Individualized Education Program (IEP) Information

An Individualized Education Program (IEP) is defined as:

a legal statement developed for each public school child with a disability that describes the student’s special educational learning program.

Each IEP outlines the special education goals, services, and supports of a child who has been determined to have a disability and is in need of special education. This document is reviewed annually to determine if changes in services and supports are needed.

ACHIEVE Notice for Parents with Students on IEPs – 4-1-2022

IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) 

Under the IDEA Act, every student is entitled to a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment (LRE) through their local school district from age 3 to age 21. To ensure a FAPE, an IEP team of professionals meet with the student’s parents to identify the student’s unique educational needs, develop annual goals for the student, and determine the placement, program modification, testing accommodations, counseling, and other special services that the student needs. These choices are recorded in a written Individualized Educational Program (IEP). Our district is required to develop and implement an IEP that meets the standards of federal and state educational agencies. 

Understanding IEP’s and Special Education Terms 

The following list contains special education terms, definitions, and acronyms that are commonly used by the Sioux City Community School District SPED Department during the IEP evaluation and planning process. 

Adapted Physical Education (APE): Specially designed physical education program, using accommodations designed to fit the needs of students who require developmental or corrective instruction in PE. 
Accessible Instructional Materials/Accessible Educational Materials (AIM/AEM): Materials that provide the same educational information found in textbooks, pamphlets, etc. in a different format. Examples include Braille, large print, audio, and digital text. (May also be referred to as AIM; AEM is the newer, broader term for accessible materials.)
Accommodation: Accommodations are supports or services provided to assist a student with the general curriculum or demonstrated learning. Accommodations allow a person with a disability to participate fully in an activity. Examples include extended time, different test formats, and alterations to a classroom. 
Age of Majority: The age at which a student gains the right to make his/her own decisions, including those related to education. In Iowa, this happens at age 18 or when a person gets married.
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): A federal civil rights law that protects people with disabilities at work, school, and in public places.
Anxiety in Children: Defined as extreme agitation, filled with tension and dread. Anxiety is different than fear. Children with anxiety may or may not qualify for special education. Those who need modifications to their school day can achieve this through a 504 plan.
Area Education Agency (AEA): The state of Iowa is divided into nine AEA’s. Each AEA provides local school districts with support and assistance.
Assessment or Evaluation: Describes the testing and diagnostic processes leading up to the development of an appropriate IEP for a student with special education needs. 
Assistive Technology (AT): Any service or device, including software or equipment, that helps people work around their challenges. Examples include pencil grips, text to speech, or word prediction software.
Asperger’s Syndrome: A type of pervasive developmental disorder (PDD) that involves delays in the development of basic skills, including socializing, coordination, and the ability to communicate. 
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder/Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD/ADHD): Attention deficit disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are medical conditions characterized by a child’s inability to focus while possessing impulsivity, fidgeting, and inattention. This disorder affects attention, self-control, and may include hyperactivity, which can cause a range of behavior issues such as difficulty attending to instruction, focusing on schoolwork, keeping up with assignments, following instructions, completing tasks, and social interaction.
Augmentative and Alternative Communication (ACC): A means of communicating ideas and feelings that do not involve speaking. Examples include sign language, pictures, mobile devices, and speech-generating devices.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD): A brain development disorder that impacts how a person perceives and socializes with others, causing problems in social interaction and communication.S igns usually begin before a child is 3 years old. 
Behavior Disorder (BD): A disorder that impacts a child’s education and social relationships. This may include disorders such as anxiety, disruptive behavioral disorders, emotional disorders, etc.
Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP):  A written plan designed to increase (reinforce) positive behaviors and decrease problem behaviors. This plan is developed by reviewing the results of a Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA), It may include program modifications and supplementary aids and services. 
Bipolar Disorders: Characterized by cycles of mania alternating with depression. It is difficult to diagnose children with this disorder and often controversial. 
Blindness: Condition defined by lacking visual perception due to physiological or neurological factors.
Cerebral Palsy (CP): A series of motor problems and physical disorders related to brain injury. CP causes uncontrollable reflex movements and muscle tightness and may cause problems in balance and depth perception. Severe cases can result in mental retardation, seizures, or vision and hearing problems. 
Child Find: The process used to identify and evaluate students for special education services.
Child Health Specialty Clinics (CHSC): A community-based public health agency located at the University of Iowa, with satellite offices statewide, that serves Iowa children and youth with special health care needs.
Child Outcome Summary Process (COS): A summary of a child’s functioning in each of the following three child outcome areas:
