Steps to Read, Develop, and Understand an IEP Worksheet

The IEP document is a lot to absorb. You will be better prepared to support your child when you review the IEP draft before meeting with the IEP team for the first time. A child’s education is worth taking time to read for understanding.

  1. Identify Your Child’s Eligibility Category
    • Take note of the eligibility category that entitles the student to an IEP. The eligibility category is listed on the “Cover Page” of the IEP document, near the name, birth date, and other personal details about the student. This category is decided during the evaluation review meeting.
      • My child’s eligibility category is:
  2. Read the IEP Draft Before the IEP Meeting
    • Be sure to ask for a copy of the IEP draft with enough time to look it over before the meeting.
      • I requested the copy of the IEP draft on:
    • Remember, the school’s first version is a DRAFT IEP, and family members of the IEP team have the right to participate in program development.
    • The amount of time a family needs for review also might depend on whether the document is translated into a a language besides English. Under state and federal law, parents have the right to information about their child’s education in a language they can understand.
      • Yes, I require that the IEP be translated to: (insert language)
        • I requested the translation of the IEP on (insert date)
      • No, I do not require that the IEP be translated to another language
  3. Review the Service Matrix
    • Located halfway through the IEP, the Service Matrix looks like a chart or grid. These are the suggested services and they are how a student receives Specially Designed Instruction (SDI) in each area where the student has significant deficits that make them eligible for special education.
    • How many minutes are being offered to support the student in each area of specially designed instruction? (The SDI supports at least one goal for each subject area.)
      • For example: you will see three columns with the following
SubjectService Minutes

What Related/Ancillary Services is your child eligible to receive? These are therapeutic services, such as occupational, physical, or speech therapy. Mental health counseling and parent training may be listed as Related Services.

ServiceFrequency Minutes

Sometimes Related Services are offered through “consultation,” meaning that a specialist will make recommendations to school staff but won’t work directly with the student. Are any of your child’s services being provided through consultation?

ServiceFrequency Minutes

4. Review the Present Level Statement

The Present Levels of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance (PLOP for short) are with in the first few pages of the IEP. This Section of the IEP explains why the student needs services.

Does the information in the present level statement reflect your student’s current abilities and needs?

  • Yes
  • No
  • What, if anything should be added?

5. Review the proposed goals:

Are the goals Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound (SMART)?

  • Yes
  • No
  • *Highlight goals that are not written as SMART goals to discuss during the IEP meeting.

Are any of the goals too easy for your child?

  • Yes
  • No
  • *Highlight goals that are too easy to discuss with
    the IEP team.

6. Review the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) Statement: Read and review information about where your child will spend their day. *Note any concerns or feedback to discuss with the team.

7. Review the Accommodations and Modifications: Read and review information about accommodations and modifications. *Note anything that may need to be added and any questions you have about how they will be provided in the educational setting.

Learn more about Steps to Read, Develop, and Understand an Initial IEP

This article also forms part of the 3-5 Transition Toolkit