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Common Questions about Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) in New York

New York Special Education Lawyers Help You Secure Proper Instruction for Your Child

Your child has rights. You’re not afraid to fight for them, either.

But navigating the complex rules and regulations around special education is overwhelming.

The cornerstone of federal special education law is the Individualized Education Program, or IEP, that each child must receive. Having a tailored plan might sound like a simple concept, but the implementation of it—or fighting the lack thereof—gets complicated.

There’s a way for you to bring strength to your mission to get what’s best for your child. The Cuddy Law Firm, with offices in New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and North Carolina, has dedicated special education attorneys who know what you’re going through and how to get results for your child.

You probably have questions about IEPs. It’s natural. We strive to be a resource for you by providing answers below.

And if you’re looking for help with your specific situation, we can be your IEP advocate.

If your child’s school is failing to manage his or her IEP correctly, call the Cuddy special education law firm for help getting the situation resolved.
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What Is An IEP?

According to the federal special education law, special needs children are entitled to a “free, appropriate public education (FAPE).

The Individualized Education Program, or IEP, is the main tenet of that guarantee.

It’s a plan tailored to your child’s educational needs and what services he or she will require. It’s formed jointly between parents, teachers and school officials.

It’s intended to be extremely detailed. It evaluates where your child is when the plan is written and what the academic goals will be.

What Is an IEP meeting?

The IEP meeting is one of the most important steps in creating your child’s IEP.

This is a gathering of a team for your child—parents, teachers and school administrators—to plan out strategies and services for your child’s learning.

In this meeting, educators should discuss what they’ve found in assessing your child, the learning areas that need attention, and the most appropriate methods for addressing your child’s particular situation.

You should get the opportunity to give input on the needs you see for your child—as the person who knows your child the best—and ask questions, review the plans educators produce, and consent to a plan.

What are the Individualized Education Program components?

Every child is different, which means every IEP is different. Here are some of the common things each plan should include:

  • Information about the child and his or her current performance
  • State and district test results?
  • How the school will measure progress over time
  • Annual academic goals
  • Accommodations such as equipment, small-group instruction, individual attention, visual aids, etc., that a child should receive
  • Details of the special education services and programs your child will have access to
  • The degree to which your child will participate in activities with students who aren’t receiving special education
  • Once they are 16, a plan for how your child will make the transition out of high school

After the IEP is created, the parents must consent. After that, services should start immediately.

Do I need an IEP lawyer at the meeting?

You’re not required to have a lawyer at your IEP meeting.

You may want a special education lawyer there if you feel that school officials haven’t been treating you fairly or well, if you think the meeting may become confrontational, or if you’re worried educators will overwhelm you with information you don’t understand.

If you have a positive relationship with your child’s school, you may not need or want an IEP lawyer at the meeting because you don’t want to appear unnecessarily adversarial.

You can always consult with a lawyer beforehand to prepare the questions and requests for services that you will bring into the meeting.

Is the IEP a legally binding document?

Yes, which makes it crucial for you and your child’s future.

Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), your school system is mandated to provide every service listed on your IEP.

How often is my child’s IEP reviewed and updated?

Normally, the IEP is reviewed at least once a year by both parents and the school system to make any necessary adjustments to the agreement.

A new meeting takes place to check on progress, update goals and adjust the kinds of services your child receives.

While one annual meeting is a minimum requirement, you can also call for an IEP review any time you see a need.

What should I do if the IEP isn’t followed?

If you suspect your child isn’t receiving the services outlined in the IEP, contact an IEP lawyer immediately.

It’s infuriating to think your child isn’t getting the resources he or she deserves. Maybe the school is deliberately resisting providing the appropriate services for your child. Maybe it’s a case of neglect.

Either way, don’t be intimidated by the school system. They will have lawyers representing them in hearings about your child’s needs, trying to prove they don’t have to do any more for your child.

The Cuddy Law Firm makes sure your child’s rights are upheld. We help families all over the country secure necessary resources for families just like yours.

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