• Positive social-emotional skills, including social relationships
• Acquisition and use of knowledge and skills, including early language/communication and early literacy
• Use of appropriate behaviors to meet their needs
Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs (CYSHCN): Children and youth who have or are at increased risk of developing chronic conditions and require services beyond those required by others of the same age.
Common Core Standards: A shared set of evidence-based national standards developed through state-led initiatives.  Common Core is designed to have fewer, simplified standards. They were created by the National Governors Association and the Council of Chief State School Officers. Officials from 48 states participated in the process to develop the standards over several years. 
Complaint Procedure: A formal complaint filed with the County or State Board of Education if a district violates a legal duty or fails to follow a requirement under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
Cumulative File: The records maintained by the local school district for any child enrolled in school. The file may contain evaluations and information about a child’s disability and placement. It also contains grades and the results of standardized assessments. Parents have the right to inspect these files at any time. 
Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): The United States’ health protection agency whose focus is to save lives and protect people from health, safety, and security threats.
Deaf or Hard of Hearing (DHH): A hearing loss that impacts an individual’s life.
Department of Human Services (DHS): Iowa’s agency that provides public assistance programs to the state’s residents in the areas of:
• Assistance programs
• Family services
• Health care
• Mental health and disability services
Designated Instruction Services (DIS): Instruction and services not normally provided by regular classes, resource specialist programs, or special day classes. They include speech therapy and adaptive physical education. 
Developmental Delay/Developmental Disability (DD): An impairment in physical, learning, language, and/or behavior impacting day-to-day functioning, typically lasting throughout a person’s lifetime.
Differential Standards for Graduation: Standards for graduation that may be modified for students with exceptional needs. 
Disability Suspect (DS): A term indicating that a disability is suspected that may be impacting a child’s performance in school. This would trigger the need for a Full and Individual Initial Evaluation (IEE).
Division of Child and Community Health, University of Iowa (DCCH): A division of the Carver College of Medicine that focuses on child health with an approach that recognizes the importance of family, school, and community to a child’s health.
Due Process: A special education term used to describe the process where parents may disagree with the program recommendations of the school district. The notice must be given in writing within 30 days. IDEA provides two methods for resolving disputes, mediation or fair hearing. 
Early ACCESS (EA): Iowa’s system for providing early intervention services for infants and toddlers, birth to age 3, with a developmental delay or disability. This program includes support to parents to help their children learn and grow.
Early Childhood (EC): Services and programs provided to children ages 3–5.
Early Childhood Iowa (ECI): Programs across the state which provide support to achieve proven results for children ages 0–5 and their families.
Early Childhood Outcomes (ECO): The goal of early intervention and early childhood special education is to enable young children with disabilities to be active and successful participants during their early childhood years and in the future. The three Early Childhood Outcomes areas include:
• Positive social-emotional skills (social relationships)
• Acquires and uses knowledge and skills (early language/communication)
• Uses appropriate behaviors to meet their needs
Early Childhood Special Education (ESCE): Services and supports for children with special needs ages 3–5 that are provided by AEAs and local school districts.
Early Intervention: Programs for developmentally delayed infants and toddlers through 35 months of age; designed to help prevent problems as the child matures. 
Educational Evaluation Report (EER): A document that shows the results of an initial evaluation used by the team to report their evaluation findings.
Eligible Individual (EI): In Iowa, the term ‘eligible individual’ is used to describe any student who has been determined to be eligible for special education services and/or supports and who has an IFSP/IEP.
Emotional Disturbance/ Emotional Disorder/ Emotional Disability (ED): A condition exhibiting one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to such a degree that it negatively affects a child’s educational performance:
• An inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors
• An inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers
• Inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances
• A general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression
• A tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems
English Language Learner (ELL): A student for whom English is not their first language. This student is in the process of becoming proficient in the English language.
Extended School Year Services (ESY/ESYS): An extended school year is a component of special education services for students with unique needs who require services in excess of the regular academic year at no cost to the parent or child. The extended year often refers to summer school.
Family & Educator Partnership (FEP): A program that develops and sustains partnerships between families, educators, and community providers to promote success for all children and youth with disabilities.
Free & Appropriate Public Education (FAPE): Special education and related services that are appropriate for a student’s unique needs. These services are provided at public expense, without charge to the parents, and are guaranteed under IDEA.
Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA): A problem-solving process for addressing inappropriate behavior. 
