The Individualized Education Program (IEP) is a written
education plan developed for each public school child who is
eligible for special education. The 2004 Individuals with
Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a law ensuring services to
children with disabilities throughout the nation.
IDEA governs how states and public agencies provide early
intervention, special education and related services to children
and youth with disabilities. The IEP creates an opportunity
for teachers, parents, school administrators and personnel, and
students (when appropriate) to work together to improve
educational results for the child. It will include the
child’s classification, placement, services such as a one-on-one
aide and therapies, academic and behavioral goals, a behavior
plan if needed, percentage of time in regular education, and
progress reports from teachers and therapists. The IEP ensures
that quality education is accessible to each child with a
disability. The IEP is generally reviewed at least once a year,
although changes can be made if necessary.
The “individualized” part of IEP means that the plan must be
specifically created based on a child’s special needs — not the
needs of the teacher, the school, or the district. Goals,
modifications, accommodations, and placement should be selected,
enforced and maintained with the child in mind. “We don’t or
can’t do that,” for example, is not an acceptable response. If
met with challenges, it will be the responsibility of the school
to find a way to accommodate all of the needs of the child,
regardless if they have or have not done that in the past. If a
service is deemed appropriate to the needs of a child, then they
are required to do it.
Educational standards describe what students should know and be
able to do in each subject in each grade. In California, the
State Board of Education decides on the standards for all
students, from kindergarten through high school.
Section 504 and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
(IDEA) are both federal laws that can help secure a range of
services for children with special education needs. It is
important to know the differences between them when pursuing
special education services.
Educationally Related Mental Health Services (ERMHS) are mental
health services that are provided to students receiving special
education services. These services are provided when students
have significant socio-emotional or socio- behavioral needs that
impede their ability to benefit from their special education
A brief summary of Procedural Safeguards for students with
disabilities receiving special education services as provided by
the California Department of Education.
Parents and caregivers of children with disabilities from ages
three (3) through twenty-one (21) have specific educational
rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
(IDEA). These rights are called “procedural safeguards”.
Individuals serving as surrogate parents and students aged
eighteen receiving special education services, are also entitled
to these rights.
As a parent or caregiver, it is extremely important to know your
rights. Often, laws and regulations can be lengthy and confusing
and parents may not always have the time to read every law and
study every case. UACF is dedicated to helping empower and
educate parents on their rights, helping them to navigate the
system with ease and satisfaction.
The National Institute of Mental Health reports that that half of
all lifetime cases of mental illness begin by age 14. Helping
young children and their parents manage difficulties early in
life may even prevent the development of some diagnosis’
later in life.
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If you or a loved one is in immediate crisis, please call 911
or visit the nearest emergency room.
The UACF Hope Line is a message system for parents and caregivers
that provides resources and connections to individuals in your
community that may be able to assist you in finding appropriate
support services for your child’s mental health needs. Feel free
to leave a message on the UACF Hope Line and your call will be
returned as promptly as possible.