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An Individualized Education Program (IEP) is created based upon the recommendations of the IEP team once eligibility is determined. IDEA identifies the following participants of the IEP team:

The public agency must ensure that the IEP Team for each child with a disability includes:

  • The parents of the child
  • Not less than one regular education teacher of the child (if the child is, or may be, participating in the regular education environment)
  • Not less than one special education teacher of the child, or where appropriate, not less than one special education provider of the child
  • A representative of the public agency (who has certain specific knowledge and qualifications)
  • An individual who can interpret the instructional implications of evaluation results and who may also be one of the other listed members
  • At the discretion of the parent or the agency, other individuals who have knowledge or special expertise regarding the child, including related services personnel as appropriate
  • Whenever appropriate, the child with a disability

In accordance with 34 CFR 300.321(a)(7), the public agency must invite a child with a disability to attend the child’s IEP Team meeting if a purpose of the meeting will be the consideration of the postsecondary goals for the child and the transition services needed to assist the child in reaching those goals under 34 CFR 300.320(b). [34 CFR 300.321(a) and (b)(1)] [20 U.S.C. 1414(d)(1)(B)]

Parents are crucial in the special education process and the language of IDEA highlights this point. As the above indicates, many students also participate in their own IEP’s, particularly as they begin to plan transition. This is a very important way for students to build self-advocacy skills. Families can choose to bring others to the IEP with them. It’s important, however, to be courteous and notify the school of additional participants ahead of time. Some parents/guardians want a friend there for moral support and to take notes. Some choose to bring another person who knows the student and can contribute to the information used to develop a plan. Advocates are also sometimes invited by families to help them in the IEP process. It is at the IEP meeting that the IEP team decides how to implement the IEP.

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