Head Start (HS): A program that provides comprehensive early childhood education, health, nutrition, and parent involvement services to low-income children and families.
Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA): A federal law that ensures the confidentiality and security of an individual’s protected health information (PHI).
Hearing Impairment: Full or partial decrease in the ability to detect or understand sounds. 
Home/Hospital Instruction: Students with verified medical conditions, which prevent them from attending school, may receive services on a temporary basis in the home or hospital with a physician’s referral.
Inclusion: Term used to describe services that place students with disabilities in general education classrooms with appropriate support services. Students may receive instruction from both a general education teacher and a special education teacher. 
Individual Health Plan (IHP): A document that outlines necessary services to address a student’s health needs at school. An emergency health plan may be included if determined necessary by the team.
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 2004): The original legislation was written in 1975 guaranteeing students with disabilities a free and appropriate public education and the right to be educated with their non-disabled peers. Congress has reauthorized this federal law. The most recent revision occurred in 2004. 
Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE): A school district is required by law to conduct assessments for students who may be eligible for special education. If the parent disagrees with the results of a school district’s evaluation conducted on their child, they have the right to request an independent educational evaluation. The District must provide parents with information about how to obtain an IEE. An independent educational evaluation means an evaluation conducted by a qualified examiner who is not employed by the school district or the AEA. Public expense means the school district pays for the full cost of the evaluation and that it is provided at no cost to the parent. 
Individualized Education Program Team: Term used to describe the committee of parents, teachers, administrators, and school personnel that provides services to the student. The committee may also include medical professionals and other relevant parties. The team reviews assessment results to determine goals and objectives and program placement for the child needing services. 
Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP): A process of providing early intervention services for children ages 0-3 with special needs. Family-based needs are identified and a written plan is developed and reviewed periodically. 
Individualized Transition Plan (ITP): This plan starts at age 14 and addresses areas of post-school activities, post-secondary education, employment, community experiences, and daily living skills.
Initial Evaluation/ Child Find: A process to evaluate a child who is suspected of having a disability and who is potentially eligible for special education.
Initial IEP: An IEP that is developed once a child has been determined to have a disability and is in need of special education services.
Intellectual Disability (ID): Significant limitations in both intellectual functioning and in adaptive behavior, which covers many everyday social and practical skills.
Iowa Administrative Code (IAC): All rules are adopted and administered by the executive branch agencies to implement state law and policy.
Iowa Department of Education (IDOE/IDE/DE): The education agency for the state of Iowa.
Iowa Department of Public Health (IDHP): A partnership of local public health, non-profit organizations, health care providers, policymakers, businesses, and others working together to protect and improve the health of Iowans.
Iowa IDEA Information (i3): An online and accessible platform for procedures, guidance, and resources related to Early Intervention and Special Education.
Iowa Vocational Rehabilitation Services (IVRS): Iowa’s state vocational rehabilitation program provides individualized services to Iowans with disabilities to achieve their independence through successful employment and economic support.
Learning Disability/Specific Learning Disability (LD/SLD): An umbrella term for a variety of learning problems. These typically fall into three categories:
• Dyslexia (reading issues)
• Dysgraphia (writing issues)
• Dyscalculia (math issues)
Least Restrictive Environment (LRE): The placement of a special needs student in a manner promoting the maximum possible interaction with the general school population. Placement options are offered on a continuum including regular classrooms with no support services, regular classrooms with support services, designated instruction services, special day classes, and private special education programs. 
Local Education Agency (LEA): Term used to describe a school district.
Mainstreaming: Term used to describe the integration of children with special needs into regular classrooms for part of the school day. The remainder of the day is in a special education classroom. 
Manifestation Determination: Within 10 school days of any decision to change the placement of a child with a disability because of a violation of school code, the IEP team must review all relevant information in the student’s file to determine if the conduct in question was caused by the child’s disability or if the conduct was a direct result of the school district’s failure to implement the child’s IEP. 
Mental Retardation (now referred to as Intellectually Disabled): This term has recently been changed. This disorder is characterized by below-average cognitive functioning in two or more adaptive behaviors with onset before age 18. 
Modification: Changes made to the context and performance standards for students with disabilities. It changes the playing field for a student.
Multiple Disabilities: An IEP term used to define a combination of disabilities that causes severe educational needs that require multiple special education programs such as mental retardation with blindness.  
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): OCD is an anxiety disorder that presents itself as recurrent, persistent obsessions, or compulsions. Obsessions are intrusive ideas, thoughts, or images while compulsions are repetitive behaviors or mental acts that the child feels they must perform. 
