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Amanda:  I recently moved from NY to IL. My son is 4 and has 8 different special needs diagnosis. In NY he was receiving 4 types of services for a total of 10 service sessions a week. In IL they have reduced it to 3 types of services and 4 service sessions a week. I am having difficulty getting them to address functional goals, which NY was very good at. They are telling me that unless it is an academic goal or they are seeing a problem in the classroom they will not address that problem. He is only in a classroom setting for 2.5 hours a day and they follow a very free-play structure, and so they are not seeing the problems we see in his daycare and at home. Is there a part of the law that specifies IEPs must contain functional goals that affect life outside of school?

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Jill G
01/26/2016 2:47 pm

Amanda –
I concur with Chuck, the IEP can and should address functional needs.
When conducting an evaluation, the school must use a variety of assessment tools to gather relevant functional, developmental, and academic information about your child (§ 300.304).
When developing the IEP, the Team must consider your child’s academic, developmental, and functional needs (§ 300.324).
And the IEP must include a statement of your child’s present levels of academic achievement and functional performance, as well as measurable annual academic and functional goals that meet your child’s needs (§ 300.320).
IDEA does not specifically address needs that are seen only outside of school, but this is a frequent topic in due process hearing complaints. I’m in Mass and hearing officers here generally rule that schools must address functional needs that impact the child’s education, even if they are “at home only” needs.

01/26/2016 2:47 pm

Yes. 300.320(a)(2)(i) IEP must include “A statement of measurable annual goals, including academic and functional goals …” I suggest you contact Family Matters at School, the parent training & information project for IL.