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COMMUNITY HELPLINE: Ask or Answer a Question Here

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HELPLINE Archives: Find questions Asked and Answered on Topics A – K and Topics L – Z.

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53 Comments on "COMMUNITY HELPLINE: Ask or Answer a Question Here"


Mary
07/27/2015

MEDICAL DOCUMENTATION NEEDED FOR 504?

After reviewing 504 document, I see no evidence of medical documentation.
Should medical documentation be provided for 504?

vanessa
07/25/2015

SCHOOL CHANGES IEP DURING MEETING WITHOUT DISCUSSION

During my sons iep meeting i watched the head of sped cross out something and write the word “classroom”. She never said anything so I assumed it was nothing. Turns out she changed his para to a para that works with up to 4 children. My son doesn’t need a 1:1 but he absolutely needs more help than would be available between that many kids. Is the school allowed to change this without saying anything? And they tried to get me to sign the rough draft of the iep, when I wouldn’t they pushed me to sign asap. I feel tricked cause I didn’t catch the change right away and now my son may loose out.

Anne
07/22/2015

REQUEST IEE WHEN TEAM USED EXISTING DATA?

Where a school system used existing data (in this case Part C evaluations) to make an eligibility decision for Part B services and to develop an IEP, and did no formal evaluations of their own, may a parent request IEEs for the areas “evaluated”?

JG
07/23/2015

IDEA is mute on this specific issue. Here is what it does say…

The district must complete a comprehensive evaluation to determine eligibility for special ed. As part of the eval, they must review existing data (including Part C assessments). They may decide to use this data to “cover” some or all areas being evaluated. The product of this review and any additional assessments conducted would constitute the evaluation (fyi, you can also request they conduct assessments in additional areas). [34 CFR § 300.301 & 300.305]

Nothing in IDEA states that, by using (some or only) existing data, that parents lose the right to IEEs. But the district also retains the right to request a hearing to deny parents the IEE. [34 CFR § 300.502]

Chuck
07/23/2015

Under 300.305(d)(ii) the district must test the child if the parent requests.

Anne
07/22/2015

MUST IEP TEAM CONSIDER PART C SERVICE HISTORY/PROGRESS

Must a team developing an IEP for a child transitioning from Part C to Part B consider the services provided and progress in the Part C program when determining goals and services in an IEP? That is, where a child has been receiving Part C services (in a preschool classroom) and has a history of progress (or lack thereof) at a certain level of services, in the same areas identified as a need in an IEP, must the team consider that in determining whether a proposed IEP (in this case containing fewer supports and service hours) is reasonably calculated to provide educational benefit? Team is saying it is entirely irrelevant because Part B is “different.”

JG
07/23/2015

Anne –

Sounds like you are have issues with transition. First I want to suggest that you get in touch with your local parent center, which can be a great resource: http://www.parentcenterhub.org/find-your-center/.

As part of the evaluation process and while developing the IEP, the Team *must* give due consideration to any and all information provided to them by you for that purpose.

Traditionally, districts are asked to give particular deference to Part C info (assessments, IFSPs, etc.). But any info/data that describes your child’s “functional, developmental, and academic” progress should be considered especially relevant. [34 CFR § 300.304, 300.305, 300.324]

But that consider, unfortunately, is the extent of the Team’s obligation.

Tishun
07/22/2015

DISCRIMINATION AT DAY CARE?

Does a daycare/aftercare facility have the right to deny a child acceptance based on their disability? If so, why might that be?

Does a daycare/aftercare facility have the right to deny a child acceptance to their facility based on the child’s IEP?

I was just wondering because my son’s were denied from two different facilities and I was told that they don’t have trained staff. They are great fun loving kids who I needed 2 hours of aftercare for until I got off from work. Money is not an issue and I just want at a place where they could socialize with their peers.

Now after being denied twice, I wouldn’t consider sending my sons to either facility even if they reconsidered, but I was just wondering, that’s all.

JG
07/23/2015

Here is a simple overview of ADA protections for child care: http://www.pacer.org/publications/adaqa/childcare.asp.

Here is a more detailed one from the Justice Department: http://www.ada.gov/childqanda.htm.

This flow chart provides a breakdown of the process that child care providers are supposed to use before denying a child admission: http://www.mass.gov/edu/docs/eec/programs-licensing/special-needs/transition-disabilities-flowchart.pdf. It was created by the Mass Dept of Early Education & Care (who license providers in this state), but the process is universal. If the providers you are inquiring about are licensed by the state, a similar state agency where you live may be a great resource to contact.

