Individualized Education Plan (IEP)

Understanding Individual Education Plans (IEP) in California

An Individualized Education Program (IEP) is a personalized plan designed to address the educational needs of a student with a disability. IEPs are typically developed for students in the United States who qualify for special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Here are some key points about IEPs:

Purpose: The primary goal of an IEP is to ensure that students with disabilities receive an appropriate and inclusive education tailored to their unique needs. It outlines the specific services, accommodations, and goals required to support the student's learning.

Team Effort: Developing an IEP involves collaboration between educators, parents or guardians, and often specialists like speech therapists or occupational therapists. This team works together to assess the student's needs and create a plan.

Components: An IEP typically includes information about the student's current performance levels, measurable goals, the special education services they will receive, any related services (like speech therapy), and accommodations or modifications to the curriculum or classroom environment.

Annual Review: IEPs are reviewed at least annually to assess progress and make necessary adjustments. Changes can be made to the goals, services, or accommodations based on the student's development.

Legal Protection: IEPs are legally binding documents that provide legal protections to students with disabilities. They ensure that students receive a "free and appropriate public education" (FAPE) as mandated by IDEA.

Eligibility: To qualify for an IEP, a student must have a disability that falls under one of the categories defined by IDEA, and this disability must impact their educational performance.


Children with Disabilities 


IEPs play a crucial role in supporting students with disabilities in their academic journey by tailoring educational plans to their specific needs and helping them access appropriate educational services and accommodations.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) recognizes several disabilities, including but not limited to:

1. Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD): This category includes conditions like dyslexia, dysgraphia, and dyscalculia.
2. Speech or Language Impairments: These encompass difficulties in communication, such as stuttering or expressive language disorders.
3. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD): This category includes a range of developmental disorders affecting social interaction and communication.
4. Intellectual Disabilities (ID): Formerly referred to as mental retardation, this category includes significant limitations in intellectual functioning.
5. Emotional Disturbance (ED): This category covers emotional or behavioral issues that interfere with a child's learning.
6. Other Health Impairments (OHI): Conditions like ADHD, epilepsy, or chronic health conditions can fall under this category.
7. Hearing Impairments: This includes both deafness and hearing impairments that affect educational performance.
8. Visual Impairments: This category includes blindness and visual impairments that impact learning.
9. Orthopedic Impairments: Conditions affecting mobility or physical abilities are covered here.
10. Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): This refers to brain injuries resulting from an accident or injury.
11. Deaf-Blindness: This category applies to individuals who have both hearing and visual impairments that impact their educational needs.


Assessments Used to Determine Eligibility 

There are a variety of assessments schools can use to determine what your child's needs are: 

• Psycho-educational assessment by a school psychologist - 

A variety of tests to determine education issues: 


  • Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Children (WISC)
  • Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Cognitive Abilities
  • Cognitive Assessment System (CAS)


  • Kaufman Test of Educational Achievement (KTEA)
    Peabody Individual Achievement Test
    Wechsler Individual Achievement Test

Auditory Processing:

  • Test of Auditory Processing (TAPS)
  • Comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing (CTOPP)

Visual Processing:

  • Developmental Test of Visual Processing (TVPS)


  • Test of Everyday Attention
  • Connors Attention Scales


  • Behavior Assessment System for Children (BASC)

Speech/Language Assessments by a Speech Pathologist

  • Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals
  • Comprehensive Assessment of Spoken Language
  • Goldman-Fristoe
  • Oral & Written Language Scales

Fine Motor/Sensory Processing Assessment by an Occupational Therapist

Vocational Skills by a School Psychologist

Educationally Related Mental Health Services by a Behavioral Specialist:        

Based on the issues you are noticing with your child, you can request that the school conduct any one or all of the assessments listed above.

Contact a Special Education Attorney in Los Angeles Today

At Bowen & Kennedy, P.C., we pride ourselves on having a special education advocacy team featuring members who have years of experience advising families about special education services, programs, and eligibility requirements. The rights of both parents and children are integral to any case involving a person who receives special education services. Contact us today at 866-372-0569 or complete our online form to schedule a confidential Free 30 minute consultation .

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