Parts of an IEP

Special Education Directors, School Psychologists, Social Workers, Teachers, Special Education Teacher—the titles and alpha after their names can intimidate the most confident parent.

If you are anxious about attending an IEP meeting, you are not alone!

Something that can really help is understanding the process. It can help to break down the parts of the IEP–one by one.

Determination of Disability

All children with disabilities do not qualify for an IEP. The Determination of Disability Report will state if your child qualifies for an IEP under IDEA and which category he is qualified under.

Parent Concerns

This is YOUR place to voice your concerns about your disabled child’s access to a free and appropriate public education (FAPE). Don’t be shy! It’s your time to be heard.

Present Levels of Performance (PLOP)

This portion includes sections about your child’s strengths, academic progress, and functional performance.

light bulb tip

  • Every meeting should begin with a list of your child’s strengths, so it makes senses that this is the first section of the IEP. Write down your child’s strengths and take them to the meeting with you. You may have thought of some that the school didn’t. It’s one way to set the stage for whole team collaboration.


This is a narrative that describes how the disability affects academic and behavioral performance.

light bulb tip

  • Prepare for the IEP meeting ahead of time by identifying your child’s classroom needs to share with the team.

Goals and Accommodations

This section should include an objective followed by a goal statement and specific projections of progress (goals) that the student is expected to make by the end of the year.

light bulb tip

  • Goals should be specific and measurable.
  • This includes social, emotional, and behavioral goals.
  • There is NO limit on the number of goals that may be included in an IEP.


This section outlines accommodations for special education, related services, and specially designed instruction. This can include supplementary aids, modifications for class and homework, test adaptations, social work sessions, occupational therapy, behavioral interventions, or other appropriate adaptations.

light bulb tip

  • Your child’s therapist may have suggestions about effective educational strategies that are relative to a specific diagnosis.
  • Take time to so some research on your own and network with other parents to learn about effective strategies.


This is a narrative of the child’s placement in a regular education, therapeutic, behavioral, home-bound, residential, or other placement. It may also list the frequency and duration of services in various settings.

Behavioral Intervention Plan

This portion details identified behaviors, along with their antecedents, hypothesis of why it occurs, consequences, environmental variables, settings, and interventions. It should include a Behavioral Functional Assessment.


This section outlines a plan for your child to transition into adult life. It can include preparation for secondary studies, vocational training, life skill training, public transportation, and skills for community living. In Illinois, transition planning must begin at age 14 ½. For other states, check the website of your state board of education for the required age in your state.

light bulb tip

  • Transition planning can begin before the state regulated age for transition.

Evaluations and Assessments

This portion includes copies of assessments, evaluations, or other report findings, including those performed by the school district or those by independent evaluators.

Parent Letter of Attachment

This is feedback from you about your notes, perspective, and expectations of the meeting. If it’s not included, it’s because you haven’t written it yet!

light bulb tip

  • Send one to your contact at the school after every IEP meeting.
  • It can be either be in narrative or chart form.
  • It’s an effective tool for communicating in writing with the school.
  • It’s a legal document and may be used in due process hearings.