JG
07/23/2015

Is the day care directly run by a religious organization that receives no public funding? If yes, then it is legal for the center to deny your child’s admission.

For *all* other public or private child care providers, the ADA applies. If it is a public program or receives any public funding (like vouchers/subsidies or UDSA food assistance), Section 504 also applies. Both serve fundamentally the same purpose here.

Under these laws, child care centers *must* provide children with disabilities reasonable accommodations. They cannot deny entrance simply because of a disability. What is “reasonable” is an individual determination based on your child’s specific needs and the program’s resources. The standard for denying admission is very high.

John
07/21/2015

CAN SPECIAL ED TEACHERS BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR THEIR AIDES MISCONDUCT?

A new teacher’s aide accidentally caused an injury to two special needs students on two separate occasions in their P.E class. The incidents were investigated but, we never heard the outcome of it. The aide continued to behave recklessly in P.E class. This continued behavior was reported to the principal by another person in the school who saw the teacher present in the gym (on the 2 injuries she was not there) while the aide was playing recklessly with the students and the teacher did nothing to correct her aide.

Marita
07/24/2015

It’s doubtful that the sped teacher could be held responsible. In my district, aides are assigned according to seniority- and they receive zero training. This is on the district, not the sped teacher. However, if the aide works with the children without the supervision of the teacher, and that was not approved by the special education supervisor, then the sped teacher bears some responsibility.

Lack of training is against the law, but is never addressed. It should be! In California the Ed Dept. allows aides to work alone with students in separate locations, sometimes miles apart from the supervising sped teacher. Why we allow untrained people to be alone with students is far beyond my understanding but it is common.

John
07/25/2015

To add some info…The P.E class is supervised by a gen ed P.E teacher. The sped teacher is usually not present. The first incident happened when the aide accidently threw a ball hitting the student on the head and caused her to have a seizure. The parents were notified of the seizure, but the aide did not mention the ball part. It was discovered by the parents a month later from a gen ed student that witnessed it. The aide never denied it.

One day the sped teacher was in the gym while reckless behavior continued and did nothing. There is proof of the sped teacher being there this time. Although no one was injured, is that a reason to believe the students safety was being neglected by the sped teacher?

Isabel
07/21/2015

“Corrections” to the IEP?

We agreed to the IEP, but when I got a copy, changes had been made after the meeting. When I asked the ARD committee, they said these were just “corrections” that needed to be made. Is this right?

JG
07/21/2015

Isabel –

Making true corrections (like updating contact info) are okay. Substantial changes to what was agreed upon during the meeting are *not* okay – changes to the IEP require parent input.

I would suggest putting in writing a list of the areas you believe were changed and what you think was agreed to, along with a request to meet to discuss this – involve other individuals in your district’s chain of command (such as the special ed director) if need be.

If this is not fruitful, consider filing a state complaint. This is a pretty clear IDEA violation, especially if you have notes from the meeting, a change notice (“prior written notice”), a draft IEP, or other proof to back up your claim.

Chuck
07/22/2015

Isabel – These are good suggestions. I work for the TX Parent Training & Information center. I can put you in contact with our staff in your area, if you need help with dealing with TX rules & the school district. cnoe59@hotmail.com

Virginia
07/21/2015

Did they correct his goals or services? You will need to send them a notice stating that you did not agree to the corrections and will need another meeting. You must be included in those decisions. Also, don’t sign the IEP. You do not have to sign it at all (except for eligibility evaluations).

JG
07/21/2015

I want to jump in to say that state special education regulations vary considerably!!!

Regarding parent consent to implement IEPs, some follow IDEA closely and require parent consent only to implement the first IEP.

Other states provide parents and students greater protections, and require parent consent (or hearing office decision) to implement *ANY* IEP change. In such states, not signing an IEP means a new IEP will not go into effect. Parents have more “power” by signing the IEP and indicating any (or all) parts they disagree with.

Always check your state regulations, in consultation with the IDEA regs before acting!

Chuck
07/22/2015

Excellent point. There are variations on many issues, topics – ESY, IEEs, disagreements, facilitated IEPs, etc.

Kelly
07/21/2015

WANTED 504 GOT NON-EXCEPTIONAL STUDENT PLAN INSTEAD?

My son will be a junior; diagnosed with ADHD in first grade, hasn’t required accommodations due to effective meds. Since 9th grade been struggling with school to have him tested, finally done last December. After testing schools says “student has disability but doesn’t need specially designed instruction, and therefore is NOT ELIGIBLE for special education.” However they placed “non-exceptional student plan” in his file. Plan has everything we wanted in a 504 only problem – up to the teachers’ discretion to implement. One did and he went from F’s to C’s/B’s. Since testing he’s developed simple motor tics and had to come off his ADHD meds. How can I get the school to implement a 504?

