Individual Plans (IPs) and Individual Education Plans (IEPs)
As part of meeting your child's specific needs they may have an Individual Plan (IP) or Individual Education Plan (IEP).
- What's an Individual Plan (IP) or Individual Education Plan (IEP)?
- Does every child with special education needs have an IP or IEP?
- Who works out what should be in my child's IP or IEP?
- What happens in an IP or IEP meeting and who should attend?
These are written plans that set out goals for your child. You and everyone else working with your child are involved in developing these plans.
An Individual Plan (IP) is the name of the plan for your very young child before they start school or kura.
An Individual Education Plan (IEP) is the plan that is developed for your child when they are at school or kura.
These plans outline how, who and when the goals for your child will be reached and may include:
- who will be working with your child, what their role will be and what they will do
- how you and your family and whānau can support your child's learning at home
- teaching strategies that will support your child to learn
- resources or special equipment your child might need
- what success for the team working with your child will look like
These plans don't have to be large, intimidating documents. They don't even need to be all in words - they might have charts, photos or pictures.
These plans are living documents, and will change over time as your child's needs change. You and your child's team will talk regularly about your child's progress and what their next goals will be and update the plan.
Only some students with special education needs require an IP or IEP, and few need one that talks about every aspect of their learning.
For most children their special education needs are met by the school or kura through class-wide and school-wide strategies.
You and your child's early intervention service, school or kura will decide if an IP or IEP is needed, or one of your child's specialists may suggest it if your child needs additional teaching strategies to reach a particular learning goal.
Your child's IP or IEP is developed as part of a process that involves everyone who works with and knows your child well. These people form a support team around your child and include educators, teachers, specialists and the Ministry's special education team. Your child, their friends and classmates, parents, family and whānau are also encouraged to be active participants in the process.
A meeting is co-ordinated by a member of your child's team to bring everyone together to develop an IP or IEP.
These meetings are a chance for everyone to come together and talk about:
- how the team will work together
- a vision for the IP or IEP
- setting some goals for your child and for the team
- identify how the goals will be met
- review your child's progress and achievement
If you are a deaf parent and use New Zealand sign language the Ministry will pay for your interpreter for these meetings. Check out our page on New Zealand Sign Language interpreters for deaf parents for information about this and a link to booking an interpreter.
Everyone involved in developing your child's IP or IEP can attend these meetings. Your child's team should meet regularly so that the IP or IEP can be reviewed and updated so that it is up to date and reflects your child's current goals.
The meetings can be held at the school or kura, or at your home, or somewhere else where you feel more comfortable.
You play a very important part here because you're the person who knows your child the best. Talk to the team about your child's strengths so you can set short-term and long-term goals together.
Your child should also be present whenever possible - their voice is vital to a successful plan.
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