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(4.1) What is an Individualized Education Program (IEP) and how do I request one for my child?

(4.1) What is an Individualized Education Program (IEP) and how do I request one for my child?

An IEP is a written statement that describes your child’s present levels of performance, learning goals, school placement, and services. [34 Code of Federal Regulations (C.F.R.) Sec. 300.320.] In order to obtain an IEP, your child must first be evaluated. To request an evaluation, write a letter to the district special education director/coordinator, with a copy to your child’s teacher and principal. Tell them that you are concerned about your child’s educational progress. Say that you are making a referral for assessment for special education services. You may also want to let the district know that you look forward to receiving an assessment plan within 15 days from the district’s receipt of your letter. See Sample Letter Request for IEP Meeting, Appendices Section – Appendix H.

Keep a copy of this request and any other correspondence with the school district. If you call or speak to school staff to make a referral, school district personnel must help you put your request in writing. If the school district refers your child for special education, it is still critical that you follow up with your own written request. Your written request for a referral will ensure that assessment and IEP timelines are followed. [California Education Code (Cal. Ed. Code) Secs. 56029, 56302.1, 56321(a); 5 California Code of Regulations (C.C.R.) Sec. 3021(a).] In your referral letter, you should also request that your child be assessed under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (“Section 504”) to determine whether your child might be eligible for services under that law. If eligible, the school district may be required to provide reasonable accommodations and/or services, including special education services, to allow your child to benefit from school like children without disabilities. These accommodations and/or services may be important if your child does not qualify for special education, or if such accommodations and/or services are, for some reason, not provided under special education. [ OCR Memorandum, Letter to Veir, 19 IDELR 876 (April 29, 1993).] See Chapter 1, Information on Basic Rights and Responsibilities and Chapter 3, Information on Eligibility Criteria.