Parts of an IEP – Statement of Special Education

The next part of the Individualized Education Program (IEP) process is to talk about why the student will receive Special Education and what other services will be available to him/her to be able to access his/her education.  When I first hear about this my question was “And what does that mean and how does that look like in the IEP?”  Once again, we have to go to what IDEA says so we can understand how this is explained.


The information appear in (Sec. 300.320(a)(4) and states that each student’s IEP must contain:

(4) A statement of the special education and related services and supplementary aids and services, based on peer-reviewed research to the extent practicable, to be provided to the child, or on behalf of the child, and a statement of the program modifications or supports for school personnel that will be provided to enable the child—

(i) To advance appropriately toward attaining the annual goals;

(ii) To be involved in and make progress in the general education curriculum in accordance with paragraph (a)(1) of this section, and to participate in extracurricular and other non-academic  activities; and

(iii) To be educated and participate with other children with disabilities and non-disabled children in the activities described in this section… [§300.320(a)(4)]

SPED 101What is Special Education?

The first thing I want to share with you is that special education is not a place. It is not the last classroom down the hall; it is not the classroom for all the children with special needs.  In IDEA Special Education is defined as “specially designed instruction, at no cost to the parents, to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability,” When we talk about special education we look at a process where the teacher will modify or adapt the curriculum in a way that addresses the individual needs and differences of the students.

We talked about the Present Levels of Academic and Functional Performance as well as the IEP goals. This is the part of the IEP where the teacher will look at how he or she will adapt the curriculum for the student to access their education.

  • An example of a different curriculum would be one where the blind student is learning to read. The student will be learning the same vocabulary; however they are learning to read in Braille. This would meet the unique needs of this student.
  • An example of the same curriculum or teaching in the general education classroom would be a student who would teach the same information, but allow the student to use a calculator for math, or larger print books, or some form of assistive technology


Can the teachers modify the curriculum?

The answer is yes. That is why we ask a general education and a special education teacher to attend. The general education teacher has the knowledge of what the student needs to be learning and the special education teacher has the expertise on how changes and modifications to the way in which the teaching is done so the student can still learn what they have to learn, but in a way that works with their educational needs.


My child has always had a hard time with math. When she was in High School, her math level she was still at 1st grade. Trying to put her in Algebra or geometry classes would not be the smartest decision so the teacher had to modify the curriculum in order to teach her what she needed to learn based on her goals.  For Choir, she didn’t need the teacher to change the way in which she conducted her class; however, she did make some accommodations so our daughter could participate. The accommodations were to allow her to bring the music home so we could practice with her, oral exams instead of written; she also had a buddy that would help her get on and off stage when they had presentations.  In Physical Education (PE class) our daughter was allowed to change out before she got to class and not change with the other girls in the lockers. This was done after she reported that some of the girls were laughing at her. Yes, we did have our encounter with bullying, but that is a story for another blog.

modifications chart

The supports and services that our children may receive could include adapted equipment or materials, interventions or methodology to help the student’s access their education so the student can achieve a higher level of learning.   We need to keep in mind that special education, as well as supports and services will be provided to support the student ONLY in the areas of need based on the student’s disability.

The ultimate goal is to ensure that the student receiving special education services will become more self sufficient and successfully transition from school to the community.

Related Services

We discussed Related Services in a previous blog so I’m adding the link here: Physical and Occupational Therapies are related services in Special Education


We will continue with what are supplementary aids and services in our next blog.  For now I want to remind you that since IEP is a process, the more we know about our child’s disability and how it affects how they learn and perform, sharing our knowledge with the teachers and staff even before the IEP meeting will allow them to try different methods to assist the student in learning.

Parts of an IEP

I’ve been invited to an IEP, what do I do?

Once the team sits down for the IEP meeting


Feel free to send me your questions or comments.





Luz Adriana

My name is Luz Adriana Martinez and for the past 27 years I have been working in the field of advocacy for children with disabilities. I hold an MBA from the University of Phoenix and a BA from the Inter-American University of Puerto Rico.

I’m married to a great guy, Tito, an Army Veteran of 22 years, who supports all the crazy things I do. Being an Army wife also prepared us to be always on the move and without daddy for long periods of time. This also gave me the opportunity work and volunteer with organizations whose mission was to assist other military families. This blog results from my desire to give back to the many families that have given me and mine so much. I have had the fortune to be able to travel the world assisting military families and now that that stage of my life is over, I want to continue to share what I have learned in the hopes that I can still provide some information and resources to families who need it.

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  • Corinne Rodrigues on August 22, 2016

    I live in India where the education system is pretty archaic and hardly ever personalized for a child. Your post made very interesting reading. Sharing.

    • Luz Adriana on August 22, 2016

      Thanks for your comment. I met some parents from Japan who were in the US for school, they shared some similar thoughts.

  • Parul Thakur on August 23, 2016

    I wish I could say that we too customize the curriculum based on the child’s need. It’s sad and so not good for the child. Thanks for sharing.

  • jensalittleloopy on August 24, 2016

    This is a really helpful post, Luz! The IEP is a really confusing document if you don’t understand what you are looking at, and it is critical for parents to know as much as they can about what it contains. It can almost function as your child’s list of rights if things don’t go as planned in school…and a lot of times it doesn’t when you have kids like mine who were classified as BD/Other (one with Asperger’s and one with ADHD).

Thanks for the comment. Anything else we should be talking about?