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Navigating the IEP Pocess In California

When your child’s doctor says that he or she has special educational needs, you can ensure the school meets these needs with an Individualized Education Program. This legal document describes your child’s current academic performance, goals and objectives for education, and necessary services to meet those goals.

Review the California IEP process if your child has special needs that impact schooling.

Requesting an IEP

You can start the process by writing a letter to your child’s teacher or the appropriate administrator at the local school. After receipt of this letter, the school has 15 days to provide an assessment plan for your child. You have 15 days to respond and agree with the assessment plan.

Once you have an agreeable assessment plan, the school will schedule an IEP meeting within 60 days. If you do not agree with the proposed plan you can hire an independent evaluator to assess your child.

Attending the IEP meeting

California strives to place children with special educational needs in mainstream classes with age-appropriate fellow students as much as possible. The IEP will reflect this practice as it outlines your child’s measurable goals, indicates how the team will evaluate and report progress, details the services your child will receive, and lists a transition plan if your child is approaching high school graduation.

The school will deliver only the special education services to which you agree at the IEP meeting. If the school does not respond within 15 days to your IEP request or otherwise does not provide education for your child as expected, you can request a due process hearing.