Virginia
07/21/2015

You are an equal participant in the special ed evaluation; did you agree that he doesn’t need specialized instruction? If not, they have to provide you with prior written notice explaining why he is not eligible for an IEP. If you did agree with the school, then they have to look at if accommodations are needed. They provided him accommodations outside of a 504-this is most likely a legal violation. Call your state’s Office for Civil Rights at the Dept. of Education for guidance. You will get to talk with an attorney. They have been so helpful to me.

Kelly
07/23/2015

We did agree on the specialized instruction which we knew he was eligible before. Had asked for 504 consideration but they always avoided any talk of it. We felt that something was better than nothing; if it worked then push even harder for 504. Trying to meet w/team now before new school year. Will also contact office you suggested. Thanks.

Nancy
07/20/2015

HOW LONG IS TOO LONG FOR IEP/MEDIATION/ADDENDUM AGREEMENTS?

After violating an IEP agreement, we had mediation, once that was agreed upon, it took 3 months for them to sign it, after violation the mediation, causing my son to miss 2 weeks of school, now we have had another IEP meeting causing addendums to the mediation agreement, and it’s been a month since that meeting, and I still have nothing from them on what we agreed on in that meeting. They are not following any of the agreed upon special aids for my bi-polar/ADD child. is this legal? If not, where to I go to sue? I don’t have much money for an attorney.

JG
07/21/2015

Nancy –

If the school is not following a signed IEP or mediation agreement, you have several options for resolving that – local resolution, state complaints, more mediation, hearings. See this article for an overview of each: http://www.parentcenterhub.org/repository/disputes-overview/.

Your state may offer additional options for dispute resolution. I would suggest contacting your local parent center – they can help you understand resolution options in your state, and how to utilize them (http://www.parentcenterhub.org/find-your-center/). They may also be able to help connect you with a pro bono advocate or attorney.

Candy
07/18/2015

LABELING IN SPECIAL EDUCATION

I’m writing a journal article on labeling in special education and my stance is that a childs specific disability label does not need to be listed in the IEP. My adviser told me that it is against the law not to list the disability. Can someone please advise me so I make sure I do not make a suggestion that is illegal.

Marita
07/20/2015

Are you implying that it is better that we keep the child’s specific disability a secret from the professionals who will work with the child for 6 hours per day? As a regular education teacher, I simply can’t understand how that would be beneficial. I recently took over a 7th grade class that had seven students who qualified because they had a specific learning disability. Some were also ADHD – but that info wasn’t included in the IEP. According to IDEA guidelines, it didn’t need to be. I was appalled that I wasn’t given that information, I needed to know.

Wouldn’t we simply be advancing the concept that a disability is something of which a person should be ashamed?

Chuck
07/21/2015

IDEA requires that an IEP identify & address all needs the student has. This is more important & helpful than the diagnosis/label. An evaluation must be “sufficiently comprehensive to identify all of the child’s sp ed. & related services needs, whether or not commonly linked to the disability category in which the child has been classified.” 300.304(c)(6)

JG
07/19/2015

Candy –

I want to differentiate a student’s disability category (or label) from the student’s actual disability/diagnosis. For example a student may be placed in the category of Orthopedic Impairment, and their actual diagnosis may be cerebral palsy.

The disability category is not a medical diagnosis, but rather an agreement that the individual student’s profile is consistent with the regulatory definition of the disability category. The disability category is *intended* to be used for reporting purposes, not to determine a student’s services or placement.

As the Dept of Ed wrote in the commentary for IDEA 2004, “special education and related services are based on the identified needs of the child and not on the disability category in which the child is classified.”

JG
07/20/2015

Again, the disability category info is for reporting purposes. The info is used, along with other student demographics, at the local, state, and federal levels for monitor trends, allocate funds, and other purposes.

The data is essential, though there is no real reason to include it on the IEP. IDEA requires that eligible students be categorized and that this information be reported to the federal Dept of Ed, but does not explicitly require that the info be included on the IEP.

Regarding the student’s actual disability/diagnosis, this absolutely should be included on the IEP. IDEA requires that the IEP include info about how the student’s disability impacts their education. This info, gleamed from evaluations, is how Teams determine what supports and services a student needs.

