Individualized Education Plans (IEP) for PANS PANDAS

IEP Basics aspire pans pandas

Read Getting Started with 504 & IEP Plans first.

Special Education is provided through the Individualized Education Program (IEP) for a student with a qualifying disability. The primary purpose of the IEP is to help the student reach state grade-level standards. An IEP is a written legal document for a student with a disability developed, reviewed, and revised by a team of people, including the student’s family, outlining the student’s educational plan. It documents a student’s educational needs and the details of their specialized instruction, including placement, program, accommodations, and goals. An IEP can be used for students in grades K–12, while a 504 plan can serve students at K–12 and college levels. The IEP team must review the IEP plan at least once a year, but revisions can be made at any time. The team must reevaluate the student every three years to decide if they still qualify for services. In a nutshell, the IEP

  • Contains learning goals based on the student’s needs (modified curriculum)
  • Describes the services a student will receive to progress towards learning goals  

Eligibility Determination – 13 Disability Categories

The first step is to determine eligibility for an IEP through an evaluation. The student’s disability must be significant enough to affect their ability to achieve academically in a general education setting, requiring specialized instruction to make progress. If the school determines the student’s disability does not impede their ability to learn in a general education classroom, they will not qualify for an IEP but they may qualify for accommodations available through a 504 Plan. See: 504 Plan Basics for PANS PANDAS

There are 13 disability categories included in IDEA that a student can meet eligibility requirements for an IEP plan. IDEA also states that all students, no matter if they have a disability or not, are entitled to free and appropriate education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment (LRE). 

  1. Specific Learning Disability (SLD) – Learning challenges that affect students’ ability to do math, reason, speak, read, or write.
  2. Other Health Impairment (OHI) – Includes limited strength, vitality, or alertness, including heightened environmental awareness. For example, Tourette syndrome, rheumatic fever, ADHD, diabetes, and more. (See more on OHI)
  3. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) – Note: one can have a dual diagnosis of PANS PANDAS and Autism
  4. Emotional Disturbance (ED) – Includes many mental health issues. For example, anxiety, disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder
  5. Speech or language impairment
  6. Visual impairment
  7. Deafness
  8. Hearing Impairment
  9. Deaf-Blindness
  10. Orthopedic impairment
  11. Intellectual Disability
  12. Traumatic Brain Injury
  13. Multiple Disabilities – Used when a student has more than one of the above conditions requiring a program that supports more than 
See Sample Letters

What an IEP Must Include

  • Present Levels of Performance (PLOP, PLAAFP, or PLP). A detailed PLOP is critical for determining goals, services, and placement. It characterizes the student’s academic, physical and social strengths, abilities, skills, and weaknesses. It reviews whether the student can learn within the general education curriculum, handle daily living functions, and socialize. The PLOP is developed from data and observations; the team must include parent observations about their child’s abilities and deficits. The PLOP serves as the baseline in which the planning team develops goals and determines services and placement. Ideally, the team should write a goal for every deficit in the PLOP. The PLOP should be updated annually since students master goals and objectives, mature, face new challenges, so their performance needs will change accordingly. 
  • Annual Goals, Services & Placement
    • Goals – Review the previous years’ goals to see how the student progressed. If goals are not met to a satisfactory level, they may need to be repeated or adjusted to help the student learn the goal in a way that fits their learning style. 
      • Write new goals based on last year’s progress, PLOP. Include effective ways to measure improvement. 
    • Services – May include special education, related services, extended school year (ESY) services, aides, supplementary education. Must include frequency, location, and duration of the services. 
    • Placement – Determines where goals and services will be provided, i.e., special education self-contained classroom, general education classroom, outplacement, etc. 
  • Accommodations – Supports help remove learning barriers due to the disability. See: 504 Plan Basics for PANS PANDAS
  • Modifications – Teaching strategies and helping the student learn in new ways should be attempted before making modifications to the curriculum that change what the student is taught and what they are expected to learn. Note: Modifications to the curriculum may affect the ability to graduate if changes allow the student to diverge too far from achieving academic standards.
  • Participation in Mainstream – Placement must be in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE). The team must explain to what extent the student will participate in general education academic and non-academic activities. 
  • Plan for Standardized Tests – Will extended time be needed? Will other accommodations be required?

IEP Team Members

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) mandates that a specific team develop the IEP. In addition to the list below, the team may invite additional members such as a parent advocate, special educational lawyer, or a family friend. 

  • Parents/Guardians – Yes, you are legally part of the team as you provide invaluable insight into your child’s strengths and weaknesses. 
  • School district representative – At least one member must have the ability to approve all elements of the IEP. 
  • At least one expert who can interpret evaluation results may already be a team member, but they could be a therapist or psychologist.
  • At least one of the student’s special education teachers
  • At least one of the student’s general education teachers
  • The student – Once the student is 16 years old, they will be a team member to self-advocate and help develop plans.
  • Translator – As needed

Special Education Articles

Learn more about PANS PANDAS in the school setting. PANS PANDAS is a medical condition in which symptoms affect a student’s ability to attend school and learn.


Written in conjunction with ASPIRE Education Committee and Shara Virlan.

Sharla has 14 years of classroom education. She also has a child with PANDAS. She runs the PANS PANDAS Education Facebook page.

  • S Elementary Ed. with a minor in Early Childhood ED.
  • Masters in Educational Leadership
  • License in Reading Instruction
  • 14 years of teaching experience (Grades K-3)
  • 1 year of Literacy Coaching

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