Individualized Education Plan (IEP)
The Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) is a plan or program developed to ensure that a child who has a disability identified under the law and is attending an elementary or secondary educational institution receives specialized instruction and related services.
The Individualized Education Program (IEP) serves as the framework for determining the meaning of the term “free appropriate public education” in the least restrictive environment, a term frequently referenced in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). IEPs must be developed and reviewed annually and must be in effect at the beginning of each school year. The IEP may be reviewed more than once a year if the parent or the district requests a review.
Difference between IEP & 504
Not all students who have disabilities require specialized instruction. For students with disabilities who do require specialized instruction, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) controls the procedural requirements, and an Individualized Education Program (IEP) is developed. The IDEA process is more involved than that of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and requires documentation of measurable growth. For students with disabilities who do not require specialized instruction but need the assurance that they will receive equal access to public education and services, a document is created to outline their specific accessibility requirements. Students with 504 Plans do not require specialized instruction, but, like the IEP, a 504 Plan should be updated annually to ensure that the student is receiving the most effective accommodations for his/her specific circumstances.