Our daughter has had chronic medical concerns since birth. We live in VA, and have a physician who is a wonderful advocate for her. He knows my daughter’s strengths, weaknesses, and her unique special education needs. Our doctor has agreed to attend IEP meetings and we asked the school if he could be part of the team. The school replied…
‘I am a little confused as to how you would like the doctor to participate. I am not sure if you are aware, outside professionals cannot be considered a part of the IEP team. Parents use them to bounce ideas off of, however, the school will set up services based on the IEP we write.’
The Federal Special Education Regulations track the Federal Statute (IDEA). Your state regulations generally track the federal regulations.
You need to check all three.
1. Turn to page 101 of your Special Education Law book. In the middle of the page you will see –
(B), the definition of the IEP Team, which includes
(vi) at the discretion of the parent or the agency, other individuals who have knowledge or special expertise regarding the child, including related services personnel as appropriate; and . . .
The legal citation to the above reference in IDEA 2004 is 20 U.S.C. Section 1414(d)(1)(b)(vi).
2. Now, turn to the bottom of page 246, top of page 247.
You will see the federal special education regulations relating to the make up of the IEP Team. Look at subsection 6, which states the same as the United States Code.
The legal citation to the above reference in the federal regulations is 34 CFR 300.321.
3. Next, turn to page 36 of the Virginia Special Education Regulations and look at Virginia’s definition of the IEP Team.
Virginia Administrative Code cite: 8 VAC 20-81-110(C)(1)(f).
Individualized Education Program.
C. IEP Team
1. General. The local educational agency shall ensure that the IEP team for each child with a disability includes: (34 CFR 300.321(a), (c) and (d))
f. At the discretion of the parent(s) or local educational agency, other individuals who have knowledge or special expertise regarding the child, including related services personnel, as appropriate. The determination of knowledge or special expertise of any individual shall be made by the party (parent(s) or local educational agency) who invited the individual to be a member of the team; and . . .
Read and review carefully the pertinent federal statute, federal regulation, and Virginia regulation and be prepared to discuss them with the school.
Ask the school to help you understand their justification and the written policy they used to determine that “outside professionals cannot be considered a part of the IEP team.”
Not in Virginia?
Check your own state regulations to see how they track the federal statutes.
You will find a link to your state special education regulations on the Yellow Pages for Kids.
Be sure you have your state’s current regulations.