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The Special Ed Advocate Newsletter
November 30, 1999

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Issue - 51

ISSN: 1538-3202


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1. Discipline Is a Hot Issue! Check Out the New Article, "Functional Behavioral Assessments: What, Wht, When, Where, And Who?"

Discipline is a hot issue. Schools are placing disabled children in "alternative educational settings" or booting children out altogether.

Did you know that IDEA includes procedures that schools are required to follow when placing children in alternative educational settings?

* * IDEA * *

According to the statute, school personnel "may order a change in the placement of a child with a disability to an appropriate interim alternative educational setting, another setting, or suspension, for not more than 10 school days."

There are only two exceptions to the 10 day rule: if the child "carries a weapon to school or to a school function" OR if the child "knowingly possesses or uses illegal drugs or sells or solicits the sale of a controlled substance while at school or a school function" (Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, p. 74)

Doesn’t this tie the hands of school authorities? What can schools do when children act out?

When children display behavior problems, the school must conduct a Functional Behavioral Assessment and implement a Behavior Intervention Plan for the child. "If the child already has a Behavioral Intervention Plan, the IEP team shall review the plan and modify it . . . to address the behavior. (20 U.S.C 1415(k)(1)) (Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, p. 75)

* * APPENDIX A * *

QUESTION 38. If a child’s IEP includes behavioral strategies to address a particular behavior, can a child ever be suspended for engaging in that behavior?

ANSWER (in part):

"If the child’s behavior impedes his or her learning or that of others, the IEP team . . . must consider . . . development of strategies, including positive behavioral interventions, strategies and supports to address that behavior . . ."

"A failure to . . . consider and address these behaviors in developing and implementing the child’s IEP would constitute a denial of FAPE to the child." (Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, p. 223)
. . .

"However, school personnel may not use their ability to suspend a child for 10 days or less at a time on multiple occasions in a school year as a means of avoiding appropriately considering and addressing the child’s behavior as part of providing FAPE to the child." (Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, p. 224)

"FUNCTIONAL BEHAVIORAL ASSESSMENTS" BY DR. STEPHEN STARINS

WHAT is a "functional behavioral assessment? HOW is the functional behavioral assessment conducted? WHEN should a functional assessment be done?

WHO is qualified to conduct functional behavioral assessments? Check out the new article, "Functional Behavioral Assessments: What, Why, When, Where, and Who?" by Dr. Stephen Starins.

This new article is in the Wrightslaw Advocacy Library


2. Leslie Asks, "How Can I get Professional Standards for Advocates in my State?"

"As an advocate, I continually run into the problem of coming behind other 'advocates' who have made a mess of things and broken down all effective communication between the school and the parents. They often back out of the situation they created, leaving the parents in a greater state of crisis."

"These advocates know only half of the law(s), have no negotiation skills, no functional knowledge of the child's specific disability or needs. They seem to think their job is to be a 'pit bull' and 'attack' the school system in a direct and personal fashion."

Read the answer


3. Greg Asks, "What Obligations Does The School Have Educating An Emotionally Disturbed 15 Year Old?

Greg writes about a "hypothetical case":

"A 15 year old male is diagnosed as "seriously emotionally disturbed." Academically, he is functioning on approximately 2nd grade level. Current placement is 23.5 hours a week in a self-contained classroom, with 7.5 hours in general education. This placement is because of behavior problems."

Here is Greg's question:

"What obligations does the school system have? Must the school continue to provide special education services in the current setting if they believe the student is a danger to himself or others? What if the school has no alternative placement within the system that is appropriate?"

Read the answer


4. Advice From Dr. Brown About Accommodations In College

We continue to receive letters from parents and college students about problems getting accommodations from colleges and universities.

Jane wrote, "My 20 year old son is a sophomore at a college. He was diagnosed with learning disabilities in 3rd grade. He cannot pass the required math course. According to the last evaluation, he is at the 3rd percentile in math. He is a hard worker and made the Dean's List."

"We asked the college to waive the math requirement (they won't) or allow a substitution course. The professor believes he can pass if he works hard enough! Does anyone have experience dealing with problems at the university level? Has anyone had success getting a waiver or substituting a required course?"

After publishing a similar letter a few months ago, we received a good advice letter from Dr. Brown, a university professor.

Read his advice letter


5. New In The Advocate's Bookstore

We've added several excellent books to the Advocate's Bookstore.

1. Accommodations In Higher Education Under The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) By Michael Gordon (Editor), Shelby Keiser (Editor), Alta Lapoint.

"Practical manual offers guidance for anyone involved with ADA issues in higher education settings. Fundamental principles and actual clinical and administrative procedures are outlined for evaluating, documenting, and accommodating a wide range of mental and physical impairments."

BOOK LINK

LEGAL SECTION

* * * * * *

2. Clinical And Forensic Interviewing of Children From Families By Jerome M. Sattler

Incredible resource by Jerome Sattler, author of ASSESSMENT OF CHILDREN.

"Designed to help professionals become competent clinical assessment and forensic interviewers."

"This book is based on the philosophy that one cannot be a competent clinical or forensic interviewer unless he or she has the relevant information about the child’s presenting problem, as well as knowledge of the interventions that might help the child and family."

"In this text, you will find information about the major problem areas encountered by children and their families and about interventions, along with suggestions for conducting interviews."

BOOK LINK

EDUCATION SECTION

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Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition, by Pam and Pete Wright
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Wrightslaw: All About IEPs
About the Book

Wrightslaw: All About Tests and Assessments
About the Book

Surviving Due Process: Stephen Jeffers v. School Board
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