“My 10-year-old with Downs Syndrome made no progress in reading over the last 4-5 years. A reading specialist evaluated her and recommended a different reading program. The school agreed to provide this program. To help our child catch up, we sked for intensive tutoring by the reading specialist.
“The school told us, “we can’t write services by the reading specialist in the IEP because the specialist is not a special ed teacher.”
“This can’t be right. Can a child receive reading instruction/tutoring by a specialist who is not a special ed teacher?”
Yes! The IDEA and federal special ed regs do not require that the special education and related services in a child’s IEP be provided by a special ed teacher.
Most children with disabilities receive most (or all) special education in regular ed classes taught by regular ed teachers. The IDEA requires the child’s IEP team to include at least one regular ed teacher because . . .
Regular ed teachers know the curriculum and what students are expected to learn and be able to do. With input from the regular ed teacher, the team can determine the 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 the team agrees to an instructional service but refuses to include it in the IEP, you should assume they don’t plan to provide it.
What should you do?
First, write a short note or email describing your daughter’s situation and what you were told. Ask if your understanding of the school’s position is correct. Second, request a copy of the school district policy about how special education services are provided. Does the policy say special ed services can only be provided by a special ed teacher? (I will be surprised if they have a policy on this issue).
If the school district does not respond to your email or note, write a follow-up letter requesting the policy. At the top ofyour email or letter, type “SECOND REQUEST” (attach a copy of your first request).
Please keep us posted.