Chuck
07/20/2015

Over the years I have heard people take this position. It must be documented that a student has a disability under the IDEA definition. However, unless state rules say that it must be documented in the IEP, federal rules do not say that the decision is made by the IEP team or must be recorded in the IEP. Districts find it easy & convenient to record this in the IEP.

Kristi
07/17/2015

SCHOOL OFFERS NO FOREIGN LANGUAGE OPTION FOR SON WITH DYSLEXIA

My son is a junior this year. He was diagnosed with dyslexia ~10 years ago. He was re-tested last summer and diagnosed with dyslexia, dysgraphia, and ADHD. He received accommodations based on most of the recommendations from the diagnostician. One recommendation was that he take an alternative class like Sign Language as his foreign language credit, but his school only offers Spanish. He had taken Spanish I when tested. Thus, he took Spanish II this year (with much difficulty). He wants to earn the Distinguished Diploma (Texas). It requires advanced measures (which he will meet), but also 3 levels of the same foreign language. Are there other options than Spanish III? If no, seems like he is discriminated against because of his disability.

Kristi
07/20/2015

Thanks Chuck and JG. Chuck pointed me to the 2013 Texas Legislative changes that allow substitutions for the 2 years of foreign language requirement (under disability) under the new Foundation Plan requirements. While these requirements went into effect for 9th grade students in the 2014-2015 school year, I can request that my son be on the Foundation Plan per state law.

I am going to meet with the school to see if they will allow the substitution for the 3rd year of foreign language. If that doesn’t work, I will request that my son change to Foundation Plan, choosing the STEM endorsement, and meeting the Distinguished Achievement High School Program (which is a little less demanding than the Distinguished Diploma in current plan).

Chuck
07/20/2015

Texas law allows ARD/IEP teams to substitute other classes for foreign language credits, but I am not sure how this affects getting a DD. You can write the sp. ed. director, look at district policies on graduation. You should be able to get info at: 855-773-3839. You can contact me @ cnoe59@hotmail.com I work for the TX Parent Training & Information Center

JG
07/19/2015

Kristi –

If the school offered classes in other languages to students without disabilities but not those with disabilities, that would be discriminatory. Simply offering only one foreign language class for all students, on the other hand, would not be discrimination.

You can ask that your son’s disability be accommodated, though. Some options may include getting accommodations for the Spanish class so he is able to complete it (as he has 2 out of 3 already), asking that the requirement be waived, or asking for an alternate arrangement such as your son taking classes privately or at a local college for credit.

Kristi
07/20/2015

Yes, the school offers the same language options to my son as everyone. Just as a school might have an alternative to regular PE for a student with physical disabilities, it seems there should be an alternative to the foreign language requirement for a dyslexic student with a Distinguished Diploma.

He received accommodations for Spanish I and II (more time and working on tests and quizzes in the Language Lab). He passed with great difficulty, and the grades lowered his GPA. It would not be wise to take Spanish III with the same accommodations just to let his GPA slip further.

He has a 504 written plan and goes to a private school. Under what statute could the foreign language requirement be waived or could he take a class privately?

Virginia
07/21/2015

Some Texas public schools allow ‘credit for acceleration.’ He could take an online class through Texas Tech or UT? Have you looked into that?

JG
07/20/2015

Kristi –

Section 504 and the ADA would apply here. Under both, schools are required to make “reasonable accommodations.” What that would constitute would depend on your son’s specific needs and the school’s ability to provide them. Creating a whole other class may not be considered reasonable, especially within a smaller school, because of cost.

Your best bet would be to ask for a meeting to review the 504 Plan and discuss this issue specifically.

Grace
07/15/2015

APRAXIC CHILD IN SCHOOL

Hello my granddaughter will be starting kinder in August and I was wondering if anyone has any advice or has dealt with a apraxic child in school.

Sher
07/15/2015

NEW LEGISLATION…PUBLIC SCHOOLS MUST HAVE INCLUSIVE AFTERSCHOOL PROGRAMS, INCLUDING SPORTS, IN NJ BY 2015-16

I just read this somewhere online, as put into place by Gov. Christie. Does this mean that my sons public HS will have to include disabled students in sports teams? Please post links to this news, since I can’t remember where I saw it.

Sher
07/15/2015

ADA AND COLLEGE

Our Daughter with a mental health Dx went from FT to PT in college, as per her MD. The school took away her scholarship. She was able to get the scholarship reinstated because PT status was an accommodation based on medical necessity.

kim
07/15/2015

HURTING SPECIAL NEEDS PEOPLE

How do you change a law to a felony, on people who hurt special needs people.

