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SPECIAL EDUCATION AND THE IEP PROCESS: Everything You Need to Know and More. Presented by: Diana Davis, M.Ed., L.D.T.C. South Bergen Jointure Commission In conjunction with NGO#07-FC01-H03. Step 1: Referral. Referrals come from a variety of sources: Parents Social Workers Teachers

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special education and the iep process everything you need to know and more

SPECIAL EDUCATION AND THE IEP PROCESS:Everything You Need to Know and More

Presented by: Diana Davis, M.Ed., L.D.T.C.

South Bergen Jointure Commission

In conjunction with NGO#07-FC01-H03

step 1 referral
Step 1: Referral
  • Referrals come from a variety of sources:


Social Workers



Public Health Nurses

Students Themselves

step 1 referral i r s committee
Step 1: ReferralI & R S Committee
  • To Whom: Intervention and Referral Service Committee ( I&RS)
  • I &RS collaborative planning team includes:

General education teachers

Special education teachers


Support Personnel

  • Parents are often invited to participate in I & RS meetings.
i r s referral
I & R S Referral
  • Pre-referral prior to referral to Special Services
  • What is the role of the committee?
    • Offer suggestions to the general education teacher
    • Teachers and parents work together to try to resolve difficulties (academic, behavioral, social, or personal)
i r s referral1
I & R S Referral
  • Committee offers suggestions to teachers such as accommodations or different teaching approaches.
  • Parents must be given written documentation of the interventions that the teachers are trying in the classroom.
  • If the problem still exists after the pre-referral strategies, then a referral is made to Special Services.
step 1 referral child study team
Step 1: ReferralChild Study Team
  • To Whom: Child Study Team

Multi-disciplinary team of professionals:

Learning Disabilities Teacher Consultant, Psychologist, School Social Worker, Speech Therapist (or Teacher for children 3-5 who have speech and language delays) Additionally, the school nurse must review and summarize health and medical information regarding the student being referred and present the findings to the CST

child study team referral
Child Study Team Referral
  • For children already in school, most referrals are made by general education teachers.
  • Students whose academic performance is not up to par or those with severe behavioral problems are candidates for referral.
child study team referral1
Child Study Team Referral
  • The committee invites the parents to a meeting to decide whether the student’s problems warrant a formal assessment.
  • The committee reviews all of the information collected in the pre-referral period.
  • The district must meet with the parents of a child who has been referred within 20 days of the referral.
child study team referral2
Child Study Team Referral
  • In this meeting it is decided whether or not a formal evaluation will be done.
  • Parents must give their permission for the IEP process to continue. They must sign a consent form before the initial evaluation and all future evaluations.
step 2 evaluation
Step 2: Evaluation
  • Who: Child Study Team prepares written reports based on their assessments.
  • This step determines whether or not a student has a disability, whether special education is necessary, and what additional services, if any, are needed.
  • The initial evaluation must include assessment in at least two of the following areas:




  • Evaluations from other specialists may be necessary(i.e., neurologist, if the child is thought to be neurologically impaired; or psychiatrist, if the child is thought to be emotionally disturbed).
  • Standardized tests are often used during the evaluation process. They often determine whether a student has difficulties in areas such as: reading, writing, mathematics, and language.
  • In New Jersey, the Learning Disabilities Teacher Consultant (LDTC) gives these tests to look for an indication of a learning disability.
  • Psychological tests may also be given. These are three types:

1. IQ tests: measures for potential intellectual


2. Psychometer Tests: visual perception

3. Projective Tests: identifies personality


  • The school social worker meets with the parent(s) and asks questions about the child’s and parents’ history – health, education, family relationships,
  • Functional assessments must also be used to assess the skills and needs of the student.
  • A functional assessment consists primarily of classroom observations and interview with the student’s parent(s), other pertinent people, and if applicable, even an interview with the teacher referring the student.
  • Functional assessments can also include, but are not limited to, the following:

1. surveys and inventories

2. student’s work samples

3. curriculum-based assessments

4. informal rating scales

step 3 determination of eligibility
Step 3: Determination of Eligibility
  • Who: Child Study team and Parent(s)
  • After the initial meeting is completed, the Child Study Team meets with the parent(s).
  • In this meeting it is determined whether or not the child is eligible for special education and related services.
determination of eligibility
Determination of Eligibility
  • 14 Categories
  • Auditorily Impaired
  • Autistic
  • Cognitively Impaired
  • Communication Impaired
  • Emotionally Disturbed
  • Multiply Disabled
  • Deaf/blindness
determination of eligibility1
Determination of Eligibility
  • 14 Categories (continued)
  • Orthopedically Impaired
  • Other Health Impaired
  • Preschool Child with a Disability
  • Specific Learning Disability
  • Social Maladjustment
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Visually Impaired
determination of eligibility2
Determination of Eligibility
  • The parent(s) and referring staff member must be given a written account of all decisions and recommendations whether or not the student is eligible for special services. This document must be signed by the Child Study Team.
step 4 development of the individualized education plan
Step 4: Development of the Individualized Education Plan
  • Who: IEP Team
  • The IEP Team must include:
    • at least one general education teacher,
    • at least one special educator or related service provider
    • a representative of the school district
    • an individual who can interpret the instructional implication
    • parent(s)
    • the student (if appropriate)
    • anyone else the parent(s) or school invites.
individualized education plan
Individualized Education Plan
  • The IEP must be developed within 30 calendar days from the determination of eligibility.
  • There are five required components of the IEP.
    • Statement of Eligibility
    • Current Educational Status
    • Annual Goals
    • Objectives
    • Description of Student’s Educational Program
individualized education plan1
Individualized Education Plan
  • Information found under #5 Description of Student’s Educational Program includes the following:
    • Description of special education and related services
    • Modifications of curriculum proficiencies and state assessments
    • Strategies related to the area of disability
    • Graduation requirements
    • Transition needs and services, IF APPROPRIATE
    • Behavior plan (if necessary)
individualized education plan2
Individualized Education Plan
  • Goals and Objectives:
  • When developing goals and objectives the following should be kept in mind:
    • New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards
    • Student preference(multiple intelligences, learning styles, and relative strengths and weaknesses
    • Chronological age appropriate
    • Applying skills in new places
    • Physical enhancement
    • Social contact
    • Increasing the number of environments
    • Functionality
individualized education plan3
Individualized Education Plan
  • After the IEP Team has established goals and objectives, they make recommendations regarding services, supports, accommodations, and modifications.
  • Placement in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) should be determined only after IEP goals and services have been constructed.
step 5 implementation of the iep
Step 5: Implementation of the IEP
  • This must be done within 90 days from the date that parents sign the evaluation consent form.
  • Once the IEP is developed, special services for the student begin immediately.
  • The IEP Team’s responsibilities carry through the year.
implementation of the iep
Implementation of the IEP
  • Monitoring is a vital part of the implementation step.
  • Monitoring responsibilities are written in the IEP.
  • The CST and teacher(s) must monitor the student’s progress.
  • Parent(s) need(s) to take an active role in making sure that the plan is implemented as it was written.
implementation of the iep1
Implementation of the IEP
  • Many monitoring and evaluation techniques are used.
  • These techniques match the goals and objectives set forth in the IEP.
  • The parent(s) must be given progress reports throughout the year.
step 6 annual review
Step 6: Annual Review
  • Who: Case Manager and Child Study Team, parent(s), general and special education teacher(s), and student, if appropriate, as well as other individuals that the parent(s) or board of education invites.
annual review
Annual Review
  • This is a yearly meeting to review and/or revise a student’s IEP. It can be reviewed at any time during the year but most IEP’s in New Jersey are reviewed in the spring.
  • At the meeting, the IEP is reviewed, revised, and recommendations are made for the following year’s program based on whether goals and objectives set forth in the current IEP are being met.
three year evaluation
Three Year Evaluation
  • Who: Parent(s) and Child Study Team
  • A reevaluation must be conducted at least every three years or sooner if necessary.
  • This reevaluation determines whether the student needs continued special education services
three year evaluation1
Three Year Evaluation
  • The parent(s) and CST form an evaluation plan.
  • The IEP Team reviews the existing data and determines what, if any, evaluations are warranted.
  • If no further evaluations are necessary, the parents are notified in writing and the Team is not required to conduct assessments.
  • Parents can waive additional testing at this time if the parent provides written consent to waive testing to the child study team AND the child study team agrees that it is not warranted.
parental rights and procedural safeguards
Parental Rights and Procedural Safeguards
  • IDEA guarantees parents the right to be active and equal participants in their child’s education.
  • Schools must inform parents of their legal rights including due process procedures and free voluntary mediation.
  • Parents are entitled to FAPE – a free and appropriate education for their child in the least restrictive environment (LRE).
parental rights and procedural safeguards1
Parental Rights and Procedural Safeguards
  • The law encourages parents to participate in all steps of the IEP process.
  • Parents can request evaluations and reevaluations once in a calendar year.
  • Parents must be notified of evaluations.
parental rights and procedural safeguards2
Parental Rights andProcedural Safeguards
  • Parents are entitled to informed consent of the IEP teaching plan.
  • Parents must be kept informed about the child’s progress
  • Parents are entitled to review all of their child’s records.
parental rights and procedural safeguards3
Parental Rights andProcedural Safeguards

