Individual Education Program (IEP) Development

IEP stands for Individual Education Program. Federal law mandates that each individual with a disability have an IEP developed for him/her. Since physical education is specifically listed as a part of special education in the federal law, it is imperative that physical education teachers be a part of the IEP process. One of the best ways to do this is to become an active member of the IEP team. A physical education teacher can do this in several ways, such as:

  • attend the IEP team meetings,
  • keep in close communication with the IEP team leader and other team members,
  • assess the student in the areas of motor skills, sports skills, and physical fitness and give that information to the IEP team so appropriate IEP goals can be written for the student,
  • work closely with the related service providers, such as the physical therapist, occupational therapist, and speech therapist,
  • talk with your administrator and make sure he/she understands the importance of your participation in all phases of the IEP process (assessment, team meetings, goal writing, updates, etc.)

Federal law requires that each IEP contain the following information:

  • present level of performance - what your student can and cannot do compared to other children of a similar age;
  • annual goals and objectives - what your student is going to be working on during the next twelve months;
  • implementers - who wll be responsible for implementing the short term objectives;
  • special education and related services - the specially designed instruction and other services the school is going to use to make sure your student meets his/her goals and objectives;
  • participation in regular education programs - how much of the school day your student will be in classes and activities with children who do NOT have a disability;
  • schedule of review - when the progress of your student will be checked; and
  • transition - if your student is age 14 or older, you need to begin planning what your student will do after graduation and what training/education your student needs to get there.

All of the above IEP requirements make the physical educator more accountable for including students with disabilities in regular physical education whenever it is appropriate. If it is not possible to include the student in regular physical education, then the physical educator must document efforts to involve the student, including supplementary aids and services.

Writing goals and objectives:

The physical education instructor should have direct input in this part of the IEP. Before writing any goals or objectives the instructor must first assess the student (see the assessment section) to determine his/her strengths and weaknesses in motor skills, sports skills, fitness, and aquatics (if available). Based on the results, the long-term goals and short-term objectives are written, and should directly relate to the student's overall program goal and the student's present level of performance.

Example of present level of performance, long term goal, and short-term objective:

    Present level of performance: Jasmine is able to walk, run, gallop, and slide at the mature level. However, she has difficulty with the two foot standing long jump and vertical jump. She can long jump six inches and can barely get her feet off the ground when jumping vertically.

    Long term goal: Jasmine will improve the distance of her horizontal and vertical jumps by using mature arm and leg actions when jumping.

    Short-term objective: When performing the standing long jump Jasmine will independently use the mature arm pattern by moving her arms high and to the rear at the start of the jump and swinging them forward with force during takeoff, during four out of five trials.

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