My first introduction to an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) was by my brother, Steve. He always had an IEP and I remember my parents having discussions about how to get him more speech services. This didn’t really connect or have meaning to my childhood self but it did start to lay a foundation for what my future would be.
I remember my mom reading “Our Brother has Down Syndrome” before Steve came to live with us as a foster child. My parents educated us about Down syndrome and things we might notice about Steve. Little did I know that 10 years later I would be pursuing a career in Special Education because of this inspiration.
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Steve’s adoption day picture from 1999 with the judge. In case you are wondering, I’m the one in the denim dress!
I knew IEPs from a family perspective but not from a teaching perspective. In college I added a Special Education major, along with my Elementary Education major, so I could understand both worlds. The world of IEPs felt intimidating and tiresome. They are long and wordy documents but at the heart of it, they ensure children with disabilities receive an appropriate education.
There are 5 main components in an IEP: Present Level of Performance, Goals, Services, Least Restrictive Environment, and the Accommodations. Here is the quick and simple overview of these components:
You can download this infographic here!
Steve now presents his IEP to Special Education classes at Eastern Mennonite University, to educate future teachers about IEPs and disabilities. He also works full-time and enjoys listening to music and playing with his nephews.
Steve in 2016
If this post didn’t answer your basic questions about an IEP, contact me!