At a Glance: Anatomy of an IEP

By The Understood Team

323Found this helpful

Your child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) can be confusing to look at and read. But knowing what goes in it can help you make sense of it. Use this handy visual aid to boost your understanding of your child’s IEP.

323Found this helpful
At a Glance: Anatomy of an IEP

An Individualized Education Program (IEP) is a blueprint for your child’s special education experience. The plan spells out what services she’ll get for her learning and attention issues. Your child’s IEP may look long and complex. But IEPs tend to have many common elements. Below are some of the most important parts of many IEPs.

Student Information
The first page lists your child’s name, age, date of birth, grade and other details. It also includes a rundown of the IEP team.

Present Level of Educational Performance (PLOP, PLAAFP or PLP)
This describes your child’s current abilities, skills, weaknesses and strengths, and sometimes her social skills and behavior.

Annual Goals
These should consist of academic and functional skills that your child can reasonably accomplish during the school year. Each is broken down into shorter-term objectives.

Progress Reporting
Your child’s IEP plan states exactly how you’ll be told about her progress toward her annual goals.

Here, the IEP plan details:
1. What special education services your child will get and for how long
2. Any services outside the school year (like summer services she qualifies for)
3. Any “transition planning” to get your child ready for life after high school

Supplementary Aids and Services
The IEP plan specifies what accommodations your child will get in the learning environment—like a seat at the front of the class. It also details any modifications your child may have. These are changes to what’s expected of her—like less homework. This section will also include information about any assistive technology your child needs.

This section explains how and to what extent your child will be included in general education classes and other activities, including assessment tests.

Parent Consent
Many IEP plans have a signature line where you would officially agree to the plan. Keep in mind that you don’t have to give consent to the entire plan. You can use an addendum to give consent only to specific parts of the IEP plan.
Graphic of At a Glance: Anatomy of an IEP
Graphic of At a Glance: Anatomy of an IEP

About the Author

Understood Team Graphic

The Understood Team is composed of writers, editors and community moderators, many of whom have children with learning and attention issues.

Reviewed by

Portrait of Kelli Johnson

Kelli Johnson, M.A., is an educational speech-language pathologist, working with students from early childhood through 12th grade.

Did you find this helpful?

What’s New on Understood