Does an Individualized Education Program (IEP) Mean the Child gets one-on-one instruction?

The quick answer to this IEP question is, “No.” The IEP provides an individualized plan to meet your child’s unique needs and the IEP form is based on your child’s ‘priority educational need.’ This means the focused instruction for your child is based on what is his or her most significant need. So if your child has a learning disability in writing, her IEP goal would be based on improving her writing. The IEP can have more than one IEP goal. In fact, most IEP’s have two or three IEP goals. There is no limit to the number of IEP goals your child can have.
Think about it, the more significant your child’s needs, the more IEP goals he or she will have. My son has an IEP for his writing disability (dysgraphia) and it is extremely difficult for him to get his thoughts written on paper. Here are Teddy’s IEP goals.
Given a blank graphic organizer, Teddy will complete the graphic organizer with 90% accuracy.
Given a blank outline, Teddy will fill in the outline with 90% accuracy.
Given a prompt, Teddy will write a five sentence paragraph with 90% accuracy.
See how the IEP goals naturally lead to writing the paragraph which is the functional skill he needs to do in school? He has to brainstorm, outline, and then write. Teddy may get one-to-one instruction but most likely it will be small group instruction. Small group IEP goal instruction is fine with me as long as the group is a maximum of one teacher to three students because this is what special education research has shown as effective. There are times when Teddy will need one to one instruction such as when he shares his writing for editing with the teacher.
As a general rule of thumb, the more significant the child’s needs or disability, the more there is a need for one-to-one instruction. For example, a child with significant intellectual disabilities may require more one-to-one instruction because he/she has to have hand over hand instruction that must be delivered individually. For example, learning to feed oneself using a spoon could require hand over hand instruction. Nevertheless, the IEP does not always require one-to-one instruction.
The ‘real deal’ here about one-to-one instruction is that the more severely disabled your child is the more likely they are to qualify for an individual teacher’s aid which then can translate into one-to-one instruction.