Skip to main content

Individualized Education Programs (IEPs)

An Individualized Education Program (IEP) is the foundation of special education services.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires public school districts to provide students with disabilities with a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). The IEP is legal documentation of how that FAPE is provided for a particular student across a program of special and related education services.

The IEP is a collaborative document developed between school and service personnel (which may include special education teachers, general education teachers, administrators, related services providers and others) and a student’s family. IEPs are reviewed by all parties multiple times throughout a year, with changes made as appropriate to ensure a student is meeting their educational goals.

“The essential function of an IEP is to set out a plan for pursuing academic and functional advancement” (Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District, 2017, p. 992).

© 2023 Council for Exceptional Children (CEC). All rights reserved.