The best way to secure an effective, appropriate, and complete IEP (Individualized Education Program) for your child is to know ahead of time what you want and what s/he needs.  Perhaps a simple proposition but crucial.


Follow these steps:

  1. Create a blueprint of the best possible program for your child.
  2. You are the superintendent and have all the power and resources – you create the program.
  3. No matter where you start, you will almost always end up a little below that – so start as high as possible.
  4. Your blueprint should include:
    1. A detailed description of the classroom/program you want for your child, including kind of class (regular class, special class etc.), # of students, age and cognitive range of students, whether they need to be students with the same challenges as your child, classroom strategies, curricula, what school.
    2. Other classroom needs:  for example maybe a quiet environment, or a small class in a small school.
    3. What support services, whether an aide, occupational therapy, physical therapy, psychological counseling, etc.   Details on how often, e.g., 2 times a week, 45 minutes each, 1:1 with a specialist trained in……
    4. Staff qualifications.
    5. Will your child be involved in general curriculum – full-time, some of the day, details about specific focus.
  5. Be sure to try to visit all possible options in your district before your IEP meeting so you can see how much of your blueprint can be met.
  6. Finally once you know what your child needs – the blueprint – you need to be able to prove s/he needs those items to ‘benefit from special education.”  In short you will need evidence of the need.