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Navigating the IEP Process

CCCDP and NC AG Bell Hear 'n' Now Conference 2011
by

William Hatch

on 14 November 2011

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Transcript of Navigating the IEP Process

Navigating the IEP Process Focus FAPE Rights and Responsibilities Questions?? Terminology
Determining EC eligibility
IEP Process: IEP team; Evals / THEE IEP; placement; implementation; monitor; re-evaluate
Related services; Supplementary aids and services; Cost considerations
Section 504 "A" is the hardest! Bill Hatch, M.A., J.D. Disclaimer: This presentation is not to be used as a substitute for consultation with your school or private attorney To Begin with...some terminology EC/Special Education Section 504 Special needs A bit more ... Modification Accommodation IEP Process INDIVIDUALIZED Education Plan IEP Team* Evaluations* Importance of having the correct people at meeting...who know the student...AND able to properly "communicate" with the parents/student Determining Eligibility and just a few more...but important ones The Meeting* Thee IEP: The Document Informed consent Section 504 Placement* Supplementary Aids and Services* Implementation of the IEP* Monitor and Re-evaluate*... and Re-write or Amend IEP if necessary IEP Checklist...yes there is an app for that... Goals and Objectives* ...based on Evals IEP Team decisions include the following, among other things: Based on the goals and objectives...where does this student need to be in the continuum of educational settings? Environmental factors (e.g., preferential seating; planned seating on the bus, in the classroom, at lunch, in the auditorium, and in other locations; altered physical room arrangement);
Levels of staff support (e.g., consultation, stop-in support, classroom companion, one-on-one assistance; type of personnel support: behavior specialist, health care assistant, instructional support assistant);
Planning time for collaboration of staff;
Student’s specialized equipment (e.g., wheelchair, computer, software, voice synthesizer, augmentative communication device, utensils/cups/plates, restroom equipment);
Pacing of instruction (e.g., breaks, more time, home set of materials);
Presentation of subject matter (e.g., taped lectures, sign language, primary language, paired reading and writing);
Materials (e.g., scanned tests and notes into computer, shared note-taking, large print or Braille, assistive technology);
Assignment modification/accomodation (e.g., shorter assignments, taped lessons, instructions broken down into steps, allow student to record or type assignment);
Self-management and/or follow-through (e.g., calendars, teach study skills);
Testing adaptations (e.g., read test to child, modify format, extend time);
Social interaction support (e.g., provide Circle of Friends, use cooperative learning groups, teach social skills);
Training for personnel.
IDEA requires that a student be assessed in all areas related to his or her suspected disability. This evaluation must be sufficiently comprehensive so as to identify all of the child’s special education and related services needs, whether or not those needs are commonly linked to the disability category in which he or she has been classified and... ...must be sufficiently comprehensive so as to identify all of the child’s special education and related services needs, whether or not those needs are commonly linked to the disability category in which he or she has been classified Introductions
Communicating results of Evaluations to team
Drafting IEP goals and objectives...(are related services needed?)
Determining appropriate placement
Determining supplementary aids and services
Determining assistive technology, if appropriate
Record of IEP Team participation..."the following were present and participated in development and writing of IEP."
* Used alternative means to means participate.
Without going into all the DEC 4 pages... Related Services Goals are written for a related service just as they are for other special education services. The IEP must also specify ...

...when the service will begin; how often it will be provided and for what amount of time; and where it will be provided.
Assistive Technology* Means transportation and such developmental, corrective, and other supportive services as are required to assist a child with a disability...
...and includes… speech-language pathology and audiology services, interpreting services, psychological services, physical and occupational therapy, recreation, including therapeutic recreation, early identification and assessment of disabilities in children, counseling services, including rehabilitation counseling, orientation and mobility services, and medical services for diagnostic or evaluation purposes. Related services also include school health services and school nurse services, social work services in schools, and parent counseling and training.
...to "BENEFIT" from special education... If a child has a surgically implanted device, school systems are not responsible for optimizing these devices, maintaining them, or replacing them. Schools are responsible for “routine checking to determine if the external component of a surgically implanted device is turned on and working” and for providing other types of services the child needs, as determined by the IEP team, including:
Exception: assistive technology (e.g., FM system);
proper classroom acoustical modifications;
educational support services (e.g., educational interpreters); and
receiving the related services (e.g., speech and language services) that are necessary for the child to benefit from special education services.
While school personnel are not responsible for mapping a cochlear implant, they do have a role to play in providing services and supports to help children with cochlear implants.

Particularly with younger students or students who have recently received implants, teachers and related services personnel frequently are the first to notice changes in the student’s perception of sounds that he or she may be missing. This may present itself as a lack of attention or understanding on the part of the child or frustration in communication, and school personnel would be expected to communicate with the child’s parents about these issues. The U.S. Dept. of Education indicated that a school system is "responsible for the routine checking of the external components of a surgically implanted device in much the same manner as it is responsible for the proper functioning of hearing aids”.

Teachers and related services providers can be taught to first check the externally worn speech processor to make sure it is turned on, the volume and sensitivity settings are correct, and the cable is connected, in much the same manner as they are taught to make sure a hearing aid is properly functioning. "To allow a child to sit in a classroom when the child’s hearing aid or cochlear implant is not functioning is to effectively exclude the child from receiving an appropriate education." Still USDOE's OSEP's words...not mine. Can include accommodations and modifications to the curriculum; the manner in which that content is presented; or how a students’s progress is measured. But that’s not all they are or can be. Supplementary aids and services can also include direct services and supports to the child, as well as support and training for staff who work with that child. Play a decisive role in whether the child can be appropriately educated in the regular educational environment. If the IEP team has determined that the child can be satisfactorily educated in the regular classroom with the support of a given supplementary aid or service, those aids or services must be specified in the child’s IEP and must be provided to the child The term "assistive technology device" means any item, piece of equipment or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of a child with a disability. The term "assistive technology service" means any service that directly assists a child with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device. In no way do I mean to diminish this part of the process because it is where the learning takes place.

