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Individual Education Plan (IEP)

IEP photo

As the "road map" for a public school education, an Individualized Education Program (IEP) is a key component for a successful educational experience for a child with Down syndrome. Without a thoughtful and well-managed IEP, children with Down syndrome may not be able to actively and meaningfully participate in the general education curriculum. 

The MDSC can help you navigate this road map with the information and resources below.

Who needs an IEP?
As mandated by the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), an IEP is required for every public school student receiving special education services, and it must be truly individualized to each child’s needs.

Who writes it?
By law, the creation and oversight of an IEP must be collaborative with a “team” not only developing each IEP but periodically reviewing it as well. Crafting an IEP is an opportunity for parents, special education teachers, service providers, other teachers and supports, and students (when appropriate) to sit together and work toward a common goal; improving the educational experience and outcomes of a child with disabilities.

What does it do?
The IEP functions as a legal contract between a school district and parents. Each IEP specifies the appropriate placement, accommodations, goals and services for the student being served. In addition, each IEP must explicitly state the following:

  • Student’s current level of education
  • “Vision” that sets his/her broad educational objectives
  • Detailed description of special education services and other services provided by school
  • Measurable goals in academic and other areas, such as social and emotional
  • Statement relating to student’s participation in statewide assessments such as MCAS
  • Service delivery grid detailing services the student will receive and in what settings
  • Transportation plan/agreement
  • Transition services plan/agreement (starting at age 14)
  • Plan for extended day or year services when necessary
  • Placement decision 

Where can I find additional information?
The MDSC’s Annual Conference, Teacher Partnership Network and Education Task Force provide up to date, accurate information to educators and families of students with Down syndrome. Be sure to check out our Transition (14-22) page as well.

For a comprehensive list of resources and related links about Individual Service Plans, click here.