In New Jersey, as well as other states across the country, an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is a written document that outlines a child’s (with a special need or disability) education, ages 3-21. The plan is tailored specifically to the individual student, so they receive maximum educational benefit. The key word is individual. A program that is appropriate for one student, may not be right for another.
For a child with a disability, the IEP is the cornerstone for their education. It identifies the services that a child needs so that he/she can grow and learn during the school year in a manner that recognizes their disability and challenges. An IEP is also a legal document that outlines three key topics:
- The child’s special education plan that includes their goals for the school year
- Services needed to help the child reach those goals
- A strategy to evaluate the student’s success and progress