Student Involvement in IEPs: A Look at Early Intervention

This study analyzes the impact of an increase in student participation in the IEP process on students’ success and self-determination in the classroom. An IEP, Individual Education Program, is, “a written statement for each child with a disability that is developed, reviewed, and revised” (IDEA 2004). Students in high school are often expected to run their own IEP meetings, however, many have had little to no engagement in the IEP process up to this point. Earlier student inclusion in the IEP process, beginning in elementary school, can increase students’ self- advocacy skills, familiarity with the IEP process, increase student dominion of their own education and lead to greater success in the classroom. Full inclusion for elementary aged students is not recommended; however, there are ways to include young students into the IEP process while still maintaining confidentiality of certain aspects of the procedure and respecting the feelings and concerns of parents and the IEP team. Increased inclusion into the IEP process must be done on an individual basis and will not be the same for any two children, just as each student will have a unique IEP. Inclusion of the student in the IEP process is one of many considerations for the entire IEP team while crafting an educational plan for a student. The benefits and impacts of inclusion and a manual detailing strategies of inclusion will be set forth in this study as a guide for any team looking to increase student inclusion in the IEP process.