Unit 3: Individualized Education Program (IEP) and IFSP

3.1 Concept of Individualization

3.2 Components of I.E.P.

3.3 Developing IEP

3.4 Individualized Family Support Program (IFSP)

3.5 Components and development of IFSP










3.1 Concept of Individualization

Individualized Education Programme (IEP)

An I.E.P., or “Individualized Education Program,” is a written plan that describes the unique needs of a child who is eligible for special education and explains the specific services that the school will give the child.

An I.E.P. is an legal  document that describes exactly what special education services your child will receive and why. It will include your child’s eligibility, present  level of  performance, services, goal and objectives. The I.E.P. is decided at an I.E.P. meeting. The program must be designed to meet your Child’s unique needs.

The IEP is a written plan prepared for a named student. It is a record of what is being agreed as ‘additional to’ and ‘different from’ the usual differentiated curriculum provision that is provided by every class/subject teacher.

The collaborative nature of the process, through the involvement of teachers, parents, other professionals and the students him/herself facilitates the creation and development of a working document, enabling true inclusion of students.


§  I.E.P. is a management tool designed to ensure that in school Children with Special Needs receive the special education and related services appropriate to their needs. I.E.P. remain the corner stone of every educational programme planned for each student with  disability.

§  I.E.P. is a written statement for a student with exceptionality that is developed, reviewed and revised on a regular basis.

Historical Perspective

President Ford along with Congress passed legislation that was intended to improve opportunities in education for handicapped children and adults through the provision of a free appropriate public education. The law was called Public Law 94-142.

This law provided that handicapped children and adults ages 3-21 be educated in the "least restrictive environment" to the maximum extent appropriate, meaning that they are educated with children who are not handicapped and that special classes, separate schools or other removal of children from their regular educational environment occurs only when the severity of the handicap is such that education in regular classes cannot be achieved.

Before a child can be placed in a special education program, an extensive evaluation procedure is required by PL 94-142. These criteria must be determined before a child can be placed:

      whether a child has a physical or mental disability that substantially limits learning.

      the possible causes of a child's disability

      strengths and weaknesses of a child in physical, emotional, social, vocational and intellectual areas

      the educational diagnosis category that best describes a  child's disability

      the special services, instructional techniques and other interventions that the child needs

      the appropriate instructional placement for the child

      reasonable predictions of the child's academic, social and vocational potential

The school is required to receive written permission from the parent before conducting an evaluation of the child.

Once the child's evaluation is complete and it is determined that the child is indeed eligible for placement in special education, an Individual Education Plan (i.e.p.) must be written to meet the needs of that child.

 An interdisciplinary team is formed to write the child's I.E.P. Under PL 94-142, the team should, at a minimum, consist of a representative of the local school district, the child's teachers and the child's parents. PL 94-142 does stipulate certain criteria that are to be included in the I.E.P.

 I.E.P. should include a statement of:

·        the child's present level of educational performance;

·        the annual goals, including short term instructional objectives;

·        the specific special education and related services to be provided for the child and the extent to which the child will be able to participate in regular education program;

·        the projected dates for initiation of services and anticipated duration of services;

·        The appropriate objective criteria and assessment procedures and schedule for determining on at least an annual basis whether the short term instructional objectives are being met.

Purpose And Needs Of IEP                                                                                    

§  Get to know the child and discover their learning style, then the IEP will better reflect the child's needs. I would also suggest obtaining the form that may be filled out and used for Occasional Teachers.

§  The IEP allows for a broader explanation of the student's strengths, capabilities, weak areas, social balance, behavior needs and adjustments needed for the education and personal growth of the child.

§  The information on the IEP can direct the teachers, parents and other professionals to compile the information that will give the student a distinct advantage to reaching his/her educational requirements.

§  It also allows for a clearer understanding of the individuals personal needs.

§  The main purpose of IEP is to provide appropriate education and training to every child with  mental retardation. As  no two mentally retarded children  have similar abilities and needs, the development of IEP depends on the needs of the child

§  the IEP allows for a broader explanation of the student's strengths, capabilities, weak areas, social balance, behavior needs and adjustments needed for the education and personal growth of the child.

§  The information on the IEP can direct the teachers, parents and other professionals to compile the information that will give the student a distinct advantage to reaching his/her educational requirements.

3.2 Components of I.E.P.

  General background information about the child.

  Assessment  of  current level of  functioning in specific skills.

  Goals and short term objective.

  Methods and material to achieve the objective.


1.     General Background Information About The Child

This data is collected  when the child is brought  to the school.

The information should be collected in the following areas:

·        Family background

·        Details about siblings

·        Socio-economic status

·        Pre-natal, natal post natal history

·        Developmental history

·        Other relevant factors.

