An Individualized Education Program (IEP) is a plan set up between educators and parents to develop personalized services for children with disabilities or delayed skills in the children's schools. It is then used to ensure that the children with an IEP get proper assistance so they are taught in a way that is beneficial to them and are prepared to succeed in school. Parents and educators meet throughout the school year to discuss the IEP and their children's progress.
Impairments of hearing, vision, language and speech are common reasons for an IEP in school. Children with total, partial or even a mild hearing loss or a partial or full visual impairment qualify for an IEP since inadequate hearing and vision often make it harder for children to function in a typical classroom setting. Language and speech impairments in children are among the most common reasons children need an IEP in school. Children with these impairments find it difficult to communicate their feelings through speaking.
Children with various learning disabilities benefit greatly from an IEP in school. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a behavioral disorder that causes children to have problems with learning because they are unable to focus well on their studies. Dyslexia is a disorder that causes children to find it difficult to process language and often makes spelling, reading and writing a challenge. Dyspraxia, a learning disorder that involves problems with fine motor skills, causes children to struggle with balance, hand-eye coordination and dexterity.
Autistic children are given an IEP to make the learning environment more fitting to their needs. Autism is a developmental disorder of the brain that causes communication to be difficult. Many autistic children have trouble expressing themselves and relating to fellow students. Asperger's syndrome is a developmental disorder that makes it difficult to interact with others socially. Children with Asperger's syndrome usually have normal intelligence and language but still benefit from an IEP since they struggle with interaction. An IEP can help families of autistic and Asperger's children express their children's needs and ensure that everything possible is being done at the school to meet those needs.
IEP meetings normally take place between the educators of a child's school and the parents at various times throughout the school year. An initial meeting is used to discuss findings of tests, speak about special education services available and develop the IEP. After an IEP is established and started, parents meet again with educators on an annual basis to review goals and objectives. Parents learn about progress that has or is being made and work with educators to make goals for the future. A triennial meeting is held every three years to talk with parents about the assessment of their child's abilities over the past three years, if the child continues to be eligible for special education services and placement of that child.
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