Even though the main laws and statutes governing IEPs is a Federal one called IDEA, much of what the schools do is governed at the state level.

And, it’s not the same in every state. Here are some of the quirks that states have when it comes to IEPs.

Pennsylvania

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PA has a few little quirks that make it different. First, they call a PWN a NOREP. And, for an intellectually disabled student, they cannot be suspended for even one day without a manifestation hearing.

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Find your state: IEP Laws and IDEA Regulations, Explained: IDEA Laws for all 50 States

Michigan

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In Michigan, if a disabled students needs it, they can remain in the public school system up to age 26. IDEA says 21.

Find your state: IEP Laws and IDEA Regulations, Explained: IDEA Laws for all 50 States

Texas

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Most states call it an IEP meeting, as does IDEA. I guess Texas didn’t like that! Because they call it an ARD, which stands for Admission, Review and Dismissal.

Find your state: IEP Laws and IDEA Regulations, Explained: IDEA Laws for all 50 States

California

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California does a few things differently. First, it is a “consent” state. The school district is supposed to obtain parent consent before they implement each new proposed IEP (not just the initial IEP as is required by IDEA). So parents can sign consent with exceptions to allow parts of the IEP they agree with but prevent the LEA from implementing parts they don’t agree with, and they don’t have to file for hearing to do so.

Find your state: IEP Laws and IDEA Regulations, Explained: IDEA Laws for all 50 States

Illinois

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IDEA doesn’t require a draft IEP, but Illinois does! And three days before the IEP meeting, too! Illinois school districts are also required to inform families about ABLE accounts and about PUNS (the waitlist for Medicaid waiver services).

Find your state: IEP Laws and IDEA Regulations, Explained: IDEA Laws for all 50 States

Pennsylvania (again!)

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If you’re a deaf or hard of hearing student in Pennsylvania, a communication plan is a required component of IEPs. That’s so great!

Find your state: IEP Laws and IDEA Regulations, Explained: IDEA Laws for all 50 States

Louisiana

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Tsk tsk Louisiana! Sounds like some of this could be improved. And as an advocate I don’t see how this is FAPE. There is not a section for specially designed instruction except under Goals in Louisiana. And the accommodations section is a checklist. Any accommodations not on that checklist cannot be used on standardized tests.

Find your state: IEP Laws and IDEA Regulations, Explained: IDEA Laws for all 50 States

Massachusetts

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Most states do not allow a parent to “partially reject” an IEP. But Massachusetts does!

Find your state: IEP Laws and IDEA Regulations, Explained: IDEA Laws for all 50 States

Virginia

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All 50 states require a parent to sign the initial IEP to begin services. Only 4 states require a parent’s signature on subsequent IEPs. Virginia is one of them. Montana, MA and CA are the others.

Find your state: IEP Laws and IDEA Regulations, Explained: IDEA Laws for all 50 States

How do you learn your parental rights?

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Parents, it’s essential that you learn all of your parental rights in the IEP process so that you can be the best advocate possible for your child.

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