Individualized Education Program gives these special children all the tools they need to excel in school. It is a document that outlines the student’s educational needs and any extra educational items or services they’ll need for this program to be successful.

Having a child who is different from his or her peers and has a harder time at school is hard on every parent. You worry about a lot of things like acceptance, your child’s ability to cope, and make friends. But most importantly, you worry about your child’s mental capabilities.

You also worry about their performance at school and how this would affect their future because you want life to be easy, and education is just one more place where they struggle.

As parents struggle, it’s also difficult for kids too. And finding a solution to this problem would bring relief to both parent and child. In many states, an Individualized Education Program (IEP) is the solution to this problem. Special needs children; for example, autistic children can get the help they need.

However, this document isn’t just released without following due process. In Maryland, there are quite a few hurdles to cross before your special needs child can get this document that makes learning easier for them.

Before your child can even be considered as a special needs child, someone has to acknowledge that there is a problem. It could be your child’s teacher who notices that your child might be having a hard time in school. It could also be you – the parent who makes a formal complaint to the IEP staff at your child’s school.

In Maryland, once you report this observation, there is a usually a 90-day limit to access the student. The assessment usually takes three ways:

  • General Screening
  • Assessing the students’ academic ability
  • Review of assessment

The members of the IEP team set up to resolve this consist of:

  • Parent/guardian
  • General education teacher
  • Special education teacher
  • Social worker
  • Psychologist
  • Speech pathologist
  • Nurse/health-related service provider
  • School administrator
  • Family Friend

Parental Consent for Individualized Education Programs

The State of Maryland has put in specific rules and laws to provide parents a more hands-on chance to be involved in their child’s educational needs. An example is a 5-day rule that stipulates that parents of the special needs child be given all documents about their child’s assessment and the IEP document, which outlines all the services the child needs.

Can parents sign an IEP (individualized education plan) if they don’t agree with the document?

No, they don’t!

One crucial aspect of implementing IEP’s is parental consent. Maryland respects the parent’s decision, and if as a parent, you don’t agree with the information in the IEP document, you aren’t mandated to sign. Refusal to give consent would stall any actions or help rendered to your child.

Usually, there’ll be another meeting of the main actors in the IEP team where you could object to all parts of the IEP document you had a problem with. Depending on how the meeting goes, you would either sign the IEP document or not. If you don’t, your child won’t be eligible for the IEP special needs student.


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SETH TALK – Makeia Kelly sets up 9th grade IEP

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Parent’s rights and the IEP process in Maryland

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External Resources

The Maryland Association of Nonpublic Special Education Facilities (MANSEF)

Support program: Autism Sibling Support Initiative

Support program: Sibling Support Project

Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council

Maryland Early Intervention and Special Education Services

Administration for Community Living

Pathfinders for Autism

Disability Scoop

Maryland Preschool Special Education

Maryland Department of Education Division of Early Childhood