2. Assessment of current level of functioning in specific skills

Assessment is the process of gathering and analyzing information in order to make instructional/administrative and/or guidance decision about or for an individual.                         - Wallac, Larson and Elkinson

Assessment is the most important component of I.E.P. because the whole programme depends on the assessment.

Norm Reference Test: N.R.T. is a standardized measure. Standardized test is a test in which the administration, scoring and interpretation procedures are set. Eg: Intelligence Test, Achievement Test.

Criterion Reference Test: C.R.T. compares student’s performance to a fixed criteria. In other words, C.R.T. is concerned with whether a child perform a skill as per the criteria set or not. Eg: Teacher made test.

The assessment of the current level of functioning  of the child must include:

·        Motor skills: Gross Motor, Fine Motor

·        Self Help Skills: Feeding (eating), Meal Time Activities, Toileting, Dressing, Grooming                                      

·        Language Skills:  Receptive language, Expressive language

·        Social Skills

·        Academics Skills: Reading, Writing, Number, Time, Money

·        Measurement

·        Domestic Skills (Skills performed in and around home)

·        Community Orientation Skills

·        Recreational Skills

·        Vocational Skills

3. Setting of goals

·        An Annual goal represent the achievement anticipated for a child in an academic year. It  is a prediction.

·        Goals represents the developmental areas or domains.

o   Eg: Rani will read English alphabet.  (Annual Goal)

Consideration to select Annual Goal

·        Child  Past  Achievement                

·        Present Level of Performance

·        The practicality  of the goals chosen

·        Ability of the child

·        Needs of the child

·        Functionally Relevant Goals

·        Priority Needs of the child

·        Amount of time required

·        Parental involvement

·        Teachers ability

Short Term Objectives

S.T.O. are the breaking down of annual goals in to similar units.S.T.O. are the specific curricular area derived from the goal which a teacher expects her student to learn over a period of short duration.

·        Writing behavioral objectives

·        Under what conditions will this behavior? (Condition)

·        Who is the person affected ? (Person)

·        What is the behavioral in question? (Behavior)

·        What level of performance is expected? (Criterion Level)

·        Deadline

4.     Teaching Methods,  Techniques And Material To Achieve The Objective

·        Play Way Method

·        Montessory Method

·        Project Method.


5.     Evaluation

In order to measure the student’s performance in terms of predetermined set of objectives evaluation is necessary. While evaluating the child for progress following must be kept in mind.

1.     There should not be bias on the part of the teacher .

2.     The evaluation must be quantitative and qualitative.

3.     There should be provision for written and verbal reports of the results.

4.     The evaluation must be continuous and should lead on to further planning of programs for the child.

3.3 Developing IEP

The IEP Team Members

By law, certain individuals must be involved in writing a child's Individualized Education Program. These are:

§  The child’s parents

§  At least one of the child’s special education teachers or providers

§  At least one of the child’s regular education teachers (if the student is, or may be, participating in the regular education environment);

§  A representative of the school system;

§  An individual who can interpret the evaluation results;

§  Representatives of any other agencies that may be responsible for paying for or providing transition services (if the student is 16 years or, if appropriate, younger);

§  The student, as appropriate, and

§  Other individuals who have knowledge or special expertise about the child.

Note that an IEP team member may fill more than one of the team positions if properly qualified and designated. For example, the school system representative may also be the person who can interpret the child's evaluation results.

These people must work together as a team to write the child's IEP. A meeting to write the IEP must be held within 30 calendar days of deciding that the child is eligible for special education and related services.

Each team member brings important information to the IEP meeting. Members share their information and work together to write the child's Individualized Education Program. Each person's information adds to the team's understanding of the child and what services the child needs.

Parents are key members of the IEP team. They know their child very well and can talk about their child's strengths and needs as well as their ideas for enhancing their child's education. They can offer insight into how their child learns, what his or her interests are, and other aspects of the child that only a parent can know. They can listen to what the other team members think their child needs to work on at school and share their suggestions. They can also report on whether the skills the child is learning at school are being used at home. (See the information at the end of this section about parents’ possible need for an interpreter.)

Teachers are vital participants in the IEP meeting as well. At least one of the child's regular education teachers must be on the IEP team if the child is (or may be) participating in the regular education environment. The regular education teacher has a great deal to share with the team. For example, he or she might talk about:

·        The general curriculum in the regular classroom;

·        The aids, services, or changes to the educational program that would help the child learn and achieve; and

·        Strategies to help the child with behavior, if behavior is an issue.

