Teachers Role In An IEP


The school system is strained… that’s a fact.

This strain adds a tremendous amount of work to teachers already drowning in paperwork…

To correctly write an IEP, it takes a minimum of three hours…

Multiply that times 20 – 30 students… and just that part of the teacher’s role in an IEP becomes a part-time job.


You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know 

The reason I bring this up is that parents need to understand that not every IEP will be perfect, or unfortunately, even accurate.

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Day after day we encounter IEPs that are COMPLETELY wrong, missing data, and not helping the child it’s intended for!

As a parent of a child with special needs, you are intimately familiar with the unique struggles your child faces on a daily basis.

When it comes time to seek special education services for your school-age child, you will undoubtedly feel overwhelmed. The amount of information regarding your child’s ongoing education within the school system is A LOT.


Why is the Special Education Teacher’s Role in an IEP So Crucial?  

Many people will have a hand in providing your child with special needs the best education possible, and none more so than the teacher themselves.

Special education teachers have a specialized working knowledge of which educational practices benefit children with special needs, and which are simply not worth the time or effort.

They can provide real-world scenarios based on their prior experience with children who have special needs, and can help develop a goal plan going forward.

The Diagnosis

A qualified professional diagnoses your child with special needs, now what?

You most likely will be looking into enrolling your child in special education services through the school system.

For successful placement into this type of program, you will need first have to meet with school officials. During this meeting, the IEP will start to develop your child’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP).

What Is An Individualized Education Plan, Or IEP?

An Individualized Education Plan, often referred to by the acronym IEP, is an education plan that is designed around your child’s unique needs. It is to help your child reach specific obtainable goals within the given school year.

These goals are based on what your child can do versus what they expect them to learn. This helps establish a basic guideline for the direction your child’s education should take for the foreseeable future.

According to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) of 2004, an IEP should be “a statement of the child’s present levels of academic achievement and functional performance… [and] a statement of measurable annual goals, including academic and functional goals designed to meet the child’s needs that result from the child’s disability to enable the child to be involved in and make progress in the general education curriculum.”

That was a mouthful…

In simple terms, this means that a team of professionals will help to establish areas of education that your child will need specialized help with. Then they will prepare a report on how those areas could be improved and by what means.


A Teacher’s Role In The Creation Of The IEP

The special education teacher is the best resource for day-to-day interactions and firsthand trial-and-error knowledge.

When you participate in your initial IEP meeting, you will meet with the teachers that will be handling your child’s special education as well as other school officials such as;

  • The Principal
  • School Psychologist
  • Medical Professionals
  • Qualified Therapists (Speech, Physical, Occupational, etc.)

Other individuals will also attend the meeting to provide insight into your child’s special needs that prevent them from moving forward on their own down the educational road to success.


What is the Teacher’s Role During the IEP Meeting?

A teacher’s role in an IEP meeting is to provide:

  • Information regarding your child’s present levels of academic performance
  • The educational goals that need to be met during the school year
  • What they feel your child’s individual strengths and weaknesses will be on the whole (as well as per subject)

There aren’t any steadfast rules regarding what information should be included in an IEP. It differs from child to child. But there are a few guidelines you can expect the teacher to loosely follow to reach goals that work for your child;

  1. The teacher might discuss current learning methods that are working for other students like your own, and bring up what methods don’t work as well.
  2. Expect to hear about special accommodations the special education classroom can provide and how they will help your child succeed
  3. The teacher will discuss the challenges that using specific accommodations might present when it comes to your child’s everyday learning.

As teachers have a working knowledge of their special education classrooms, they bring to the table valuable insight. This insight can assist your child with special needs in getting the much-needed help they need and deserve.

They will work towards setting obtainable goals for your child during the school year. Also, they will stick closely to the demands of the IEP consistently and thoroughly throughout the year.

If you have questions at any point during the IEP creation process or its subsequent implementation, the special education teacher is your best source of answers.  They can help revise or reevaluate your child’s goals as the year progresses if needed.


Teacher Support After The Creation Of The IEP

The initial IEP meeting should include special education teachers and those that are responsible for the general school population.

Will your child be participating in any inclusive activities during the school day? Those teachers need to be aware of your child’s unique situation and circumstances.

They will work towards finding creative solutions that work for your child. And if needed provide one-on-one support and special accommodations for your child.

The support these teachers provide goes beyond basic academics. They will also work on necessary life skills, self-skills, and other issues that might be identified as trouble spots for your child.

Teachers have a vested interest in seeing your child with special needs succeed. You can expect that they will do what it takes to make sure to follow the IEP. They should also let you know your child’s progress and possible obstacles as they occur.


Additional Special Education Resources

Special Education Resource is your go-to source for all information related to special education.

In addition, we also offer supplemental learning through special education tutoring. With the touch of a button, you will be connected to qualified tutors who understand your child’s frustrations and are dedicated to helping them succeed.

Supplemental learning takes the coursework currently being taught in your child’s classroom and molds it to fit their specific learning needs. Whether presently enrolled in special education services or not, an excellent first step is a free consultation. Our special education tutors will…

  • Answer your questions
  • Offer guidance during the IEP process if appropriate
  • Help formulate a plan to assist your child in reaching their excellence

We have a responsibility as parents and educators to help children get the best education possible, no matter what.

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A teacher with a stack of binders on her desk at school which is just one part of the teachers role in an IEP.
Just part of a teacher’s role in an IEP is to provide information regarding your child’s goals and present levels of academic performance.

Picture of Luke Dalien

Luke Dalien

Author Luke Dalien has spent his life dedicated to helping others break the chains of normal so that they may live fulfilled lives. When he’s not busy creating books aimed to bring a smile to the faces of children, he and his amazing wife, Suzie, work tirelessly on their joint passion; helping children with special needs reach their excellence. Together, they founded an online tutoring and resource company, SpecialEdResource.com. Poetry, which had been a personal endeavor of Luke’s for the better part of two decades, was mainly reserved for his beautiful wife, and their two amazing children, Lily and Alex. With several “subtle nudges” from his family, Luke finally decided to share his true passion in creativity with the world through his first children’s book series, “The Adventures Of The Silly Little Beaver."

One comment

  1. My granddaughter ( whom I have custody) is in an IEP program. The district in which we live has transferred her out to a neighboring district to attend school. Per the educators the cross categorical class is suppose to fit her needs. Since she’s been in this class she has had a teacher who refused to let anyone know what her class is working on. Including the Principal. Needless to say she is no longer with the school. However, the kids have been in that class for 7 months (most of the year). I have tried to get her transferred out, because she is now regressing rather than progressing. Is there somewhere I can take her? She is in the sixth grade reading and writing at a 3rd grade level. When at the end of the year she was at a 4th grade level going into the 6th grade. she’s was without a teacher since December. she now has a new teacher. but, I think it’s to little to late. I need some direction, before I pulled her out of that school myself

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