The consistent attention, specialized instruction, and accommodations she is currently guaranteed by her Individualized Education Plan (IEP) will not simply be given to her. There is no streamlined system that mails her IEP to the institution of her choice—in fact, the services she qualifies for under IDEA will stop when she graduates.

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Student-Led IEP Meetings: Technology Puts Teens in the Driver’s Seat

IEP Meeting-Idividualized Education Program For the past several years, teachers and parents have been encouraged to let high school students in special education take a more active role in their own IEP meetings. When a high school student participates in this way, he develops and hones his self-advocacy and self-determination skills—skills critical for assuming more control over the direction of his future.

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Tips for Keeping an IEP Current

iep-meeting-teacher-and-student-in-libraryThe Individualized Education Program (IEP) is a formal commitment from the school that outlines the services and support it will provide to an eligible child in order for the child to benefit from the educational program. An IEP must be developed before a student can begin receiving special education services. It also must be reviewed and updated each year so that the child receives the most appropriate services he needs at that time.

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What Is “PLAAFP,” or “PLOP”?

What Is PLAAFP - IEPPLAAFP, or Present Level of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance (referred to in some states as “PLOP,” or Present Level of Performance) is, as an NCLD parent leader puts it, the heart, soul and fidelity of your child’s IEP. It details your child’s disability and how it impacts his or her ability to access and make progress in the general education curriculum. You know you have a well-written PLAAFP if a stranger can read it and understand everything about your child’s present levels and educational needs.

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Sample Letter: Regarding IEP Team Member Excusal

IEP Education - IEP Letter

IDEA 2004 provides that certain IEP team members can be excused from attending all or part of an IEP meeting. However, if a member requests excusal and his or her area of curriculum or related services will be discussed in the meeting, that member must notify the IEP team (which includes the parents), in writing, prior to the meeting. Parents must provide informed written consent for this type of excusal.

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What Are the Benefits of an IEP?

What are the Benefits of an IEP - Students with LDThe Individualized Education Program (IEP) is the key document for every child who is eligible for special education services. The IEP clearly states what the child’s needs are and how the school will deliver the necessary special education and related services to that student. This document represents the school's commitment of resources to your child. Here are some of the top benefits of having an IEP:

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Are You Overwhelmed by Your Child’s IEP?

IEP Scenarios - Overwhelmed ParentsGiven the complexity of the IEP and IEP process—and its importance to a child’s education—it’s understandable that parents often feel overwhelmed. In fact, the whole IEP process can be an emotional roller coaster, as we learned from a survey we conducted in 2012. We asked parents what feelings they have ever experienced during the IEP process. The results were eye-opening, with over half of respondents saying they felt overwhelmed, confused, powerless, and/or intimidated. On a more positive note, many of those surveyed said they felt (or had at some time felt) hopeful, confident, thankful, and trusting.

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A Parent's Perspective — Why My Son Attended His Own IEP Meetings (audio)

about learning disabilities–students with disabilities

In this Parent Perspective, Ilise, the mother of student with multiple learning disabilities discusses why she felt that her son Jay needed to attend every IEP meeting. She felt that If he was going to understand what was happening in his education, he had to be part of the process, and couldn't imagine a successful IEP without his buy-in.

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Standards-Based Individualized Education Programs (audio)

about learning disabilities–students with disabilitiesThis podcast features Dr. Margaret McLaughlin, Professor in the Department of Special Education and Associate Director of the Institute for the Study of Exceptional Children and Youth, University of Maryland and Laura Kaloi, NCLD's public policy advisor.

Dr. McLaughlin discusses the basics of Standards-Based Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), what they are, why they're important to parents, students, and schools, and how they differ from traditional IEPs.

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Is It Too Late for My Child to Get an IEP?

Students with LD - Too Late?It’s true that the earlier a child’s LD is identified and addressed, the greater his chances of success. However, there are many reasons why some children aren’t identified until middle school or high school. Depending on the type and severity of the specific LD and a child’s ability to compensate for it, some students don’t appear to struggle until their teen years. So don’t despair; make the most of special education services that are available while you can.

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Can I Transfer an IEP to a New School or Grade Level?

IEP - Transfer Schools/Grade LevelIs your child moving to a new school this year? A move like this—or even the jump to a new grade level—can be a stressful transition for you and your child. One concern: Perhaps you’re worried about how well the IEP, or Individualized Education Program, will make the transition along with your child and if the new school or teacher will even honor the IEP.

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Do I Have to Sign My Child’s IEP?

Students with LD - Do I Have to Sign My Child's IEPAfter the IEP team develops the initial IEP for your child, you and all other IEP team members will be asked to sign the document. By signing, you give your informed consent for the school to start providing special education services to your child. You don’t have to sign the IEP at the first IEP meeting. If you want to carefully review the IEP before signing, ask to take it home. (You can use the IEP Checklist to make sure your child’s IEP contains all the required elements.)

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A Parent’s Perspective: Pros and Cons of Bringing a Lawyer to the IEP Meeting

Legal Representation IEP MeetingLegal representation: Just thinking about it seems so overwhelming and off-putting for many parents. How bad does it really have to be before you decide that you need the help of an attorney to hold your hand (both literally and figuratively) through the IEP process? Well, I can tell you from experience that it has to be pretty awful to go to that extreme. I don’t think any parent really wants to believe they can’t get what their child actually needs from the school district without legal representation, but it’s sometimes the case.

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My Dream IEP Team

Dream IEP TeamThe following is an excerpt from the article “The IEP Team: The Law, the Reality, and the Dream,” by NCLD parent leader and educational advocate, Marcie Lipsitt.

The Dream IEP TeamIf only? Parents are there: confident, ready, and relaxed. I walk in as the educational advocate and am not viewed as an adversary or pit bull. All of your child’s service providers are in attendance, and if there are evaluation results, they are clear and easy for parents to understand. The special education administrator attends and remembers that special education is at no cost to you, the parent.

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