Do what is on the IEP, and record dates of service, type of service provided and student performance. You can find this presentation online: Bill Hatch, M.A., J.D. A student is not entitled to the best education, but only to an education that provides sufficient benefit. Does not change the measurement of work completed. For example, allowing a child to take a test in a quiet room, allowing extra time to complete tests; or, adjusting homework, such as completing every other problem. 
The accommodation will not change curriculum or how the test is graded. An actual change in tests, grading or curriculum. For example, allowing a student to use a calculator during a test; using a modified blueprint or weighted grading system; simplifying lesson plans or tests to provide for lower levels of understanding; reducing the number of questions answered during a test; reducing reading or mathematic levels; or, simplifying vocabulary

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is a protection from discrimination law and covers individuals who meet the definition of qualified person with a “disabiliy”.
Section 504 covers the lifespan, and safeguards the rights of persons with disabilities in many areas of their lives, including employment, public access to buildings, transportation, and education, if program or entity received federal funds. Courts have consistently found that availability of services and
financial considerations in providing services can play no part in determining what is appropriate for any student. Programs and services may not be limited to those currently available, nor may programs and services be denied or offered because of cost considerations. Parents of hearing impaired students are sometimes advised by their school districts that they must pay for audiograms that will be used in schools. It is irrelevant that a school may not have an audiologist on staff, or may lack its own audiology suite. If anyone in a public school or the parents of a child suspect that a student has a hearing loss, the school system is responsible for paying for the audiological evaluation. If a student has already been identified as hearing impaired, and the school wants an updated audiological evaluation, the school is responsible for paying for it.
Audiograms are not, of course, the only thing that must be provided at no charge to the parents. Sound fields, FM auditory trainers, and other assistive technology must also be provided by the educational agency, if it is appropriate for the student.
The question of who pays for personal hearing aids often arises. Generally, the parents pay for personal aids. However, U.S.DOE's Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services stated that this policy does not apply to a situation where a public agency determines that a child with a disability requires a hearing aid in order to receive FAPE, and the student's IEP specifies that the child needs a hearing aid.
Costs Considerations Neither LRE nor mainstreaming are included in IDEA; the language is: "to the maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities are educated with children who are nondisabled and that special separate schooling, or other removal of children with disabilities from the regular educational environment, occurs only when the nature or severity of the disability is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily. To qualify under IDEA, a student must have:

1) At least 1 of 14 eligible disabilities under the law

2) AND must need specially designed instruction or services and needs that cannot be met with modification of a regular environment in the home or school, or both, without ongoing monitoring or support as determined by an IEP team.
This eligibility criterion is not so clear for many students. Particularly students who have learning disabilities, ADHD, speech impairment, hearing impairment, etc. The need for special education based upon a student’s disability "adversely affecting educational performance." See Rowley The Scenario
Take a child who was identified deaf or hearing impaired at birth, give him effective early intervention services (Part C) right from the start until he is functioning with age-appropriate ability, and at age three enter him into the public school system (Part B) and be refused eligibility because the child isn't delayed significantly or at all, and, according to the school, won't qualify for special education services (an IEP).

Or, let a child who was delayed catch up to her grade-level peers at any point in the public school years, and be subject to an "exited" from the system because of that success.
This these decisions may be appropriate. What information could you provide to better assist the determination team? Remember each case is decided on an idividual basis. For a student in a public school, a 504 Plan can outline access support with accommodations for preferential seating, captions on films, interpreters, tutors, notetakers, and acoustical adaptations, among other things. It may sound similar to IEP services, but 504's regulations are not as clearly defined, as strong, or as financially empowered as IDEA. A 504 Plan can do a lot, and it may be exactly right for some students, however, the two are distinctly different; IDEA with an EDUCATIONAL purpose and 504 with an NONDISCRIMINATION purpose.
Special Education, Exceptional Children, IDEA, provides for free appropriate public education with an IEP designed to meet the needs of a student with a disability that adversely affects their educational performance. Not a consolation prize for not being eligible for special education services. "Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973" is a protection from discrimination law, and, unlike IDEA, it covers many areas for individuals with disabilities throughout their lifetime. “Special Needs” gets used often, but it does not have any legal significance. Transition "F" might be more difficult than you think... For educational purposes, Section 504 also has an eligibility process. http://prezi.com/bhgkoiugdd4a/navigating-the-iep-process/ RtI: Responsiveness to Instruction Model http://www.dpi.state.nc.us/docs/ec/policy/policies/policies-62010.pdf North Carolina Policies Governing Services of Children with Disabilities http://www.deafchildren.org/resources/8_IDEA.pdf http://www.deafchildren.org/resources/8_IDEA.pdf http://laws.findlaw.com/US/458/176.html http://nichcy.org/schoolage/iep/iepcontents/relatedservices (71 Fed. Reg. at 46570-1) More on this later... SEC. 504. No otherwise qualified handicapped individual in the United States, as defined in section 7(6), shall, solely by reason of his handicap, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance. Individualized Education COMPLIANCE DOCUMENT
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