The regular education teacher may also discuss with the IEP team the supports for school staff that are needed so that the child can:

·        Advance toward his or her annual goals;

·        Be involved and progress in the general curriculum;

·        Participate in extracurricular and other activities; and

·        Be educated with other children, both with and without disabilities.

Supports for school staff may include professional development or more training. Professional development and training are important for teachers, administrators, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, and others who provide services for children with disabilities.

The child's special education teacher contributes important information and experience about how to educate children with disabilities. Because of his or her training in special education, this teacher can talk about such issues as:

·        how to modify the general curriculum to help the child learn;

·        the supplementary aids and services that the child may need to be successful in the regular classroom and elsewhere;

·        how to modify testing so that the student can show what he or she has learned; and

·        Other aspects of individualizing instruction to meet the student's unique needs.

Beyond helping to write the IEP, the special educator has responsibility for working with the student to carry out the IEP. He or she may:

·        work with the student in a resource room or special class devoted to students receiving special education services;

·        team teach with the regular education teacher; and

·        Work with other school staff, particularly the regular education teacher, to provide expertise about addressing the child's unique needs.

Another important member of the IEP team is the individual who can interpret what the child's evaluation results mean in terms of designing appropriate instruction. The evaluation results are very useful in determining how the child is currently doing in school and what areas of need the child has. This IEP team member must be able to talk about the instructional implications of the child's evaluation results, which will help the team plan appropriate instruction to address the child's needs.

The individual representing the school system is also a valuable team member. This person knows a great deal about special education services and educating children with disabilities. He or she can talk about the necessary school resources. It is important that this individual have the authority to commit resources and be able to ensure that whatever services are set out in the IEP will actually be provided.

The IEP team may also include additional individuals with knowledge or special expertise about the child. The parent or the school system can invite these individuals to participate on the team. Parents, for example, may invite an advocate who knows the child, a professional with special expertise about the child and his or her disability, or others (such as a vocational educator who has been working with the child) who can talk about the child's strengths and/or needs. The school system may invite one or more individuals who can offer special expertise or knowledge about the child, such as a paraprofessional or related services professional. Because an important part of developing an IEP is considering a child's need for related services (see the list of related services at the end of this section), related service professionals are often involved as IEP team members or participants. They share their special expertise about the child's needs and how their own professional services can address those needs. Depending on the child's individual needs, some related service professionals attending the IEP meeting or otherwise helping to develop the IEP might include occupational or physical therapists, adaptive physical education providers, psychologists, or speech‑language pathologists.

When an IEP is being developed for a student of transition age, representatives from transition service agencies can be important participants. (For more information about transition, see the information provided at the end of this section.) Whenever a purpose of meeting is to consider needed transition services, the school must invite a representative of any other agency that is likely to be responsible for providing or paying for transition services. This individual can help the team plan any transition services the student needs. He or she can also commit the resources of the agency to pay for or provide needed transition services. If he or she does not attend the meeting, then the school must take alternative steps to obtain the agency's participation in the planning of the student's transition services.

And, last but not least, the student may also be a member of the IEP team. If transition service needs or transition services are going to be discussed at the meeting, the student must be invited to attend. More and more students are participating in and even leading their own IEP meetings. This allows them to have a strong voice in their own education and can teach them a great deal about self‑advocacy and self‑determination.

3.4 Individualized Family Support Program (IFSP)

The Individualized Family Support Plan is a written treatment plan or document that identifies the child's and family's strengths and needs, sets goals (for both the child and family members) or maps out early intervention services for the child and determines the steps that will be taken to achieve these goals.

It is a family based approach to services due to the central concept and understanding that supporting a child’s family lends itself to supporting the child or that the family is the child’s greatest resource and should be included in all stages of the plan.

A multidisciplinary team, which includes the parents, develops an Individualized Family Support Plan following the determination of eligibility, for each child and family.

The IFSP differs from the IEP in several ways

      It revolves around the family, as it is the family that is the constant in a child's life.

      It includes outcomes targeted for the family, as opposed to focusing only on the eligible child.

      It names a service coordinator to help the family during the development, implementation, and evaluation of the IFSP.

      It includes activities undertaken with multiple agencies beyond the scope of Part C. These are included to integrate all services into one plan.

      It includes the notion of natural environments, which encompass home or community settings such as parks, child care, and gym classes.

      This focus creates opportunities for learning interventions in everyday routines and activities, rather than only in formal, contrived environments.

3.5 Components and development of IFSP

1.     Child's  current  level of functioning and need :

      It includes strengths, interests and areas of concern.

      Areas include physical, cognitive, communication, social development and adaptive environment.

