Does Your Child Need an Individualized Education Program?  Is Tailored In-School Programming Right for Your Child?

It’s important that children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) receive an education tailored to their needs. One of the ways you can help your child is by talking with the professionals at their school about an Individualized Education Program or IEP.   

What Is An IEP?  

An IEP is a legal document that outlines your child’s educational goals for the school year, the services they need to achieve those goals and the methods for evaluating their progress. An IEP helps children with disabilities in public schools succeed in the classroom.   

Who Creates the IEP?  

After the school district determines that your child is eligible for an IEP, they will host a meeting to develop the plan. 

According to law, the following people must be invited to the IEP meeting:  

  • One or both parents or caregivers  
  • Your child’s teacher  
  • Your child, if appropriate  
  • Someone from the school who is qualified to supervise the education of children with disabilities  
  • Other individuals at the request of the parent such as an advocate or a physician  

All these individuals play a key role in ensuring the plan meets your child’s needs. Every year, your child’s IEP should be reviewed and updated to ensure they are getting the right level of services and support.   

How Can You Contribute to the IEP?  

As a parent or caregiver, you are your child’s best advocate. You have every right to be involved in the development of the IEP. If you have suggestions for improving the plan, make sure to share them during the IEP meetings. For example, you might have ideas to engage your child at school that the teachers haven’t considered. Or maybe you could suggest other ways to motivate your child and prevent them from being distracted.  

If you disagree with any of the goals or recommendations in the plan, you can request another meeting with the IEP team. And if you are unable to come to an agreement with the school, you can receive free or low-cost legal help, according to

Other Ways to Support Your Child’s Education  

Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, children with ASD can start school at an earlier age and stay in school past the age of 18 if they need extra time to learn. Be sure to talk with your school district about what may be most beneficial for your child.