Individualized Education Plans

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1 Individualized Education Plans Updated:

2 Children with special needs living in high-poverty neighborhoods are less likely to receive special services through an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). Importance IEPs, mandated by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1997 (IDEA, reauthorized in 2004), 1 are specific education plans for students with disabilities (in kindergarten or higher grades), created with input from teachers, parents, special education teachers, and, when appropriate, the students themselves. IEPs include information such as the student s current academic performance, annual goals, services received, anticipated needs for transition services, and how progress will be measured. IEPs should be detailed, and designed to meet the unique needs of the child. Research has shown that the quality of IEP documentation is related to the quality and quantity of services received by students with disabilities. 2 Early, accurately targeted interventions help each student learn to the best of his or her ability, improve the quality of their education, and avoid future problems, such as grade retention or academic failure. Families of minority cultural or ethnic backgrounds, and those with lowincomes, are less likely to access early intervention services, and are less likely to participate in the IEP process. 3 Thus, it is important to ensure that the IEP process is culturally and linguistically sensitive. 4 The 1997 legislation put an emphasis on parental involvement in the IEP process. 5 An IEP can serve as an opportunity for the student to acquire knowledge about his or her own disability, and how he or she can contribute to decisions about their own plan. The IDEA legislation requires that children and youth ages 14 and older be asked to participate in any meetings about their IEP. 6 Research shows that students who play a role in leading their IEP meetings know more about their own disabilities and rights, and may also gain in self-esteem. 7 2

3 Trends Between 2001 and 2012, the proportion of children in kindergarten through third grade receiving special services through an IEP increased, from 6 to 11 percent. (Figure 1) Figure 1 25 Percent of Children in Kindergarten through Grade 3 Receiving Special Services through an Individualized Education Plan, by Gender: Percent Total Boys Girls Source: Child Trends' original analysis of data from the National Household Education Among all children with special needs, i 54 percent were receiving special services through an IEP in 2012, nearly twice as many as in 2003 (28 percent). (Appendix 2) Of those children receiving IEP services, more than half (59 percent) had some type of speech or language delay. About one-third (30 percent) were diagnosed with ADD or ADHD, and one in seven (15 percent) were diagnosed with autism. 8 i Children with special needs include those whose parents were told the child had any of the following disabilities: a specific learning disability, mental retardation, a speech or language delay, a serious emotional disturbance, deafness or another hearing impairment, blindness or another visual impairment, another health impairment lasting 6 months or more, orthopedic impairments, autism, attention deficit disorder (ADD or ADHD), or Pervasive Development Disorder. In 2012, parents were also asked about developmental delay and traumatic brain injury. 3

4 Differences by Gender Boys are nearly twice as likely as girls are to receive special services through an IEP. In 2012, 14 percent of boys in kindergarten through third grade had an IEP, compared with 8 percent of girls in the same grades. This gap fell sharply between 2007 and (Figure 1) As recently as 2007, there was a substantial gap between boys and girls with special needs in their likelihood of receiving services through an IEP; however, in 2012 there was no significant difference by gender on this measure. (Appendix 2) Differences by Receipt of Public Assistance In 2012, children in households receiving Medicaid benefits in the last year were nearly twice as likely to have IEPs as children in households which did not receive Medicaid (16 and 9 percent, respectively). Similar, though smaller, contrasts are found between children in households receiving SNAP benefits (food stamps), and their counterparts not receiving such assistance. However, there were no significant differences in IEP rates between children in households receiving and not receiving WIC or TANF services and benefits. (Figure 2, Appendix 1) Figure 2 Percentage of Children in Kindergarten through Grade 3 Receiving Special Services through an Individualized Education Plan, by Type of Public Assistance Received (last 12 months): Percent Received Did not receive Received Did not receive Received Did not receive TANF benefits Medicaid SNAP (food stamps) Households Receiving Benefits Source: Child Trends' original analysis of data from the National Household Education Survey. 4

