Individualized Education Program (IEP) is an acronym that most parents who attend an Admission, Review, and Dismissal (ARD) meeting for their child with a disability are familiar with. But I have discovered IEP can mean different things to different families.
Individualized Education Program – IEP
In the traditional definition, an IEP– or “Individualized Education Program”–is a written plan for a child with a disability who is eligible for special education. The plan is developed, reviewed, and revised by the school ARD committee. This committee is made up of the parents of the child and various school staff members. This is the most common way people use the term “IEP.”
I Expect Progress – I.E.P.
The second interpretation of the acronym is “I.E.P” which stands for “I Expect Progress.” When parents use “I.E.P.” in this context, they are expressing their expectations for their child. This is because each ARD committee must develop a statement of measurable annual academic and functional goals for a student. The committee will also draft a description of how progress toward those goals will be documented and tracked.
Parents use “I.E.P.” to indicate that they expect their child to make progress. They want to see the data the school is using to measure their child’s progress or lack of. And they want to see it as often as it is promised in the IEP plan.
The third interpretation for the acronym is “I.E.P.s,” or “Informed Empowered Parents.” This term refers to the parent of a child with disability.
Many “Informed Empowered Parents” may also be known for being “That Mom” or “That Dad.” People might use this term in a slightly negative way. However, I think being an “Informed Empowered Parent” is a great thing. I.E.P.s have a vision that gives them direction for their child’s future and guides the decisions they make. I.E.P.s also know their rights and the rights of their child. They research to find solutions for challenges facing their children and work to be team players with the ARD committee, as well as all the helpers in their child’s life.
To learn more about IEPs, you can visit the section on Education and Schools.