Can a Child with an IEP Fail?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Does having an IEP guarantee my son will not fail?

The answer to this particular question is No. An IEP does not guarantee that a child will not fail.

If a child has a disability and needs special education services, the school and parents meet to develop an IEP.

The IEP is an educational plan that should be tailored to meet your child’s unique needs. The program, or plan, describes what a child needs to enable him to be involved in and make progress in the general education curriculum.

The IEP does not guarantee that your child won’t fail, although it is unusual for a child with an IEP to fail.

On the flipside of this, a different question.

The school is denying my child services under Section 504 because he is not failing.  Does a student have to be failing to get a 504 plan or an IEP?

The answer to this question is No.  A child does not have to be failing to qualify for services under Section 504 or IDEA. The law does not mention “failing” as a criteria for services under Section 504 or IDEA.

If a child has a disability that limits a major life activity (such as reading and learning), he or she should be eligible for 504 protections.

Recently, the ADA was amended and renamed ADAAA. Section 504 was amended so that it incorporates the ADAAA and applies to public school students under Section 504. See

Take a look at the articles and resources on this page:

Your Challenge

If you have a child that is not failing but needs services, the law is on your side.  But that is not enough. You need to be a salesman and portray your child and his situation so school people want to help. This is your challenge.

Read our “Letter to the Stranger” article to see how a parent changed
their message, and in doing so, got her son the help he needed:

Leave a Reply

45 Comment threads
21 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
57 Comment authors
Notify of

My son will be in ninth grade for the second time now and will be repeating 9th grade next year for the third time! He has had an IEP for years. Needless to say he is not academically inclined and I feel that the school is quick to blame my child for not performing when it’s ultimately their job to help figure out how to enable him and teach him in a way he could learn. Am I wrong on this?


James, Kimberly, it is the school’s responsibility to address the student’s needs. Your state parent training and information project can assist you in advocating for your child.

Kimberly D.

My child is 15 with an IEP for a specific learning disability, he is in a co-taught English/Reading class to meet his needs but it failing every subject. I have his annual meeting coming up and looking for some suggestions or advice in how to increase services in other areas to meet his needs. I need him to enjoy school and believe the only class he feels confident in is his co-taught class.


My son is 12 and has an IEP, suffers from Ear Infections (Tubes 3rd, 4th, & 5th Grade & TMJ – wont give us a 504 asked by his pediatrician because they said it’s in his IEP), he’s only on a 3rd & 4th grade reading level and my son and I both want him to stay behind because he doesn’t feel he is learning. The school says he can’t stay behind because I will damage his learning. They won’t give him a professional tutor either. He also suffers from anxiety from bullying at school and kids that just won’t leave him alone. Plus he suffers from PTSD.


I’m realizing that it’s more about money than helping a child. My son has an IEP in language. He’s failing that class. I see no changes, lack of change and attitude from sped teacher. I’m a parent that is truly disgusted by what I see. No solutions, no changes. Red tape and a system that is allowing our kids to fall in the cracks. Some great teachers are apparent, but some don’t care at all.


My daughter is in the 4th grade we moved to another state in mid Oct she was transferred with a full I.E.P already it is now March and we just just had our meeting here they did another full evaluation on her informed me she is below grade level and want to retain her. And they are not equipped with the integrated services here she needs. 5 months to evaluate a child who is now behind.?? She was transferred with a full I.E.P help plz….


I feel that the best source of help is your state parent training and information center.