6 Tips to Make Sure Your Child’s IEP Is Implemented Properly

6 Tips to Make Sure Your Child’s IEP Is Implemented Properly

By Kristin Stanberry

Your child’s Individualized Education Program ( IEP) has been set in motion. How well is it working? Is the school delivering what it promised? Try these tips to monitor the situation throughout the year.

1. Check in with the teacher.

The parent-teacher conference is a good time to take the pulse of your child’s progress. But you can also check in regularly to make sure your child’s IEP is being followed. Share any concerns based on what you’re seeing at home. If your child spends most of his time in the general education classroom, his teacher will know if he’s being pulled out of class to work with special educators as promised in his IEP.

2. Contact the team leader if the IEP isn’t being honored.

If you think the school isn’t delivering all of the services and supports in your child’s IEP, don’t sit and stew. Be proactive and contact the IEP team leader. Give that person a chance to clear up misunderstandings and correct any problems. The leader may appreciate your alert. If corrective action is required, make sure it happens. Be friendly but firm.

3. If things don’t improve, request a special IEP team meeting.

If you take the steps above but aren’t satisfied with the results, you can request a special IEP meeting. You don’t have to wait until next year’s IEP meeting to iron out any problems. Getting the entire team together may be the only way to put your child’s IEP back on track as soon as possible.

4. Know your child’s special educators and their schedules.

The IEP should state what services your child will receive and for how many hours per week. You can ask the IEP team leader for the names of the special educators assigned to help your child. Find out what services they’ll provide and on which days. That way you can casually ask your child, “Did you spend time with Mrs. Smith today?” Your child may tell you a little—or a lot!

5. Read the progress reports.

Your child’s IEP includes measurable annual goals. It should also explain how his progress toward goals will be measured and when this will be reported to you. Many schools send IEP progress reports to parents when report cards are issued. Find out when you can expect progress reports and mark the dates on your calendar. Carve out time to compare the IEP with how well your child is progressing.

6. Watch, listen and read between the lines.

Keep an eye on your child’s homework and classroom test scores. Is the teacher adjusting assignments as noted in the IEP? If so, is your child making progress? Ask your child if he’s getting his accommodations, whether it’s extra time on tests or assistive technology. Talk to your child in a way that suits his age and personality. Listen carefully to what he says—or doesn’t say—about school and learning. Jot down your concerns.

Testing Accommodations – Quick Facts

Testing Accommodations – Quick Facts


Where are requests submitted and managed?Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) Online Dashboard


Test Accessibility and Accommodations (TAA) Online System


Who can access the online system?Schools only (work with your school’s “SSD Coordinator” to submit)


Schools only (work with your school’s ACT “Test Coordinator” to submit)


Do I have to register for a test before I request accommodations?


I have a learning disability. How recent does my psychoeducational evaluation need to be?


Within the last 5 years


Within the last 3 academic years


How long do I need to have had and used formal school accommodations before submitting a request?


Four months (Note: in our experience, the College Board is more likely to grant requests for students who have used accommodations for at least one school year.)


One year (Note: Overall, the ACT is more skeptical of a recent diagnosis and plan.)


Once I submit my request, how long will it take to receive a response?


Up to seven weeks


Up to two weeks (often much faster if the first request includes all the right documentation)


How long do my accommodations last? Do I need to submit a new request for each test I take?


Generally speaking, accommodations remain in place until one year after high school graduation and apply to any PSAT, SAT Subject Test, AP Exam you take during that time. You do not need to submit a new request through SSD online.


ACT accommodations apply to the specific test you registered for when you made your initial request. To apply the accommodations to future tests, you’ll need to request them again, and your TAA Coordinator must approve them.


How do I contact the testing company?


Contact SSD Email: ssd@info.collegeboard.org Phone: 212-713-8333 Fax: 866-360-0114 College Board SSD Program P.O. Box 7504 London, KY 40742-7504


Call ACT, Inc. at 319-337-1332


IEP and 504 Plans: Differences and Similarities

IEP and 504 Plans: Differences and Similarities

Published by Niche

The world of special education (and education in general) is filled with acronyms and jargon, which can often make it even more difficult to navigate and understand. Two of the more important documents that families should be familiar with include IEPs (Individualized Education Plans) and 504 plans.

Not to be confused with one another, both formal documents provide important accommodations and information for any child with special needs, yet they are vastly different.

Here’s what you need to know about the similarities and differences of each.

What They Are

An IEP is a comprehensive document that essentially serves as a blueprint or roadmap for a child with special education services. It includes comprehensive information about a child’s diagnoses, needs, recommended services, and accommodations, and pretty much anything else pertaining to the child’s unique identifying factors. It’s formal and legally binding and is the result of a comprehensive evaluation.

Dig deeper: What Is an IEP?

A 504 plan is also a map or plan, but it deals specifically with how a child will be learning within the school and does not equate to a diagnosis or even formal special education services. The name of the document arises from Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 which prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities who are in need of accommodations. This is issued to students who are able to participate in a general education classroom, but still, need accommodations that the school must provide.


  • Both documents outline accommodations for the student that is to be made under federal law.
  • Both documents are provided to all education and service providers who are responsible for the student named within the document.
  • Federal and state guidelines apply to both.


  • An IEP is an in-depth document for all students who require special education services. A 504 plan can accommodate students who can learn within a general education environment with stated modifications.
  • A 504 plan does not necessarily mean a child qualifies for special education services as per the child study team or districts’ respective equivalent.
  • 504 plans can be utilized on an as-needed basis – for instance, physical accommodations for a student with a temporary injury. IEPs constitute a fully active special education plan for students and are renewed annually.
  • Everything included in a 504 can be included in an IEP, but not everything in an IEP is included in a 504.
  • An IEP can provide services and supports that a 504 plan can’t, such as specialized instruction

Questions? Let’s chat!


Bettina Weil

Weil College Advising, LLC