IEP / IFSP / 504 Basics

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A Family Guide to Understanding the Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP)

A Family Guide to the Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) is designed to help families understand the Maryland Infants and Toddlers Program and support families in the early intervention and education birth through five system of services. It will help guide families through the IFSP process and written documentation.


Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) Process and Document Guide

An Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) is a process and a document provided to children under the age of 3 who are eligible for early intervention services. Services are delivered in the home or community-based settings and are family centered. The Maryland Infants & Toddlers Program IFSP Process and Document Guide explains the purpose and necessary documentation of each step in the IFSP process.


Children with Special Healthcare Needs Require Individual Health Plans in IEPs/504s

By Lauren Agoratus, M.A
ep Magazine

Students with special healthcare needs may need extra medical support to attend school.  Special healthcare needs could impact attendance, academic performance, or even require emergency intervention.  Children with special healthcare needs can have an Individualized Healthcare Plan (IHP) as an addendum to their IEP (Individualized Education Program) or 504 plan.

School bus on blacktop with clean sunny background

Parent Tips: Riding a Special Needs Bus

What parents can do to help ensure students are safe

By Howard County Autism Society

The IEP team has decided that your student qualifies for special needs transportation to and from home and school. Now what? Your student’s bus ride can set the tone for her school day and help with the transition from school to home or after-school activities. With so much at stake, how can parents help ensure students are safe and secure while riding the school bus?

Happy child having fun to ride on swings when mother pushing her swings

Natural Environments Support Early Intervention Services

Pacer Center

All young children tend to thrive when they’re in familiar surroundings and with the people and objects that are most dear to them. For young children with disabilities, those reassuring surroundings are an essential part of their early intervention services. Called “natural environments,” they’re where children can practice new skills and reap the full benefits of professional intervention services.

Natural environments are more than people, places, and objects. They’re an essential part of your child’s right to inclusive early childhood special education services under Part C of the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).


Printable Downloads to Help Manage Your Child’s IEP

From Understood

Navigating your child’s IEP can be tricky. These printable downloads from Understood can help make the process easier. Use them to monitor your child’s progress, track communications with the school, and more.

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Understanding the IEP Process

Strengthening Relationships with Positive Advocacy

A presentation by Beth Benevides, Howard County Autism Society

Mother Helping Son With Homework At Home

How Does a 504 Plan Differ From an IEP?

By Terri Mauro

Both a 504 plan and an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) involve special education accommodations, but do you know how these two plans differ from each other? Learn the differences and similarities between the two with this review of how a 504 plan lines up with an IEP.


Common Acronyms and Terms Used During IFSP and IEP Meetings

Maryland Learning Links

IFSP and IEP acronyms and terms are defined here. If you don’t understand something that’s said in your student’s meeting, ask. You are your student’s best advocate.

Common Acronyms and Terms Used During IFSP and IEP Meetings Handout


Strengths-Based IEPs


Imagine an Individualized Education Program (IEP) that focuses as much on your child’s strengths as it does on your child’s weaknesses. Unfortunately, that’s not the norm for most students yet.

In a typical IEP meeting, not much time is given to looking at a child’s strengths. Strengths are covered at the beginning of the meeting, and the rest of the time is focused on deficits.