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Peer-Reviewed Research & Research Based Instruction

August 22, 2014 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Doug Goldberg

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) when reauthorized in 2004 introduced the concept of Research Based Instruction. This was done in order to align the regulations with the No Child Left Behind Act and to hold Schools more accountable for the lack of progress children with disabilities were making in their classrooms.

Congress, in their findings, determined, “the implementation of this title (IDEA) has been impeded by low expectations, and an insufficient focus on applying replicable research on proven methods of teaching and learning for children with disabilities.” Read the rest of this entry →

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Educational placements from Least Restrictive to Most Restrictive

August 21, 2014 in Special Education Articles by Dennise Goldberg

Least Restrictive Environment is defined as “In General.  To the maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities, including children in public or private institutions or other care facilities, are educated with children who are not disabled, and special classes, separate schooling, or other removal of children with disabilities from the regular educational environment occurs only when the nature or severity of the disability of a child is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily” 20 U.S.C § 1412(a)(5)(A).  Below is list of educational placements from least restrictive to most restrictive: Read the rest of this entry →

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What is compensatory education?

August 19, 2014 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Doug Goldberg

What is it?

Compensatory education is generally defined as a remedy owed to children with a disability who have been denied, a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). Compensatory education may include summer services, additional therapy hours, or other measures that make the student whole for past violations of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) by the School District. Compensatory education is intended to be a onetime offer to compensate for past denial of FAPE and doesn’t relieve the School District of providing FAPE on a go forward basis. Thus, compensatory education should be in addition to the necessary services to provide the child FAPE in the current or future Individualized Education Programs (IEP). Read the rest of this entry →

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Learning Basic Life Skills in High School

August 17, 2014 in Special Education Articles by Jess

What should families expect their children to learn in a life skills class at the high school level? A simple question; however, I think many schools seem to struggle with providing valuable life skills lessons. Our students age out at 22 years old, which means the state is no longer responsible with providing the students services through public schools. When students attain that age and leave our system, it is incredibly important for them and their family that the student has learned coping skills to assist them to become more independent in their life. Read the rest of this entry →

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Understanding the Importance of IEP Goals and Objectives

July 7, 2014 in Special Education Articles by Jess

The Goals and Objectives section of the IEP is the”meat” of the IEP. Goals and objectives should be directly linked to the child’s educational needs. Special educators determine what a child’s education needs are through formal and informal assessments, through observations of the child’s behaviors and social interactions, through parent feedback, through work products the child creates and through evaluating the child’s level of success with different teaching interventions. The goals and objectives are the specific skills the child is going to learn during the course of the IEP, which is usually one year. Read the rest of this entry →

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Why Free Doesn’t Really Apply to FAPE

May 20, 2014 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Doug Goldberg

Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) is a myth!  Generally[1] speaking, if your child has an Individualized Education Program (IEP) they are either receiving a Free Public Education or an Appropriate Public Education but not both.  The term FAPE means special education and related services that:

  1. have been provided at public expense, under public supervision and direction, and without charge;
  2. meet the standards of the State educational agency;
  3. include an appropriate preschool, elementary school, or secondary school education in the State involved; and
  4. are provided in conformity with the IEP required under Section 1414(d) of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Read the rest of this entry →
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When a Child’s Disability becomes the “Elephant in the Room”

May 18, 2014 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Dennise Goldberg

The phrase “Elephant in the Room” has been a part of the English language for a very long time; I’m sure as adults we’ve all used it in conversation at one time or another.  Wikipedia defines it as “is an English metaphorical idiom for an obvious truth that is either being ignored or going unaddressed.”  The two words that I think stand out the most in the definition are “ignored” and “unaddressed.”  Let’s now apply this definition to children with disabilities; the “Elephant in the Room” in many schools or households is a child with a disability.  There are many reasons why a child’s disability may be ignored or not addressed.  Read the rest of this entry →

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How to Prepare for a Manifestation Determination Review

April 11, 2014 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Doug Goldberg

One of the most devastating calls you can receive as a parent is the School calling to tell you they have initiated an expulsion proceeding against your child due to poor behavior. If your child has an Individualized Education Program (“IEP”) before the expulsion process can start they must hold a Manifestation Determination review. This review must be held within 10 days of the conduct. At which time the IEP team must review the complete file and consider all relevant information, including the IEP, any teacher observations, and any information supplied by the parents. The IEP team must then answer two questions: Read the rest of this entry →

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Putting an Appropriate IEP Team Together

March 22, 2014 in Special Education Advisor Blog by Doug Goldberg

Pete Wright, the Godfather of Special Education law, has often been quoted saying, “Unless you are prepared to remove your child from public school forever, you need to view your relationship with the school as a marriage without the possibility of divorce.” While this may be true regarding the School relationship, this isn’t the case for individual members of the IEP Team. IEP Team members change frequently and it’s amazing how adding or removing one person from the IEP Team can make a huge difference in the quality and implementation of an IEP. While the Parents are not normally in control of the IEP team members from the School, there are methods the Parents can use to add or remove members. Read the rest of this entry →

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Do You Need A 504 Plan for Your Child’s Health Needs?