2.     Family information

      This includes details about family’s priorities, concerns and resources as they relate to enhancing the development of the child.

3.     Statement of the major outcomes:

      This includes writing the statement of the major outcomes (or goals) expected to be achieved for the child and family.

      These should be short term goals and not the achievement goals for the child’s entire life.

      The outcomes or goals must be relevant, specific and measurable.

      It should include the criteria, procedures and timelines used to determine the degree to which progress toward achieving the outcomes is being made.

4.     Support and Services:

      The support and services that the child will receive should be listed in detail to achieve the stated outcomes provided within the child and family's daily routines and activities.

      Supports and services can be in the form of educational, medical, paraprofessional and social services.

5.     Place and Time:

§  Where in the natural environment (school, home or community) the services will be provided should be mentioned.

§  When the services will begin, how often they will occur and how long they will last should also be mentioned

§  Who will pay for these services should also be mentioned (A variety of funding resources may be used to pay for these services including state and federal government resources, private insurance, family resources and/or local agencies.

6.     Service Coordinator:

a.      The name of the Service Coordinator must be there. This person is the family's primary contact for assistance throughout the IFSP process, and is responsible for the implementation of the plan and coordination with other agencies and people.

b.     He should also connect the family with other families and ensure that they understand their rights and procedural safeguards.


1.     Identify Family Concerns, Priorities, and Resources:

The family's concerns, priorities, and resources guide the entire IFSP process. Early intervention should be seen as a system of services and supports available to families to enhance their capacity to care for their children. The notion of partnership between the intervention team and the family must be introduced and nurtured at this beginning point of the IFSP process.

2.     Identify the Family's Activity Settings:

All children develop as the result of their everyday experiences. It is important to document valued, enjoyable routines (bath time, eating, plays activities, etc.) and analyze them to see if they offer the sustained engagement that leads to learning opportunities. Likewise, it is important to identify the community activity settings (e.g., child care, swimming) that provide opportunities for learning.

3.     Collaboratively Develop Expected Outcomes:

The team now meets to review the information and the family's concerns, priorities, and resources to develop statements of expected outcomes or goals. Active family involvement is essential. Collaborative goals focus on enhancing the family's capacity and increasing the child's participation in valued activities.

4.     Assign Intervention Responsibilities:

After outcomes are identified, the early intervention team assigns responsibilities for intervention services that support those outcomes.

Using a trans- disciplinary team model is one method of integrating information and skills across professional disciplines. In the trans-disciplinary model, all team members (including the family) teach, learn, and work together to accomplish a mutually agreed upon set of intervention outcomes

In a trans-disciplinary model, one or a few people are primary implementers of the program. Other team members provide ongoing direct or indirect services, such as consultation. For example, an occupational therapist can observe a toddler during meals, then recommend to the parent how to physically assist the child

5.     Identify Strategies to Implement the Plan:

This step involves working closely as a team to increase learning opportunities, to use the child's surroundings to facilitate learning, to select the most effective strategies to bring about the desired outcomes, and identify reinforcers that best support the child's learning.

Implementation may involve a toddler participating in a library story hour one afternoon a week; a physical therapist showing family members how to use adaptive equipment; or a service coordinator completing the paperwork to pay for a child's transportation from his or her home to needed services.

6.     Intervention:

Intervention strategies should help promote generalization of outcomes—i.e., the child performs new skills in a variety of environments after intervention has ended.

Interventions should target several outcomes during one activity. When a child participates in an activity, he or she uses a variety of skills from a number of developmental areas. For example, during mealtimes, a toddler may use communication skills to request more juice, fine motor skills to grasp a spoon, a social skills to interact with a sibling.

It should help a child become more independent in his or her world. The selected strategies might involve offering physical assistance during mealtimes, prompting the correct response during a self-care routine, or providing simple pull-on clothing to enable a child to dress without assistance.

7.     Evaluation:

Both ongoing and periodic evaluations are essential to any early intervention program. An evaluation may focus on a child's progress toward obtaining desired outcomes and upon the quality of the intervention program itself. Ongoing monitoring of the child's progress requires keeping records in a systematic manner in order to answer such critical questions as -

      To what extent and at what rate is the child making progress toward attaining outcomes?

      Are the selected intervention strategies and activities promoting gains in development?

      Do changes need to be made in the intervention plan?

8.                 Review:

Periodically reviewing the IFSP provides a means of sharing results about the child's progress and integrating these results into the plan. Part C of IDEA requires that the IFSP be evaluated and revised annually and that periodic reviews be conducted at least every six months (or sooner if requested by the family).

This ongoing process provides a continual support to the family and child as they realize their own strengths and resources to help their child learn.