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Doing Your Homework
Our School Says the IEP has Expired: Now What?
by Sue Whitney, Research Editor, Wrightslaw

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mother and daughter reading"My child has an IEP for 'learning disability' services. The school says she no longer has a learning disability and told me her IEP would expire at the end of this month.

What accommodations should I have them put in the 504 plan?"

Sue's Response:

A learning disability is not something a person outgrows.

You need to be sure there is a reason to discontinue the IEP. Make sure you know what you are agreeing to - and why.

Prior Written Notice

Removal from special education requires prior written notice from the school. The school district must tell you in writing. IDEA 2004 states:

(c) Notification Requirements-

(1) Content of Prior Written Notice - The notice required by subsection (b)(3) shall include-

(A) a description of the action proposed or refused by the agency;

(B) an explanation of why the agency proposes or refuses to take the action and a description of each evaluation procedure, assessment, record, or report the agency used as a basis for the proposed or refused action;

(C) a statement that the parents of a child with a disability have protection under the procedural safeguards of this part and, if this notice is not an initial referral for evaluation, the means by which a copy of a description of the procedural safeguards can be obtained;

(D) sources for parents to contact to obtain assistance in understanding the provisions of this part;

(E) a description of other options considered by the IEP Team and the reason why those options were rejected; and

(F) a description of the factors that are relevant to the agency's proposal or refusal.

See USC 20 1415(c) p.3-4 (in pdf format) or Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition, p.109.

IEPs Do Not "Expire"

The IEP will not "expire". It remains in effect until a new one is written or you agree that an IEP for specialized instruction and related services is no longer needed.

An evaluation is needed to show the IEP team that special education and related services are no longer needed.

  • Did the IEP team evaluate your daughter?
  • What testing did the team use to determine that your daughter does not have a learning disability?
  • What does the evaluation say about how she is learning compared to other children her age?
  • Has she mastered all the goals in her last IEP?

If the team did evaluate your daughter, did you understand the evaluation results?

If you understand the evaluation, and agree in writing that an IEP is no longer needed, then ask the school to carry the accommodations from the IEP over to a Section 504 plan.

Remember: Parental permission, signature, and agreement is not needed under Section 504. You will be giving up all your rights to participation if you agree to discontinue the IEP.

A 504 plan is available only to students who have a disability that limits a major life activity, such as learning. If the school agrees that your daughter has a disability that limits her ability to learn, then why discontinue the IEP?

If you already know the above information and you are only looking for 504 accommodations, then suggest that the school choose items from the list below.

School Accommodations and Modifications from the Families and Advocates Partnership for Education.

The school is not required to follow your suggestions about the content of a 504 plan.

Good Luck,

Sue Whitney


Meet Sue Whitney

Sue Whitney of Manchester, New Hampshire, works with families as a special education advocate and is the research editor for Wrightslaw.

Doing Your Homework, Suzanne Whitney gives savvy advice about reading, research based instruction, and creative strategies for using education standards to advocate for children and to improve public schools.

Her articles have been reprinted by,,, The Beacon: Journal of Special Education Law and Practice, the Schafer Autism Report, and have been used in CLE presentations to attorneys.

Sue is the co-author of Wrightslaw: No Child Left Behind (ISBN: 978-1-892320-12-4) that was published by Harbor House Law Press, Inc.

She also served on New Hampshire's Special Education State Advisory Committee on the Education of Students/Children with Disabilities (SAC).

Sue Whitney's bio.

Copyright © 2002-2022 by Suzanne Whitney.

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