The IEP Team

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Alert! Alert!
NICHCY’s website will only remain online until September 30, 2014. Most of its rich content has moved to a new home, the Center for Parent Information and Resources (CPIR), where it can be kept up to date. The new address of The IEP Team, now at the CPIR, is:
http://www.parentcenterhub.org/repository/iep-team/

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Photo of the group of individuals on an IEP team.September 2010

About the IEP Team in Spanish | En español


To write an effective IEP for a child with a disability, parents, teachers, other school staff—and often the child—come together at a meeting to look closely at the child’s unique needs.

These individuals combine their knowledge, experience, and commitment to design an educational program that must help the child to be involved in, and progress in, the general education curriculum—that is, the same curriculum as for children without disabilities. The IEP guides the delivery of special education and related services and supplementary aids and supports for the child with a disability. Without a doubt, writing—and implementing—an effective IEP requires teamwork.

So–who’s on the team? Here’s a list, as specified in IDEA, our nation’s special education law. Note that the order in which the IEP team members are going to be listed and discussed has nothing to do with their priority on the team. Every member has an equal say and important expertise to contribute.

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The IEP Team, Short and Sweet

IDEA (at §300.321) describes the IEP team as including the following members:

– the parents of the child;

– not less than one regular education teacher of the child (if the child is, or may be, participating in the regular education environment);

– not less than one special education teacher of the child, or where appropriate, not less then one special education provider of the child;

– a representative of the public agency who is qualified to provide, or supervise the provision of, specially designed instruction to meet the unique needs of children with disabilities; is knowledgeable about the general education curriculum; and is knowledgeable about the availability of resources of the public agency;

– an individual who can interpret the instructional implications of evaluation results;

– other individuals who have knowledge or special expertise regarding the child, including related services personnel as appropriate (invited at the discretion of the parent or the agency); and

– the child with a disability (when appropriate).

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The IEP Team, Discussed in Detail

There’s a lot that can be said about each of these members of the IEP team, what their roles on the team are, what type of information and expertise they can bring to the table, and what, precisely, IDEA has to say about their membership on this all-important team.

The links below will give a quick way to find out more and read the details of how each of these IEP team members can help in developing a child’s IEP.

Parents on the IEP Team
Parents of the child with a disability are vital members of the IEP team, with an expertise to contribute like no one else’s.

Special Educators on the IEP Team
Special educators, with their knowledge of how to educate children with disabilities, are obviously a very important part of a child’s IEP team.

Regular Educators on the IEP Team
If a child is participating in the regular education environment (or is going to be participating), then IDEA requires that at least one regular educator of the child be included on the IEP team.

A Representative of the School System
The IEP team must also include a representative of the school system, who has the authority to commit agency resources. This person must have specific qualifications. Find out what those are.

Someone to Interpret Evaluation Results
Is there someone on the IEP team who can interpret the child’s evaluation results and discuss what they mean in terms of instruction?

Others with Knowledge or Special Expertise About the Child
Either the parent or the school system may invite others to join the team, if they have knowledge or special expertise about the child. This can include related service providers.

Student with a Disability on the IEP Team
Of course, the student with a disability might have something to say about his or her own education!

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NOTICE: NICHCY is going away, but its resources are not. Find hundreds of legacy NICHCY publications, as well as our training curriculum on IDEA 2004, in the Center for Parent Information and Resources' Library at http://www.parentcenterhub.org/resources. This website will remain available until September 30, 2014. After that date, web visitors will be automatically redirected to http://www.parentcenterhub.org.