What is an individual education plan?
An IEP is a written plan to help support student learning and achievement. It is a working document which describes the strengths and needs of a particular student, as well as the special education program and services the student is receiving within the resources available to the school board.
The IEP summarizes the following:
- assessment data
- student strengths and needs
- accommodations (strategies that will help the student access the curriculum and demonstrate learning)
- special education services provided to the student
- annual goals, program modifications (changes required to grade-level expectations in the Ontario Curriculum), and alternative programming
- a transition plan for appropriate post-secondary activities such as work, further education, and community living (only for students 14 years of age and older who are not identified solely as gifted)
How does an IEP work?
The IEP process consists of three phases:
- Developing the plan
- Implementing the plan
- Reviewing and updating the plan
As the parent/guardian/student, what role do I play?
Parents/guardians play an important role in the IEP process. It is beneficial to understand and participate in all three phases of the IEP process. Parents/guardians and students older than 16 years must be consulted in the development and review of the IEP when required, and are often involved at other points of the year. You will have the opportunity to sign the Parent/Guardian Contact Form and provide feedback to the school.
Consultation may take the form of:
- telephone calls
- part of regularly scheduled parent/teacher conferences
- formal meeting(s)
Please inform the school of your preferred form of consultation and whether you wish to respond to the school's draft of the IEP or want to be more involved in the development of the IEP.
Beginning with your child's strengths and needs is an important first step. You can help by:
- including your child in the discussions
- telling the teacher what you hope your child will accomplish this year
- sharing information about your child with the school
Implementing the IEP
There are many things parents can do at home to help their child reach his/her goals.
- Talk to the teacher about what they are trying to accomplish
- Support your child's goals at home
- Take the opportunity to communicate with the teacher
- Provide additional insights and resources to the school
- Share significant personal/family events as relevant
Reviewing and Updating the IEP
An IEP will be reviewed every reporting period and sent home a minimum of two times a year. Your child's IEP and his/her progress towards his/her goals will be reviewed after each Identification, Placement and Review Committee (IPRC) meeting as well as at other points during the year.
You will be consulted after every IPRC and a copy of the IEP will be sent home within thirty (30) school days of the date your child starts or continues in a special education program (IPRC placement date).
During the review, if changes are required in teaching strategies, accommodations, modifications, or services, you will also be consulted in the updating of the IEP.
You may wish to consider making a portfolio of information for your child's teacher using the following categories:
Physical: medical information, athletic abilities, self-care, gross and fine-motor skills, abilities at home
Intellectual: strategies that have or haven't worked, communication strategies
Educational: assessments, learning styles, examples of work and abilities
Emotional: motivation, disposition, emotional well-being
Cultural: cultural and language considerations, interests
Social: social skills, schoolyard interactions, peers and adult interactions, extracurricular
Community Services: describe services, other
How can I help in the IEP process?
Students are most successful when everyone works together towards achievable goals.
As a parent/guardian:
- keep the focus on your child at all times
- tell the teacher the hopes you have for your child's learning
- bring ideas and information
- ask questions
- value everyone's input
For further information please contact:
Special Education Department
New Street Education Centre
3250 New Street,
Burlington, Ontario L7N 1M8