Can I make changes to my child’s IEP?

After the initial IEP meeting, both you and the school will sign the plan that you have developed together. You do not need to sign an IEP for your child until you feel comfortable and confident in the plan for his education.

It is so important to monitor progress closely so that the team can address issues as soon as they arise and update the plan accordingly. The initial IEP should make clear how often you will be updated on your child’s progress toward his goals.

Photo of a young girl holding an arts and crafts project and smiling

Annual Meeting

IDEA requires that a meeting be held once per year for the IEP team to formally assess a student’s IEP and update it if needed.

The focus of the meeting will be your child’s progress, more specifically how his actual performance both in and out of the classroom compares to the goals stated in his IEP.

Based on that comparison, you and the school district will work together to modify the plan accordingly.

Requesting a Meeting

You are entitled to call an IEP meeting at any time if you feel there is an issue that needs to be addressed. Though in general, IEP goals are written and updated annually, it is possible to update your child’s IEP throughout the school year.

Some examples of why your child’s IEP might need updating include:

  • he has accomplished a goal earlier than expected
  • he is struggling in a new area that the team did not foresee at the start of the year
  • his strengths or interests shift throughout the school year and there may be new services to include to further support growth in those areas
  • the school begins to offer new services or acquires new assistive technology from which your child may benefit
  • he has experienced any mental or physical health changes that might require different supports or accommodations

At any time, you or another team member can request a team meeting to discuss updating the IEP. It can be helpful to request a meeting in writing with a detailed explanation of the issue(s) you would like to address. Be sure to come to the meeting with clear data or examples to indicate the issue or need for a change, as well as your proposed solutions, if you have a specific outcome in mind.

Team Check In

Assessments, grades, homework scores and other test results are clear and easy ways to measure your child’s progress and determine if there is a need for a change in your child’s IEP.

But it can also be helpful to regularly check in with each member of the team, or any other professionals who are providing services to your child. For example, if your child is receiving speech therapy as a related service in school, the speech pathologist may have noticed a change in your child that you or a teacher may not recognize. He or she may have a suggestion for a new accommodation or goal for your child or another type of IEP update that will strengthen your child’s education plan.

Periodic Re-Evaluation

Students receiving special education services are required to undergo an evaluation for eligibility every three years (triennial evaluation). This comprehensive review will determine how your child’s needs have changed since his initial or previous evaluation and if he is still eligible for special education services. The IEP team will use these results to update his IEP accordingly.

VIDEO: How do I know if my child is making the right progress?

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