Stephanie
07/13/2015

ONE ON ONE FOR KINDERGARTEN

Hello! I think my son will need one on one support to begin Kindergarten. Is it his right to have it? Thank you, Stephanie

Chuck
07/17/2015

A child with a disability has a right to have their needs addressed/met. This may include 1-1 assistance for some. Wrightslaw has good articles on this. http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/relsvc.index.htm#sthash.La3SIo6Q.dpuf & http://www.wrightslaw.com/blog/?tag=related-services#sthash.Y1YiKBCa.dpuf are two. You can google 1-1 aide on the homepage to find more.

Sophie
07/11/2015

TIP FOR ACHIEVING COMPLIANCE WITH 504 TESTING ACCOMMODATIONS

In New York, the Special Education Quality Assurance office handles compliance complaints, but only for students with IEPs. For a 504 problem, a written complaint to the Office for Civil Rights can be effective, but it can take months.

So I wondered, where can a 504 parent turn for quick support when the school refuses to implement a 504 testing accommodation?

I discovered that, at least in New York, the state special education office will provide timely support, with a call to the relevant personnel, to provide guidance around 504 testing accommodations. If the representative you speak with tells you they can’t help unless your child has an IEP, ask to speak to the director.

Sophie
07/11/2015

NY STATE TESTING RESULTS DEEMED ‘INVALID’ AND IGNORED

In my son’s eligibility meeting last summer, I cited my son’s declining test scores in the annual state writing assessments. The committee chair said that there were so many problems with the state assessment in New York State that the committee couldn’t consider those assessment results, and would only look at local assessment results. Is there anything I could have done about that?

Eileen
07/09/2015

BUS QUESTION

My son is on the bus for 90 minutes or more one way, 2 times a day. Any suggestions on how I should handle this. I understand that if he has behaviors that I might get someone to listen. My problem is we are meeting the bus in town so we can get him to activities. I would like him to have a little down time between bus and activities we plan for him after school. 90 minutes (or more) feels too long. What do you suggest.

Sophie
07/11/2015

I have been able to get some improvements by talking directly to the director of transportation, and explaining my child’s special needs and how they relate to but transportation. A lot depends on what sort of person it is.

Chuck
07/13/2015

You can also check if state regulations address the length of transportation. Your state parent training & information center. You can find a list under topics on this homepage.

Patty
06/22/2015

SCHOOL NOT FOLLOWING RECOMMENDATIONS FROM IEE WHICH WAS ACCEPTED BY ARD COMMITTEE IN 2011

My son will be in 7th grade next year and according to his most recent ARD he is reading at a 1st grade level. He has made no progress. He was diagnosed in 2011 with a specific learning disability from an IEE. It was recommended in this evaluation that the school provide my son with a multi-sensory reading program. Fast forward three years later and he is still reading at a 1st grade level (as per reevaluation). My son was never provided with a reading program. His reevaluation was done last year and he continues to qualify but no recommendations were written into the evaluation. The eval basically consists of test scores and IEPs which also do not contain anything about teaching him how to read. Can I ask for a reading program to help my son learn to read based on the fact he has made no progress?

Virginia
07/21/2015

You should ask for an IEP meeting to request intensive remediation to close the 6 year gap. If the school is really saying that he has made no progress in the last 4 years, then they are admitting that they haven’t provided him with FAPE! I would get some work samples from his English teacher: how is he progressing in the curriculum? Build your documentation in case they won’t give him the level of help that he needs.

JG
07/08/2015

2. If a reading assessment was completed by the school, did you request an independent evaluation at that time? If not, consider asking for one now. Here are the IDEA guidelines regarding IEEs : http://idea.ed.gov/explore/view/p/%2Croot%2Cregs%2C300%2CE%2C300%252E502%2C (your state may have additional guidelines).

3. Consider getting an IEE at your own expense. This can give you more flexibility regarding the quality of evaluators. If you get a referral from you pediatrician, you may be able to get your health insurance to cover some or all of the cost.

JG
07/08/2015

Hi Patty –

That sounds very frustrating! If you want a reading program for your son, your best bet is to get an evaluation to back up your request.

Regarding the most recent re-evaluation by the school, it sounds like you did not agree with the results (and that it was a pretty flimsy eval report).

Here are some ways you may consider to get an assessment that specifically addresses the area of reading?

1. Ask the school to specifically conduct an reading assessment (if they did not do so last time around). You can request an area be assessed even if it has been less than 3 years since the last re-evaluation.

Chuck Noe
06/23/2015

I work for the TX Parent Training & Information Center. We can assist you. Email me at cnoe59@hotmail.com