A student may be placed in:
- a regular classroom and receive program modifications
- a regular classroom and receive program modifications and also receive additional support from the special education teacher
- a regular classroom for a part of the day and a special education classroom for the remainder of the day
- a special education classroom with a variety of direct and indirect support from special education teachers and consultative support staff
- a treatment program or residential program with complete and ongoing support from a variety of staff.
Regardless of the placement of the student, an IEP will be in place. The contents of the IEP can vary from state to state and country to country, however, most will require the following:
- The date the plan will be implemented along with the date that the placement of the student became effective.
- A signature from the parent and depending upon the age of the student, it too may be required.
- The exceptionality of the student or the multiple exceptionalities of the student.
- Health issues will also be noted if they are applicable.
- Personalized equipment that is required for the student to function must be stated and any equipment that may be on loan to the student must also be included on the IEP.
- Any equipment that is used on a regular basis, such as a walker or a feeding chair.
- Personnel that may be involved during the time that the IEP is in effect must also be listed. For instance, the vision resource specialist or the physical therapist etc.
- Curricular modifications and or curricular accommodations should be contained in the IEP.
- The amount of support that the student will receive must be listed. For instance, if the student will be in the regular class for physical education, science, social studies, art and music - yet for language and math they will receive support in the special education classroom for 30% of their day, or it may simply state that special education will provide language support for 30 minutes a day in the morning.
- The IEP should list the student's strengths and interests also. This will help to provide motivation when programming for the student and is something that anyone working with the student should know about.
- Standardized assessment results and or scores should all be identified in the IEP.
- Academic functioning along with the date also needs to be listed. For instance, if the student is in the 5th grade but is functioning academically at the second grade, this too needs to be noted. If there are supporting tests used to determine grade functioning, those scores should also be included along with the date the tests were conducted.
- All subject areas requiring modifications or additional support should be listed.
- Grade levels should also be included. If the student is working at grade level in everything except math - this needs to be noted.
- Goals, Expectations and Performance Standards should be clearly identified with very specific details.
- Strategies for how the student will achieve the goals or expectations must also be very clearly stated.
- Evaluation comments should be added throughout the year as the IEP is a working document. It should be noted when something isn't working in the IEP and suggestions for improvement can then be added.
- Parents and students (if applicable) should have a copy of the IEP and the IEP is stored in a secure place at the school.
Close communication with parents is essential!