Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) it is stated,the capacity to obtain academic training for students diagnosed with impairments are adversely affected and are therefore provided with special education and associated services.
Student’s local educational agency (LEA) and school collaborate to identify the requirements of every child’s placement to be in the least restrictive placement.
Parents, and students (when age appropriate) are included in the 504 or Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings. They are considered important components of the team. Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) and 504 plans provide official support for struggling K–12 students. It is important to follow the below steps, crossing every “t” and dotting every “i”.
Step 1: First Evaluation
Each school system is required by law to find, identify, and assess each child that may have a disability needing special education and related services.
Parents and teachers have a role and a duty to obtain a complete, personalized, extensive, multidisciplinary examination for students in a student’s language, when there is evidence that a child has a disability.
Step 2: Write Application
Write a letter in your language to your child’s school asking for a complete educational evaluation also known as assessment, to establish whether or not your child is eligible for special education services.
Special education services are offered to students from age 2 to 22 or until a student graduates from High School. Send the letter to the special education director or principal of the school.
If the district has not responded within 15 days write a follow up letter and request a response to your first letter to make sure they received your request.
Districts are to respond to parents in parent’s fluent language and interpret and translate for them in every meeting as necessary.
Step 3: School Responsibilities
Within 15 school days, the district is to respond to the parent’s request for evaluation with a denial letter or an assessment plan. Parents have the option to sign the assessment plan or request for the district to reconsider their decision..
It’s mandatory for schools to inform parents of their procedural rights once receiving an assessment plan or if they decline to undertake the examination.
District’s are to provide parents with parent rights and their procedural safeguards at every IEP, when they offer to assess or when they deny a parent’s request.
After getting a written agreement from a parent or legal guardian for the school to administer an assessment, the school system has 60 school days to finish the evaluation and review the evaluation in an IEP meeting within that timeline.
After the assessment, the district has a period of 30 days to convene an IEP meeting to examine the results, decide eligibility, and prepare an IEP if a child is deemed eligible for services.
Step 4: Eligibility Criteria Documentation
As part of the evaluation process, the information obtained is utilized to identify students who have an impairment and are qualified for special education services.
In order to design and implement an effective educational framework, the special education committee establishes several components of services.
In the regular classroom, students who do or do not fulfil the requirements for special education services are to be educated in sync but the eligible students with an IEP services are to receive the additional services as written in their IEP.
The child’s instructors or any other suitable body shall be informed of any information relevant to the child’s instruction if he or she is determined to be ineligible for special education and must follow that IEP.
In the case of students in private schools, the agreement of their parents must be obtained in order to disseminate information. Whether students are in public or private schools, the district is to continue to comply with and provide the services as written in the IEP..
It is possible that some children will be recommended to the Student Study Team (SST) for changes in curriculum and teaching prior to a student receiving special education services. If these services do not offer students to make progress, the staff is to “Child Find” and seek further evaluations for special education services..
Step 5: Development of team
It’s now time to put together the actual team. The child’s parents, instructors, managers, and other professionals are all part of the team. When a parent feels a student is capable of attending the meeting, it is encouraged for students to participate but is optional.
Joining a meeting for the first time as a parent can be a daunting experience for some. A child advocate can assist and soothe parents’ worries with assuring them that their child will get the help he or she deserves.
Advocacy for children and their parents is provided by paid specialists who are experienced with the process. An advocate assists in seeking and searching the resources necessary for the child, as well as determining the learning abilities preferences and offer measurable long-term and short-term goals.
Step 6: Implementation
At this point, the student’s Special Education Program and accompanying services begin.
On top of that there are a variety of interdisciplinary services necessary from multiple providers to assist the child’s educational program that can be accommodated.
In the future, the child’s special education team may comprise a special education instructor, general education instruction, occupational therapist, physical therapists, speech therapists, counselor, behavior support provider, nurse and/or other specialists who specialize in special education.
Step 7: Evaluations and Reviews
Special Education Programs demand the child’s parents to be accountable and to follow up regularly.
According to the state, an assessment is done every year or each three years. A child’s educational progress will be assessed through these evaluations. Even though the yearly evaluation is optional, the 3 year evaluation is mandatory.
There are changes made to the Special Education Program if the objectives are not reached.
If the child is reaching or surpassing their Special Education Program goals, new benchmarks are set
Sometimes, the child may be returned to a conventional classroom setting, although this is not always the case. The district is to offer students education in the least restrictive environment (LRE).
Step 8: Provide Copy
Parents must get a free copy of the Specialized program copy after it has been completed.
All parties engaged in executing a Specialized program must have access to this document, as outlined in the IDEA’s requirements.
Includes normal education instructors, special educators, associated service providers, such as speech therapists, and any other service provider (such as a paraprofessional) who would be accountable for part of the child’s education.
Each of these persons must be aware of his or her unique duties when it comes to implementing the child’s Individualized Education Program.
They’ll also highlight the particular adjustments and support that the youngster will need in order to succeed.
In cases when parents disagree with the IEP or 504 plan and services provided, they could decline to approve by not signing it and either may continue to work with the district or file a complaint.
It is possible for parents to demand an IEP meeting at any time, and the team must meet within 30 days to consider parent’s concerns, and make adequate revisions to the IEP or 504 plan.
Families who are not satisfied with an IEP or 504 plan have the option to submit a complaint with the State Department of Education, and ask for mediation or a due process hearing.
Service provision may be a difficult task to acquire for your child/ren with impairments or who require specific services to succeed in school.
There are a couple options that parents have in order to make the transition as easy as possible for themselves and their children.
Everything must be documented (this is crucial to advocate for your child)! Write any questions, disagreements or inquiries to have a paper trail. A rule of thumb in court is if it was never written it was never said. Documentation is key to defend your and your child’s rights.
It’s important to keep in mind that you do not have to agree with a school assessment report and you have the right to request for an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE) free of charge. An IEE is to be completed by an unbiased credentialed evaluator or parent’s choice. Either evaluation or diagnosis does not ensure IEP or 504 eligibility underneath the law.
Educate yourself on your rights and don’t be scared of hiring an advocate to assist you in the process.