Occupational Therapy (OT): Provides help for people to fully engage in all aspects of life, including school, work, and play. Examples could be assistance in areas of daily living such as cooking, dressing, eating, or driving.
Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD): A child who defies authority by disobeying, talking back, arguing or being hostile in a way that is excessive compared to other children and this pattern continues for more than six months may be determined to have ODD. ODD often occurs with other behavioral problems such as ADHD, learning disabilities, and anxiety disorders.
Orthopedic Impairment: Term used to define impairments caused by congenital anomaly, impairments by diseases, and impairments by other cause
Other Health Impaired: Term used to describe limited strength, vitality, and alertness that results in limited ability in the educational environment. Impairment could be a result of chronic health problems such as asthma, attention deficit disorder, epilepsy, a heart condition, hemophilia, leukemia, nephritis, rheumatic fever, and sickle cell anemia. 
Parent Consent: Special education term used by IDEA that states you have been fully informed in your native language or other modes of communication of all the information about the action for which you are giving consent and that you understand and agree in writing to that action. 
Physical Therapists: Provide consultation and support to staff to improve a student’s educational performance related to functional gross motor development. 
Residential and Private Placements: Part B of IDEA does not require a school district to pay for the cost of education for your disabled child at a private school or facility if the school district made free appropriate public education available to your child and you chose to place your child in a private placement. 
Resource Specialists: Provide instructional planning and support and direct services to students whose needs have been identified in an IEP and are assigned to general education classrooms for the majority of their school day. 
Resource Specialist Program (RSP): Term used to describe a program that provides instruction, materials, and support services to students with identified disabilities who are assigned to general classrooms for more than 50% of their school day. 
School Psychologist: Assists in the identification of intellectual, social, and emotional needs of students. They provide consultation and support to families and staff regarding behavior and conditions related to learning. They plan programs to meet the special needs of children and often serve as a facilitator during an IEP meeting. 
Sensory Processing Disorder: A complex brain disorder that causes a child to misinterpret everyday sensory information like movement, sound, and touch. Children with SPD may seek out intense sensory experiences or feel overwhelmed with information. 
Specific Learning Disability: Special education term used to define a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or using language spoken or written that may manifest itself in an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell or do mathematical equations. 
Speech and Language Impairments: Communication disorders such as stuttering, impaired articulation, language impairment, or voice impairment. 
Speech and Language Specialists: Assesses students for possible delayed speech and language skills and provides direct services in the area of phonology, morphology, syntax, semantics, and pragmatics. They are also available regarding hearing impairments and amplification. 
SSDI: Social security disability insurance benefits are provided to qualified individuals who cannot engage in substantial gainful work activity because of a disability and who have paid into the system or has a parent who has paid into the Social Security system. 
SSI: Supplemental Security Income benefits are provided to qualified individuals who cannot engage in substantial gainful work activity because of a disability and who fall below certain assets and income levels. 
Special Day Class (SDC): Term used to describe a self-contained special education class that provides services to students with intensive needs that cannot be met by the general education program, RSP, or DIS program. Classes consist of more than 50% of the student’s day. 
Student Study Team (SST): A group that evaluates a child’s performance, makes recommendations for success, and develops a formal plan. The team includes the classroom teacher, parents, and educational specialists. They may make a recommendation for a special education evaluation. 
Tourette’s Syndrome: Disorder that includes multiple motor and one or more vocal tics, which occur many times per day, nearly daily. If a child has Tourette’s syndrome, symptoms tend to appear between the ages of 3-10 years old. 
Traumatic Brain Injury: An acquired injury to the brain caused by an external physical force resulting in total or partial functional disability or psychosocial impairment. Applies to open or closed head injuries. 
Transition IEP: IDEA mandates that at age 16, the IEP must include a statement about transition including goals for post-secondary activities and the services needed to achieve these goals. This is referred to as an Individual Transition Plan or (ITP). 
Turner’s Syndrome: This rare genetic disorder affects females and is characterized by the absence of an X chromosome. Characteristics include small stature, limited development of sexual characteristics, low hairline, and abnormal eye and bone development. 
Visual Impairment: Impairment in vision that even with correction adversely affects a child’s educational performance. 
Vision Specialists: Provide consultation and support to staff and direct instructional support to students with visual impairments. They provide functional vision assessments and curriculum modifications including Braille, large type, and aural media. 
Workability Program: These programs focus on preparing high school students with disabilities for a successful transition to employment, continuing education, and quality adult life with an emphasis on work-based learning opportunities.