Must Services in the IEP be Provided by a Special Ed Teacher?

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Can the school write in the IEP that the child will receive reading instruction/tutoring by a reading specialist who is not a special ed teacher?

Yes. The IDEA and federal special ed regs do not require that the services listed in the IEP must be provided by a special ed teacher. (Vote in the poll at the end of this article)

Here’s the background to the question:

My 10 year old with Downs Syndrome has made no reading progress over the last 4-5 years. A reading specialist recommended a new reading program, the school agreed. To help her catch up, we also asked for additional intensive services by this reading specialist, who would know how to implement and monitor the new program.

The school told us “she cannot have it written in the IEP for services of the reading specialist since the specialist is not a special ed teacher.”

Must the school exclude a service from the IEP, if the child will be taught/tutored by a reading specialist who is not a special ed teacher? Is that true?

No. This is not true. The IDEA and federal special ed regs do not require that the services listed in the IEP must be provided by a special ed teacher.

Most children with disabilities receive much or all of their education in regular ed classes, and are taught by regular ed teachers. The IDEA requires that the child’s IEP team include at least one regular ed teacher because . . .

The regular ed teacher knows the curriculum and what students are supposed to learn and do. With input from the regular ed teacher, the team can determine what accommodations, supplementary aids and services, and modifications the child needs to learn and make progress. (Wrightslaw: All about IEPs, page 11)

The IEP must include all special education services, related services, and supplementary aids and services the child needs, and the school will provide. (Wrightslaw: All About IEPs, page 37)

If team proposes a service but resists writing it into the IEP, you might assume they don’t really plan to provide it.

If the parent has to request mediation or a due process hearing because the promised service was not provided, the parent will not prevail because the IEP does not include it.

Politely ask for a clarification and copy of the written policy (either federal, state, or local school district) that indicates a special ed teacher is required to provide services in the IEP. If you do not get a response, write a follow-up letter with a request for the policy.

Please vote in the poll.

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59 Comments on "Must Services in the IEP be Provided by a Special Ed Teacher?"

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When asking questions regarding IEPs and services for a vote to be counted…it should be immediately followed by the question “Is it provided as stated in IEP?”

My son’s IEP reads ok. They know how to write an IEP and they also know how to avoid providing it…its getting it all to happen where it falls apart. If you fuss about it you could end up with less…the team is large and I am one plus advocate…power in numbers comes into play…bring cookies

I firmly believe that all ‘specialist’ teachers within the education system must be required – at minimum- to complete an introductory course in special education. In addition, I firmly believe all ‘specialist’ teachers should be motivated to take a course in ‘coaching/motivation’.
!. The majority of students requiring ‘specialized’ instruction will come from the population of students falling behind or in ‘special education’.
2. These students come with a broach range of challenges – physical, behavioral and/or learning challenges.
3. Students being taught by a specialist are struggling. Students. They first must be motivated to apply themselves at activities that are going to be difficult and cause frustration, even the very real sense of failure.

This is very interesting because it is not what happens in NYC. If any academic goals are written into the IEP they MUST be provided by a special education teacher, because if it is on the IEP then it is considered special education. Many children in NYC who go to private schools and receive a type of voucher for their academic services, cannot find special education teachers with the correct license in order to provide those mandated services. Any suggestions?

Special Education is not a place or a pre-packaged program.
An IEP is an INDIVIDUALIZED Education Plan that can offer a wide variety of approaches to address the child’s INDIVIDUAL needs.

Once an area of weakness has been identified, the IEP must have measurable goals with reasonable deadlines.
If there are no goals or deadlines documented, you can expect there to be no progress. The objective becomes simply being on an IEP.

When you have measurable goals, it places the responsibility on the school staff to locate a person who can deliver these results.

If you hired a contractor to build a sidewalk in front of your house, you would never sign an agreement that he is to simply place concrete on the property. You would likely offer some sort of drawing and dimensions that map out what the end product is to look like.