There are a few procedural safeguards:

  • Parents must consent in writing to the following:
    • The initial evaluation
    • The initial IEP
    • The three year re-evaluation
parental rights and procedural safeguards4
Parental Rights and Procedural Safeguards
  • The school district must put all of their decisions in writing.
  • Written notice shall include the following:
    • A description of the proposed or denied action.
    • An explanation of why.
    • A description of the procedures, records, or reports used in determining decision and factors.
    • A description of procedural safeguards.
parental rights and procedural safeguards5
Parental Rights and Procedural Safeguards
  • Written notice must be given within 15 days after a decision.
  • Proposed action can be implemented after 15 days unless parents request mediation.
  • In the case of a student with behavioral problems, written notice must be given of any disciplinary action taken against the student in question.
parental rights and procedural safeguards6
Parental Rights andProcedural Safeguards
  • If a parent requests to initiate or change the referral, identification, classification, evaluation, or educational placement, the school MUST MEET WITH THE PARENT within 20 days of the request.
assessment of young children with disabilities

Four Stages of Assessment

  • CHILD FIND: Locate and Identify

One of the six principles of IDEA is Child Find. Each state is required to implement a program that locates un-served children and to inform parents of available programs. Public service announcements, billboards, articles in the newspaper, and signs are all ways that Child Find advertises.

assessment of young children with disabilities1
  • SCREENING: Evaluation and Assessment
  • The child’s vision, hearing, speech, language, motor skills, self-help skills, social and/or emotional development, and cognitive development are assessed.
assessment of young children with disabilities2
  • DIAGNOSING: Eligibility Determination
    • Any child that has a developmental delay of 33% in one area or 25% in two or more areas is eligible for special services.
    • An intervention plan must then be designed.
assessment of young children with disabilities3
  • From birth-3 years the state is responsible for early intervention services.
  • An Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP or ISP) is written for children in this age group.
  • The IFSP is written by the family, service coordinator, and evaluation team. It must be reviewed and updated every six months.
assessment of young children with disabilities4
  • The IFSP must include a statement based on the evaluation and assessment of the following:
    • child’s present levels of physical development (gross/fine motor)
    • cognitive development
    • communication development
    • social and/or emotional development
    • and adaptive development (self-help/feeding)
assessment of young children with disabilities5
  • The strengths and needs of the child, based on information obtained from evaluation and assessment procedures and interviews with the family, must be recorded.
  • Information can be recorded in narrative or list form, and is used as the basis for determining outcomes, as well as, methods and activities to achieve outcomes.
assessment of young children with disabilities6
  • EVALUATING  Measuring Progress : Developing a Plan for Transition
    • On the child’s 3rd birthday, he/she is no longer entitled to state early intervention services.
    • The child’s progress is measured and it is determined whether or not the child is still entitled to special education services.
assessment of young children with disabilities7
  • A transition is made to Special Services of the local school district.
  • Once the child reaches his/her 5th birthday, another plan for transition must be made.
  • The child must again be reevaluated and determined eligible in order for special education services to continue.