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How to Write an IEP from a Parent’s Perspective – Part 5

This is the last of a 5-blog series about how to write an IEP from a parent’s perspective. If you are seeing this blog before the others, please go back and read the other blogs. We talked about present levels and parents’ vision statements, SMARTER goals, specially designed instruction, and transition plans for high school. In this blog, we will wrap up the series with a quick overview of related services, evaluations, and extended school year (ESY).

Related services include occupational therapy, speech therapy, counseling, physical therapy, medical/nurse, transportation, vision, or hearing services, etc. In this section, you should know how many minutes per week/month your child will receive these services. Generally, you will see something like “a minimum of 60 minutes per month.” Service providers are becoming harder to find with larger caseloads, so sometimes, schedules are changed at the last minute. Also, there may be days where your child is absent or not participating, and rather than push the issue, the service provider may come back on a different day to provide services. You are allowed to ask for a tracking sheet of when and how long your child received services. This should be included with progress monitoring, too.


Children with an individual education program (IEP) should receive a re-evaluation at a minimum of every three (3) years. If they are diagnosed with an intellectual disability (ID), then the re-evaluation must occur every two (2) years. All requests for evaluations, whether initial or re-evaluation, should be in writing. An email is appropriate. When you send the email, you should include the child’s teacher, principal, school psychologist, and special education director in your email. This will ensure that it is handled appropriately and timely.

The school may have a meeting to discuss your concerns before issuing a Permission to Evaluate form. A Permission to Evaluate (PTE) allows the District to complete an evaluation of your child. The District has 60 days to complete the evaluation from the receipt of the PTE. This time frame does not include summer break.

Upon completion, the District will provide you will an evaluation (or re-evaluation) report. This report is utilized to draft the IEP. If you do not agree with the evaluation, you may request that the District pay for an independent education evaluation (IEE) with an independent provider. If you obtain an independent education evaluation on your own and provide it to the District, the District only needs to consider the report. They are not required to follow any of its recommendations. Generally, the District will complete their own evaluation as part of the consideration. If the District and the parents disagree, either party may file for due process with the Office of Dispute Resolution (check your local state guidelines if reading this outside of Pennsylvania).


Extended school year is generally thought to be summer school. However, extended school year is anytime outside of the normal school day/year. A student may need to meet with teachers before or after school. If the child qualifies for ESY, the child may meet with a teacher before or after school as part of their IEP. ESY in the summer is generally four or five weeks for a few days each week. The purpose is to help children retain skills to prevent regression or the need to reteach skills in the fall. Transportation should be provided as a related service to and from ESY programs.

This concludes our blog series of how to write an IEP from a parent’s perspective. Remember, the vision statement for your child is the key that drives the IEP. The goal of school is to prepare them for higher education, independent living, and/or employment.

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