March 21, 2014 in Special Education Articles by Jess

More students than ever are currently attending school with such chronic conditions as diabetes, cancer, asthma, severe food allergies and seizure disorders.

For more than a decade, I supervised the school nurses in an 11,000-student school district. I often consulted with parents, principals, and nurses about students’ health concerns.

If your child has a specific condition, you are your child’s best advocate. Make sure you are thoroughly informed about your child’s needs and rights. It is critically important for you to communicate with the school principal, school nurse, and your child’s teachers. Be actively involved in helping the school to understand and provide the services and attention your child needs to succeed.

Prescriptions, doctor’s orders and other necessary paperwork should be updated by parents at the start of each school year or when there is a change in your child’s treatment. You should also check the school’s policies, protocols and guidelines in regard to the handling of specific health conditions.

Often, health issues can be addressed successfully by developing a medical management plan that gives the school guidance on your child’s specific needs. Creating a medical management plan for how your child’s health needs will be handled at school should be a team effort that includes you, your child, school personnel, and your child’s doctors. It is very important that the plan is documented in writing.

Parents often ask about whether they need a 504 Plan to manage their child’s health needs at school. Whereas a medical management plan provides guidelines, a 504 Plan is legally binding. It is your call whether you want to request a 504 Plan for your child.

School districts are required by the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 U.S.C. § 794) to provide all students, regardless of disability, with a “free appropriate public education.” This provision, found in section 504, applies to any condition – physical, mental, or emotional – that might interfere with a student’s ability to receive an education in a public school. That means that no student with a disability can be excluded from school. 504 Plans are comprehensive plans created collaboratively by parents, nurses, and other interested parties to address the student’s individual needs.

Severe peanut allergies, diabetes, and seizure disorders are a few of the conditions that may or may not fall under the Rehabilitation Act. For example, 504 Plans may address the use of anaphylactic medications, such as epi-pens, and how staff will be utilized to recognize and respond to allergy symptoms. 504 plans sometimes require nurses to be on school premises at all times to administer glucagon for diabetes or seizure disorder medication. 504 plans may also address specific responsibilities of students and staff.

A student must have a condition that “substantially limits one or more major life activities,” to qualify for a 504 Plan. Students have to be evaluated by the school district to determine whether they are eligible. The district will take into consideration the age and capability of the child. If parents are dissatisfied with the outcome, they may appeal.

In addition to the Rehabilitation Act, several other laws protect students with health issues. These include the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. While the Rehabilitation Act offers protection to public school students, the ADA extends protection to students in private schools and day care centers

What are the pros and cons of a 504 Plan?

• A 504 Plan is a legal document. 504 Plans can be enforced in court, or with the United States Office of Civil Rights

• A 504 Plan makes expectations for all concerned — parents, students, classmates, teachers, aides, nurses, and administrators – crystal clear.

• 504 Plans can provide specific guidelines for handling your child’s health issues even if there are changes in school personnel.

• 504 Plans can address your child’s health needs in a variety of school-related activities, including field trips, fire drills, lunch, and extra-curricular activities.

• Obtaining a 504 Plan will be time-consuming. There will be an evaluation and assessment of your child and several meetings to arrive at agreement on the specifics of the plan.

• Although you are not required to have a lawyer, you may decide to hire one to represent your child’s interests or to appeal a decision. This could be quite costly.

The bottom line has to do with the seriousness of your child’s symptoms and how capable he/she is to take care of his/her health needs. You are the best judge. It is your decision whether you want to have a legally enforceable plan or if you are comfortable with a medical management plan. Whichever you choose, it is always a good idea to make sure everything is in writing. If you are in doubt, consult with your child’s doctor and an attorney, who has expertise in this area.

Biography:

Dr. Meryl Ain has worked in several large Long Island, New York school districts as a central office administrator, teacher, and school building administrator. She shares her insights and expertise on her blog, Your Education Doctor. Dr. Ain offers consulting and other professional service to individuals, groups, teachers and school districts.

www.youreducationdoctor.wordpress.com

http://twitter.com/DrMerylAin

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http://www.linkedin.com/pub/meryl-ain/37/90a/464

 

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