An Individualized Education Program (IEP) is designed to accommodate the needs of special education students so that they can obtain educational benefit. In order to make sure this accommodation is up to date, regular reviews are critical. So how often is an IEP reviewed? The Department of Education requires annual reviews of IEPs, but parents or school districts may request an IEP review meeting at any point in the year. San Diego special education attorney Paul A. Hefley, Jr. helps parents with a variety of IEP matters - call his law office today at (619) 764-6168 with any questions you may have.
Annual IEP Review Requirements
The federal government requires that the IEP team reviews each special education student's IEP at least once per year. This is referred to as an annual IEP review. These IEP reviews generally take place during the regular academic school year.
How Parents Can Schedule More Frequent IEPs
While an annual review is a basic requirement, parents or school districts may choose to schedule more frequent IEP reviews—particularly if it becomes clear to parents or school district staff that a student's IEP requires modification in advance of an annual review. In California, school staff must hold an IEP meeting within 30 days of parental request for an IEP meeting.
Who is Involved in an Annual Review Meeting?
According to the National Association of Special Education Teachers, several different parties should participate in IEP Annual Review meetings:
- At least one parent or guardian
- The student, if appropriate
- At least one general education teacher if the student is participating or may be participating in a regular classroom
- At least one special education teacher
- At least one student study representative who is qualified to analyze how to best implement changes based on evaluation results
- A case manager
- A school district representative with decision-making authority
- Others with relevant professional expertise related to the student (at the discretion of the parent or school district)
Depending on the nature of the meeting, other participants may also be present, such as a school psychologist, guidance counselor, medical doctor, interpreter, legal advocate, or special education attorney if the parents wish to bring one.
What is Discussed During an Annual IEP Review Meeting?
Annual review meetings allow parents and educators to work together towards developing an IEP for the student. During this meeting, several key considerations are commonly discussed:
- The results of any re-evaluations of the student's needs
- Information about the student's educational needs, including info shared by parents or guardians
- Information gleaned from classroom assessments of the student
- Observations and evaluations by teachers, paraeducators, and other school staff members
- The student's projected needs for the upcoming school year
- A revision of goals and objectives, including the possible introduction of new ones
- Drafting of a program for the student, including supports, services, and placement
These are some of the most common discussion points in IEP review meetings, but each meeting will be tailored to the student's specific needs and may discuss other relevant matters as well, such as disruptive classroom behavior or absenteeism.
What Should Parents Do if They Disagree with the Recommendations of an IEP Annual Review?
Many annual review meetings for IEPs run smoothly, as both sides are in agreement on how to meet the needs of the student. However, sometimes parents disagree with the recommendations of the school district. When this happens, it is important for parents to make their concerns known to school staff immediately. In some instances, an open line of communication aid in resolving dispute—sometimes even before the IEP meeting has ended.
If no agreement can be made at the IEP meeting or afterwards, parents may wish to file a request a due process hearing with the California Office of Administrative Hearings (“OAH”) in order to resolve the dispute. You can learn more about what to do if there is an ongoing disagreement with IEP recommendations or how often is an IEP reviewed by contacting the Law Office of Paul A. Hefley Jr.
Can a Special Education Lawyer Attend an IEP Meeting?
Parents have the legal right to bring legal counsel with them to an IEP meeting. However, this may not always be necessary. Families who feel like school staff are failing to meet the needs of their child may consider hiring a special education lawyer, who can provide legal guidance and represent the family in IEP meetings and other proceedings.
If the school district is ignoring a family's concerns about their child's education, failing to provide proper accommodations based on the student's needs, or otherwise failing to provide a free appropriate public education (“FAPE”) for a special needs student, an attorney may be able to help in s variety of ways.
Contact a Special Education Lawyer For Answers on How Often Is An IEP Reviewed and Other Concerns
For many parents, the IEP process is a productive collaboration with school staff and the end result is the fulfillment of their child's special education needs. Others may feel that their child is not receiving the proper support they need and deserve, or that they have been unfairly deemed ineligible for special education and related services. Families who are struggling with IEP disputes, IEP eligibility concerns, and other special education issues should be aware of their legal rights. You can learn more about your family's rights and whether a lawyer can help by contacting the Law Office Paul A. Hefley Jr. at (619) 764-6168.