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Educational Planning for Individual Children

This information is part of an online guide, Resources for Mainstream Programs

Federal legislation governing programs and services for deaf and hard of hearing children (the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or IDEA, http://idea.ed.gov/) requires public school systems to provide a "free and appropriate public education" for each child. It establishes the procedure for developing an individualized curriculum and identifying support services for individual children; it requires an annual review of its effectiveness. This process is called the Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) for children under the age of 3 or the Individualized Education Program (IEP) for all other children. Whether you are the child's parent, teacher, instructional aide, interpreter, audiologist, or other support person, it is likely that your input during the IFSP or IEP process can help to ensure that the child's education is effective and the program placement is appropriate.

Alternatively, some children with disabilities may make appropriate progress in the general curriculum without significant remediation or assistance. They continue to need services to ensure they have full access to classroom learning and activities. When children only need services that ensure they have that access, they may have 504 plans instead of IEPs.

The Clerc Center offers an introduction to each of these programs and plans in its Info to Go online resource library:

An important part of planning for each deaf and hard of hearing child's education is identifying the support services and accommodations they will need. More information about supports and accommodations for students, from Info to Go.


American Speech-Language-Hearing Association: IDEA action center.

Bodner-Johnson, B., & Sass-Lehrer, M. (Eds.). (2003). The young deaf or hard of hearing child: A family-centered approach to early education. Baltimore: Brookes Publishing Co.

Building the Legacy: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) 2004

NASDSE (National Association of State Directors of Special Education). (2007). Meeting the needs of students who are deaf and hard of hearing: Educational services guidelines. (Product number PNA-0603) http://www.nasdse.org/Projects/DeafEducationInitiative/tabid/412/Default.aspx