Is your child eligible for an IEP?

If your child has been significantly struggling in school for a while, it may be time to explore whether or not they need an IEP. Your child may be eligible for an IEP. Not all students who need academic support qualify for an IEP. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) lists thirteen types of disabilities that make a child eligible for an IEP, and requires schools to provide special education services for a child diagnosed with any of those criteria. 

To qualify for an IEP, a student’s academic performance must be adversely affected by any of the following:


  • Specific Learning Disability (SLD) – This covers several conditions such as dyslexia, dysgraphia, discalculalia, auditory processing disorder, and a non-verbal learning disability, all of which impact reading, listening, speaking, writing, and math. 
  • Other health impairment – This term includes any disability which impacts a child’s alertness, strength, and energy. One example is ADD/ADHD.
  • Autism spectrum disorder (ASD)
  • Emotional disturbance – This may involve any psychiatric disorder such as bipolar, schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or even anxiety or depression. 
  • Speech or language impairment – This includes both listening and speaking, and ranges from stuttering to difficult understanding language. 
  • Visual impairment – This includes partial or total blindness, but does not include impairments that can be corrected with eyewear. 
  • Deafness 
  • Hearing impairment – This type of hearing loss would have to adversely affect a child’s learning environment, and may not include children who can hear with a hearing aid.
  • Deaf-blindness – This includes children whose needs cannot be met with solely deaf or blind programs. 
  • Orthopedic impairment – This impairment involves a lack of bodily function, caused by congenital anomalies, disease, or accident. This includes absence of a member or limb, club foot, cerebral palsy, or any degenerative or musculoskeletal disorders. 
  • Intellectual disability
  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Multiple disabilities – Some children may be diagnosed with more than one disability, which cannot be accommodated for by any single program designed for a specific disability.


If you suspect your child may have an undiagnosed condition due to their struggles you’ve seen at school or home, the first step is to request an evaluation from your school. A school is required to evaluate a child at the request of a parent or staff member to determine if the child needs special education. An evaluation may be the difference between getting a child the specialized education they need, or having them fall further behind. 

As a parent, you can take the first step. Contact a Parent Guide at IEPready today!

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