Opening Doors to Opportunity



The IEP and Students with Disabilities

If you are new to any of this you may or may not have heard about IEPs, special education, and disabilities.

To give you an overview, there are multiple Federal and State laws addressing the identification of and education of students with disabilities. At all levels of intervention and evaluation the parent and student are involved in the process with specific rights provided by law.

When a child is identified as having a disability (something that significantly impairs academic performance) after an intervention and evaluation period, an Individual Education Plan (IEP) is developed to provide an individualized approach for each child to succeed and prosper. The plan is strength and student based, and developed with input from the parent. There are various components that address student weaknesses and accommodations, goals and objectives to access the curriculum. The goal is to meet the needs of students with disabilities in the regular classroom as much as possible. The IEP team consists of the parent, student at age 16, the regular education teacher, special education teacher, local education authority and other education or agency staff as is required. The team must meet each year to review the plan.

Eligibility areas may include speech, autism, intellectual disability, emotional behavior disorder and others.

For much more information you can visit the Georgia Department of Education at and scroll to "Exceptional students" on the center menu.

Transition Plan

As a part of the Individualized Education plan (IEP) federal and state guidelines direct that the Transition Plan be developed as an IEP component by the time a child is 16 or enters the ninth grade or younger if determined by the team, whichever comes sooner.

The student is invited to participate in the meeting in addition to the parent, and the plan is based on age appropriate transition assessments and the students needs, preferences. The plan includes transition services needed to reach the goals identified and identifies a course of study.

Think of the transition plan as a roadmap for the student and team, developing goals and assigning responsibilities to team members for successful achievement. Everything relates directly to the students post secondary outcome goals so a there is seamless transition to the goal after graduation.

See our resources section for more information!

Transition Team

The transition team is essential to the success of the plan. In addition to the usual members of the IEP team (regular education and special education teachers, parent, local education agency staff) this is the first time the student is required to be invited to the meeting.

In addition, any individual with expertise, and resources to enhance the success of the student reaching their goal is a part of the team. For example, Vocational rehabilitation may me indicated so a rehab counselor can be apart of the team. Any agency staff that can assist in reaching goals are invited. In addition, family member and friends can be a valuable asset to the team. The goal is to individualize the plan for each student based on their needs and preferences and "wrap around" as many team members to accomplish the goal.