{Ask an Advocate} school wants to discontinue the IEP

Today’s question:

I had a pre-IEP meeting and my school said they want to discontinue the IEP. What does this mean?

Thank you for the question. “Discontinuing the IEP” usually means your child no longer needs special education services.  In other words, the IEP exit criteria have been met.  Your child will be performing at grade level both academically and socially.  There will be reevaluation reports, grades, and feedback from those who know your child confirming grade-level performance in school, at home, and in your community without the need for any special services or accommodations.  Does this sound like your child? If it does, congrats! I think this is every parent’s dream, if they have a child with special needs.


Your question leads me to believe that hearing about discontinuing the IEP was a surprise.  First, keep the following in mind:

  • The IEP is a legally binding, individualized/child-focused document
  • The IEP will contain your child’s needs, strengths, services, annual and short-tem goals, and present levels of achievement
  • The IEP is developed by parents, students (meeting participation), teachers, and specialists

And rather that give you answers, we have a lot more questions for you.

Questions to ask if school is considering ending special education

  • What is the exit criteria on the IEP?
  • Generally if a student can/is going to be exited from Special Education, a transition procedure happens. Has that happened?
  • Is the child at a transition age? Was a transition plan done?
  • What is the child’s placement: LRE or APS? You cannot usually transition a child directly from a more restrictive environment to regular ed without supports.
  • What are the present levels of achievement and what were the results of the child’s last RR? Did  you agree with the findings? Did other members on the IEP team agree with the findings?
  • Is the documented progress evident in the child’s performance and behavior across all environments (was the actual need met)?
  • Is there reason to believe that regression will occur without an individualized program?
  • Does the child require any other accommodations? Is a 504 appropriate?
  • Is there any history of conflict within the IEP team?

Overall, go with your gut instincts. Do you feel your child is ready to be discontinued from special education services? Or do you think they still need specially designed instruction and services?  There are procedures in place to protect your child from premature dismissal from Special Education. Do you feel your child needs special education and specially designed instruction and therefore an IEP, or is a 504 sufficient? Remember that with a 504, there are no goals and no progress monitoring.

Good luck and keep us posted!


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