5 However, among children with special needs, receipt of public assistance is not associated with a greater prevalence of IEPs. (Appendix 2) Differences by Race and Hispanic Origin 9 In 2012, Asian children were less likely than white or black children to have an IEP (6 percent, compared with 11 and 13 percent, respectively). There were no other significant differences by race. (Appendix 1) Among children with special needs, there were no significant differences by race and ethnicity in their likelihood of receiving IEP services. (Appendix 2) Differences by Neighborhood Poverty Students in kindergarten through third-grade are much less likely to have an IEP if they live in a high- poverty neighborhood. In 2012, six percent of students living in a neighborhood with a child poverty rate of 20 percent or more received special services through an IEP, compared with at least ten percent of students who live in neighborhoods with lower poverty rates. (Figure 3) Patterns are similar among children with special needs. Figure 3 25 Percent of Kindergartners through Third-Graders Receiving Special Services through an Individualized Education Plan, by Neighborhood Child Poverty Rates: Percent Less than 5 percent 5 to 9 percent 10 to 19 percent 20 percent and more Source: Child Trends' original analysis of data from the National Household Education Survey. 5

6 Differences by Immigrant Status In 2012, children with native-born parents were more likely than native-born children with one or immigrant parents (12 and 9 percent, respectively) to have an IEP. (Appendix 1) However, among children with special needs there were no significant differences in receipt of IEP services by these categories. (Appendix 2) State and Local Estimates State estimates for children (ages 6 to 11, and 12 to 17) with an IEP are available from the Data Resource Center for Child and Adolescent Health at International Estimates None available. National Goals According to the US Department of Education, every child receiving special education services must have an Individualized Education Plan. More information is available at: What Works to Make Progress on This Indicator For children who have a learning disability, early diagnosis and subsequent development of an IEP are essential to their academic success. Students who have undiagnosed learning disabilities are less likely to receive the services they need and are entitled to, are more likely to be retained in school, and are at risk for becoming disengaged from school. Research has shown that the quality of IEP documentation is related to the quality and quantity of services received by students with disabilities. 10,11 6

7 Related Indicators Learning Disabilities: Children With Special Health Care Needs: Children with Limitations: ADHD: Autism Spectrum Disorders: Screening and Risk for Developmental Delay: Definition Data for this indicator include children in kindergarten through third grade, or the equivalent if they are home-schooled or in an ungraded program. After 2003, children were counted as receiving IEP services if their parents reported they received special services for one or more disabilities, and then answered yes to the question: Are any of these services provided through an Individualized Education Program or Plan (IEP)?. In 2012, an additional screening question was added prior that asked whether the child was receiving any services for his or her condition. Data from 2001 are based on the question: Are any of these services provided through an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) or Education Program or Plan (IEP)? Data Source Child Trends original analyses of data from National Household Education Survey. Raw Data Source National Household Education Surveys 7

8 Appendix 1 - Percentage of Children in Grades K through 3 Receiving Services through an Individualized Education Plan: Selected Years, Total Gender Male Female Race/Ethnicity Non-Hispanic white Non-Hispanic black Hispanic Asian or Pacific Islander Other Parental Education Less than a high school degree High school degree/equivalent Some college/ vocational degree Bachelor's degree or more Immigrant Status Native-born with native-born parents Native-born with a foreign-born parent Foreign-born

9 Primary Language Spoken in the Home (appendix 1) Both parents' main language is English One parent's main language is not English Neither parent's main language is English Poverty level Household income at or below poverty line Household income above poverty line WIC benefits Received WIC benefits in the past 12 months Did not receive WIC benefits in the past 12 months TANF benefits Received TANF benefits in the past 12 months Did not receive TANF benefits in the past 12 months Medicaid Receipt Received Medicaid in the past 12 months Did not receive Medicaid in the past 12 months SNAP (Food Stamp) Receipt Received SNAP in the past 12 months Did not receive SNAP in the past 12 months

