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     A Student-Led IEP Initiative

    Developing skills in

    • self-determination,
    • problem solving,
    • self-evaluation,
    • choice-making, and
    • decision-making

    What Is It?


    Student-led IEPs is an initiative that builds self-determination in students with special needs. Self-determination is the ability to control your life by setting goals and taking the initiative to reach these goals.  The teacher guides the student in activities that develop self-advocacy and self-determination skills. Time is set aside to help the student understand the purpose and components of the IEP document thereby gaining the knowledge needed to participate in the meeting. 

    Students are provided on-going opportunities to plan, express, and actively pursue their own goals, as well as to evaluate their progress and adjust their activities accordingly.

    Characteristics of Student-Led IEPs


    • The IEP meeting emphasizes the student’s
      • strengths,
      • interests, and
      • plans for the future.


    • The student understands
      • the purpose of the IEP and contributes to its content.
      • the characteristics of their disability and the accommodations needed.
    • The student is often the discussion leader and presents information in a variety of ways.
    • The process increases the student’s voice in their educational decisions.


    Benefits to student


    The student is able to:


    • define their strengths and challenges.
    • express interests, likes, and dislikes.
    • practice communication and negotiation skill.
    • see the value in attending the meeting and providing input.
    • engage in their own education and transition planning.
    • be a contributing member in the decision making processes.


          Benefits for Parents

    • Improved communication with teacher
    • Positive interaction with school personnel
    • Increased independence for their child

    An innovative practice of the

    Georgia Department of Education

    Division for Special Education Services and Supports

    Professional Learning Unit