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Individualized Education Program (IEP)

The IEP is a legal document that details the services' planning process and is tailored to the needs of each student. The educational and functional needs of the child are described in this document, along with the services and supports needed to meet those needs.

According to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Section300.320:

"each child’s IEP must contain a statement of the special education and related services and supplementary aids and services, based on peer-reviewed research to the extent practicable, to be provided to the child, or on behalf of the child, and a statement of the program modifications or supports for school personnel that will be provided "

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The IEP is a contribution of multiple individuals:

  • Child's parents/caregiver/legal guardian

  • General education teacher

  • Special education teacher

  • 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;

    • knowledgeable about the general education curriculum; and

    • knowledgeable about the availability of resources of the public agency

  • Related services personnel (i.e., occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech therapists)

IDEA. (2017, July 12). Sec. 300. 321 IEP Team.

Who Can 


To be eligible for special education, a student must have a disability under one of these categories affecting their educational success at school.

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Impairment in hearing, permanent or fluctuating, that adversely affects a child’s educational performance but is not included under the definition of deafness.


Scroll to read about the
14 disability categories

What Can

Be Found in an IEP?

  • Current level of performance/ child's needs (e.g., present levels of academic achievement/functional performance, description of how disability is affecting education, strengths/weaknesses, assessment results)

  • Specific and measurable goals (1-year goals, team contribution, educationally relevant)

  • Special education & related services (services needed, projected dates, anticipated frequency, location, and duration)

  • Recommendations (e.g., adaptive equipment, seating)

  • Support and modifications (e.g., staff training, collaborative planning between professionals, special instructional resources)

  • Statement of Accommodations 

  • Transition plan (beginning at 16 years old, services needed to assist students in vocational training, work experience, community participation, and appropriate post-high-school educational goals) 

Image by Gabrielle Henderson
O’Brien, J. C., & Kuhaneck, H. (2020). Case-smith’s occupational therapy for children and adolescents. Elsevier.

How are OTs

Teacher and Pupil

Involved in IEP Meetings?

Following OT's evaluation (clinical observations/assessments), OTs decide if the student qualifies for occupational therapy services.

If a student qualifies, OTs present:

  • the results of their findings;

  • their recommendations (e.g., adaptive equipment, modifications, accommodations);

  • treatment plan (setting/location, frequency, duration, start/end date);

  • the goals that will be addressed (after collaboration with the students' parents and teachers).

Re-evaluations &

Termination of Related Services

  • Students must be reevaluated at least every 3 years to determine if they continue to fall under "child with disability" as defined by IDEA.

  • The child's educational needs must be redefined/reevaluated.

  • "Termination if related services may be decided at a the annual review if the team determines that the related service if not necessary for the student to benefit from IEP".

  • OTs must support their termination recommendation with data.

Sign Blur
O’Brien, J. C., & Kuhaneck, H. (2020). Case-smith’s occupational therapy for children and adolescents. Elsevier.
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