10 (appendix 1) Urbanicity City Suburb Town Rural Urban, inside urbanized area Urban, outside urbanized area Rural, not urban Region Northeast Midwest South West Neighborhood Poverty (of those under 18) Less than 5 percent to 9 percent to 19 percent percent and more Type of School Public Private (not church-related) Private (church-related) Home schooled Grade level K through through Hispanics may be any race Source: Child Trends' original analyses of National Household Education Survey data. 10

11 Appendix 2 - Among Children with Special Needs 1, Percentage of Children in Grades K through 3 Receiving Services through an Individualized Education Plan: Selected Years, Total Gender Male Female Race/Ethnicity Non-Hispanic white Non-Hispanic black Hispanic Asian or Pacific Islander Other Parental Education Less than a high school degree High school degree/equivalent Some college/ vocational degree Bachelor's degree or more Immigrant Status Native-born with native-born parents Native-born with a foreign-born parent Foreign-born

12 (appendix 2) Primary Language Spoken in the Home Both parents' main language is English One parent's main language is not English Neither parent's main language is English Poverty level Household income at or below poverty line Household income above poverty line WIC benefits Received WIC benefits in the past 12 months Did not receive WIC benefits in the past 12 months TANF benefits Received TANF benefits in the past 12 months Did not receive TANF benefits in the past 12 months Medicaid Receipt Received Medicaid in the past 12 months Did not receive Medicaid in the past 12 months SNAP (Food Stamp) Receipt Received SNAP in the past 12 months Did not receive SNAP in the past 12 months

13 (appendix 2) Urbanicity City Suburb Town Rural Urban, inside urbanized area Urban, outside urbanized area Rural, not urban Region Northeast Midwest South West Neighborhood Poverty (of those under 18) Less than 5 percent to 9 percent to 19 percent percent and more Type of School Public Private (not church-related) Private (church-related) Home schooled

14 (appendix 2) Grade level K through through Special needs include those children whose parents were told the child had any of the following disabilities: a specific learning disability, mental retardation, a speech or language delay, a serious emotional disturbance, deafness or another hearing impairment, blindness or another visual impairment, orthopedic impairments, autism, attention deficit disorder (ADD or ADHD), or Pervasive Development Disorder. In 2012, parents were also asked about developmental delay and traumatic brain injury. 2 Hispanics may be any race. Source: Child Trends' original analyses of National Household Education Survey data. 14

15 Endnotes 1 U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services. (2000). A guide to the Individualized Education Program. Available at: 2 Test, D. W., Mason, C., Hughes, C., et al. (2004). Student involvement in individualized education program meetings. Exceptional Children, 70(4), Zhang, C., and Bennett, T. (2003). Facilitating the meaningful participation of culturally and linguistically diverse families in the IFSP and IEP process. Focus on Autism & Other Developmental Disabilities, 18(1), Takanishi, R. (2004). Leveling the playing field: Supporting immigrant children from birth to eight. Future of Children, 14(2), Sopko, K. (2003). The IEP: A synthesis of current literature since Prepared for Project FORUM, National Association of State Directors of Special Education (NASDSE): Alexandria, VA. Available at: 6 Test, D. W., Mason, C., Hughes, C., et al. (2004). Op. cit. 7 Mason, C. Y., McGahee-Kovac, M., Johnson, L. (2004).How to help students lead their IEP meetings. Teaching Exceptional Children, 36 (3), Child Trends original analyses of data from the National Household Education Survey. 9 Hispanics may be any race. 10 Duquette, C., and Fullarton, S. (2009). With an LD you re always mediocre and expect to be mediocre: Perceptions of adults recently diagnosed with learning disabilities. Exceptionality Education International, 19(1), Silverstein, M., Guppy, N., Young, R., Augustyn, M. (2009). Receipt of special education services following elementary grade retention. Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine. 163(6),

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