Initial & Annual IEPs
An Initial IEP is a legal document that details exactly what specialized educational services your child will receive. It is valid for one year, and will need to be revisited and modified every year. A parent can always call for an IEP meeting in between annual meetings.
An IEP is a very complicated document, and many parents find themselves agreeing to an IEP that will not protect their child. A good IEP will be specific in what the child should learn and precise in how the school will give those services.
What kinds of services matters. If your child will be getting pulled out form general education, you need to be sure that the time spent away from the classroom is helpful. For example, a child with dyslexia needs a specific curriculum for a certain amount of time, they need it from a qualified instructor, and they may need one on one instruction rather than group instruction. Other children may need specific accommodations in their general education classroom to be successful. All these are detailed in the IEP.
One trap parents can fall into is not knowing what happens during the day, not checking routinely, and not knowing if and how their child is progressing. A good IEP will include all of the above and more.
For more information:
Ohio Operating Standards, 3301-51-05(G), page 117-131 at https://education.ohio.gov/getattachment/Topics/Special-Education/Federal-and-State-Requirements/Operational-Standards-and-Guidance/2014-Ohio-Operating-Standards-for-the-Education-of-Children-with-Disabilities.pdf.aspx