Individualized Education Programs (IEPs)

An explanation of Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), from the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY):

When a child receives special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), he or she must have an Individualized Education Program (IEP). This is a written document listing, among other things, the special educational services that the child will receive. The IEP is developed by a team that includes the child’s parents and school staff.

IEPs for Students with Visual Impairments

Center for Parent Information and Resources (formerly NICHCY)
Read the full page of resources here, and browse the links below for additional information specific to children who are blind or visually impaired, deafblind, or who have additional disabilities including visual impairment.
 
U.S. Department of Education
Bookmark the official U.S. government site, "Building the Legacy: IDEA 2004."  Here you will find links to Topic Briefs (IEP, Team Meetings, and Changes to the IEP), Video Clip (Changes in Initial Evaluation and Reevaluation), Training Materials (IEP), Dialogue Guides, Presentations, and Q&A Documents.
 

Full-Text Articles

Future Reflections (2005) – National Federation of the Blind (NFB)
Leslie Seid Margolis provides an overview of extended school year (ESY) services, including federal law and policies, eligibility criteria, building a case for ESY, due process challenges to denial of ESY services, and practical issues.
 
Families and Advocates Partnership for Education (FAPE)
reprinted in Future Reflections, 2003
This two-page fact sheet is designed to provide parents with a basic introduction to IEP goals and objectives, including some specific examples.
 
Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI)
This article by DeAnn Hyatt-Foley offers a brief overview of the three components of the IEP: evaluation, curriculum, and placement.  It includes a checklist for parents of information that should be written in the IEP document; available in Spanish.
 
Future Reflections (1999) – National Federation of the Blind (NFB)
This article by Barbara Ebenstein was originally published in Exceptional Parent Magazine and lists ten strategies for parents regarding the development and monitoring of the IEP.
 
Future Reflections (1997) – National Federation of the Blind (NFB)
This article by Doris M. Willoughby contains IEP Goals and Objectives for Self-Advocacy for three age groups, from preschool through twelfth grade.  It also includes recommendations made by the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children and the National Federation of the Blind regarding the provisions and proposed rules which impact blind and visually impaired children.
 
Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI)
This document by Sharon Nichols offers a basic introduction to IEPs, including who is responsible for developing the IEP, what must be on it, what information must be considered as the IEP is developed, and the role parents can play on the team.
 
Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI)
Millie Smith discusses the impact of current federal legislation on the development of IEPs for students with severe disabilities,” and examines research-based instructional strategies.
 
Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI)
Cyral Miller “provides families with some guidelines to help assess if the IEP is meeting the vision-related needs of a child with a visual impairment”; available in Spanish.
 
Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI)
Eileen Hammar and Anne Malatchi list seven ways to make the IEP team an effective one; available in Spanish.
 
Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI)
Matt and DeAnn Foley list the most common mistakes that parents making during the IEP meeting and offers suggestions for how to address these; available in Spanish.
 
Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (TSBVI)
This article by David Wiley and Kate Moss “discusses the importance of building highly motivating instructional elements into daily programming in order to improve the students’ openness to instruction.” 
 

Web-Based Organizations and Resources

Future Reflections (1985) National Federation of the Blind
This checklist prepared by Nebraska Advocacy Services contains both the legal requirements that define the IEP process and some common sense issues that parents may wish to consider during the IEP preparation and meetings.  A later (1995) version prepared by Maryland Disability Law Center is linked here.
 
FAPE is “a partnership that aims to improve the educational outcomes for children with disabilities. It links families, advocates, and self-advocates to information about the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
 
DisabilityResources.org
This page has links to documents on IEP planning and writing IEPs.
 
National Consortium on Deaf-Blindness (NCDB)
This webpage offers NCDB products, links to articles and other publications, and Internet resources.
 
 

For Parents

Visual impairment or blindness affect the ability to learn, and each child with additional disabilities has unique educational needs. These academic needs and goals and the methods selected for reaching them are detailed in the Individualized Education Program (IEP). Developed by a team of the student's educators and parents, the IEP outlines is reviewed and updated throughout the student's academic career.
 
Families and Advocates Partnership for Education (FAPE)
This two-page fact sheet provides parents with a basic introduction to IEP goals and objectives, including some specific examples. This link takes you to a reprint of this information in Future Reflections.
 
National Organization of Parents of Blind Children (NOPBC)
This checklist is "a tool to help parents who want to make sure that their child receives the special education and related services listed in their IEP."
 
Future Reflections, 18(1) (1999). 
Barbara Ebenstein lists ten strategies for parents regarding the development and monitoring of the IEP; reprinted from Exceptional Parent Magazine.
 
Technical Assistance Alliance for Parent Centers/FAPE
In this two-page fact sheet, parents learn what they can do before, during, and after the IEP team meeting, with real life examples. Available in Spanish, Hmong, Somali.
 
FamilyConnect for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments
FamilyConnect describes the role of each member of the educational team. There are links to related documents, including strategies for success, the role of the paraprofessional and the TVI (Teacher of the Visually Impaired).
 
FamilyConnect for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments
This page describes the essential elements of the IEP, offers checklists of keys points, what to do before, during and after an IEP meeting, a checklist of key points, and advice for keeping educational records.
 

For Educators

National Consortium on Deaf-Blindness (NCDB)
In this PowerPoint presentation, Dr. Mary Zatta talks about bringing a student's educational plan into alignment with state's curricular requirements, with specific examples from the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks.
 
Texas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired
This article by Terese Pawletko begins with an overview of some of the characteristics of Aspergers Syndrome and offers suggestions for the development of IEP goals.  It includes general considerations, recommendations for the home or dorm setting, social skills, communication, classroom management, and vocational planning.
 

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

U.S. Department of Education
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 2004 ensures "services to children with disabilities throughout the nation. IDEA governs how states and public agencies provide early intervention, special education and related services to more than 6.5 million eligible infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities."