1. Medical Services can be paid for by the School District if it is for diagnostic or evaluation purposes. As defined in the Individuals with Disabilities Act: “Medical Services means services provided by a licensed physician to determine a child’s medically related disability that results in the child’s need for special education and related services.”
2. The Child find mandate requires all children with disabilities residing in the State, including children with disabilities who are homeless children or are wards of the State, and children with disabilities attending private schools, regardless of the severity of their disability, and who are in need of special education and related services, to be identified, located, and evaluated. The child find mandate also includes children who are suspected of being a child with a disability and in need of special education, even though they are advancing from grade to grade.
3. The School District must take steps to provide children with an IEP an equal opportunity to participate in nonacademic and extracurricular services and activities. This must be accomplished by providing the appropriate support in the form of supplementary aids and services which allows the child “to be involved in and make progress in the general education curriculum in accordance with subclause (I) and to participate in extracurricular and other nonacademic activities.”
4. “Nonacademic and extracurricular services and activities may include counseling services, athletics, transportation, health services, interest recreational activities, special groups or clubs sponsored by the public agency, referrals to agencies that provide assistance to individuals with disabilities, and employment of students, including both employment by the public agency and assistance in making outside employment available.” (Authority: 20 U. S. C.1412(a)(1))
5. “The State must ensure that each public agency takes steps to ensure that its children with disabilities have available to them the variety of educational programs and services available to nondisabled children in the area served by the agency, including art, music, industrial arts, consumer and homemaking education, and vocational education.” (Authority: 20 U. S. C.1412(a)(2), 1413(a)(1))
6. The School District must ensure that hearing aids worn in school by children with hearing impairments, including deafness, are functioning properly. The School District must ensure that the external components of surgically implanted medical devices are functioning properly.
7. The child/student, when appropriate, is a member of the IEP Team. The student is not only the recipient of the IEP they are also an integral member of the IEP team. The student should be involved as much as possible in the creation and implementation of the IEP. Without their buy in, especially in middle school and high school, the less effective the IEP will be. It takes some additional planning to involve the student but its well worth the additional time to make sure they are willing to put in the necessary effort to implement the IEP.
8. For those children with a disability parentally-placed in a private school they can be eligible for a services plan. A services plan is not an IEP. IEPs are more comprehensive than services plans developed for parentally placed private school children with disabilities who are designated to receive services. This is because parentally placed children do not have an individual entitlement to any or all of the services that the children would receive if enrolled in a public school. A services plan should reflect only the services offered to a parentally placed private school child with a disability designated to receive services.
9. The United States Department of Education is responsible for awarding at least one grant in each state to establish a Parent Training and Information Center. According to the Parent Technical Assistance Center Network, Parent Centers help families to:
- better understand their children’s disabilities and educational, developmental, and transitional needs
- communicate more effectively with special education, early intervention, and related professionals
- understand their rights and responsibilities under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the federal special education law
- obtain appropriate services for their children through participation in the individualized education program (IEP) and individualized family service plan (IFSP) decision making process
- resolve disagreements and understand the benefits of alternative methods of dispute resolution
- connect with other local, state, and national resources that assist children with disabilities
10. The most important part of IDEA is found in the Congressional findings and purposes section. It is section 1400 of IDEA and I recommend everyone spend a few minutes reading it. If you don’t read it in its entirety the first part of the purpose of IDEA is: “to ensure that all children with disabilities have available to them a free appropriate public education that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment, and independent living.” IDEA is very much about preparation for life not just getting through school and sometimes we all have a hard time remembering that.