Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA): Special Education and the Law Elizabeth S. Rorick, J.D. Senior Policy Strategist PTA Legislative Conference March 10, 2010
Agenda • IDEA Background and History • The Rights of Parents • Transition Planning • National PTA Policy Recommendations
Background and History Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) • Main federal program authorizing state and local aid for special education and related services for children with disabilities. • Requires states to provide a free, appropriate public education (FAPE) to children with disabilities so that they can be educated to the greatest extent possible along with all other children. • Created to help states and school districts meet their legal obligations to educate children with disabilities, and to pay part of the extra expenses of doing so. • Today, approximately 6 million children currently receive special education services.
Background and History Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) 1980s 1986: Part C (Infants and Toddlers) was developed as part of the law
Background and History Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) 1990s 1990:Transition planning was introduced as a requirement. 1997: Congress authorized grants for parent trainings. Congress provided a dispute resolution process for parents who file grievances with their S/LEAs, thereby strengthening the role of parents in their child’s education.
Background and History Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) 2000s 2004: President Bush signed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act, a major reauthorization that worked to remove the barriers separating special education from general education.
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Free appropriate public education (FAPE) • to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability. • no cost to the parent. • meets state education standards. • consistent with your child's Individualized Education Program (IEP).
What is Special Education? Set of services, rather than a specific place for your child to go. The general education classroom is considered the least restrictive environment or LRE for most kids. Most special education students spend the majority of the day in general education. “Push in" or "pull out" support from the special education staff.
What is Special Education? • IEPs are mostly implemented in the general education classroom. • Besides instruction in general education, other options for receiving special education services may be considered • special classes, • special schools, • home instruction, and • instruction in hospitals and institutions.
IDEA Part B vs Part C Part B: Section of IDEA that refers to children ages 3-21 who are eligible to receive special education services. • Section 619 is the preschool grant available to states for providing educational programs for children ages 3-5 who are eligible to receive special education services. Part C: Section of the IDEA that refers to infants and toddlers who are eligible to receive early intervention services.
Differences in Service Part C • Primarily home or community based • Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) • Services based upon families planning priorities Part B • Primarily school-based, or in a community setting • Individualized Education Plan (IEP) • Services based on areas of need resulting from a student’s disability
Parental Involvement Provisions under IDEA • Create and preserve constructive relationships between parents and schools. • Ensure parent involvement in planning and decision making. • Assist parents to develop skills they need to participate effectively in the education and development of their children. • Support parents as participants within partnerships. • Help overcome economic, cultural, and linguistic barriers to full parent participation.
Parents have the right to… • Informed Consent: Each LEA must obtain informed consent from parent before conducting an evaluation. • Notification: Must be notified early enough to ensure the one or both of the child’s parents or guardians can attend IEP meetings. Parents may request that IEP meetings are scheduled at a mutually agreed upon time. • Native Language: Have access to an interpreter if their native language is not English. • Alternate meeting mediums: LEAs and parents can agree to use alternative means of meeting participation such as video or audio conferencing.
Parent Resources Parent Training Information (PTI) Centers • Provide training, information and support to parents who have a child through the age of 26 with special needs. • Authorized in Part D of IDEA and are funded by the U. S. Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). • PTI Center in each state --some states also have Community Parent Resource Centers (CPRCs) which focus on reaching underserved populations, including low income families.
Parent Resources Parent Training Information (PTI) Centers • Currently there are 104 PTI Centers, 32 of which are CPRCs, which operate under a unified system to provide technical assistance and resources for parents, family members, professionals, and school personnel. • PTI Centers assist parents in the development of their child’s IEP, as well as assist parents in obtaining the appropriate information about the range, type, and quality of programs and services.
Parent Resources • The Technical Assistance ALLIANCE for Parent Centers (the ALLIANCE) • Partnership of one national and six regional parent technical assistance centers, each funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) • Comprise a unified technical assistance system for the purpose of developing, assisting, and coordinating the PTIs and CPRCs under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
Initial Evaluation Guidelines for the evaluation: • It must be done by trained and knowledgeable individuals. • It must cover all areas related to the suspected disability. • There must be more than one test or assessment procedure. • It must be in your child's native language if at all possible. • It must not discriminate against your child. • It must be conducted at no cost to you.
Individualized Education Plan Individual Education Program (IEP): Title 34 CFR §321 • IDEA requires children to have an individualized education program (IEP), in order to receive special education services. • The IEP includes information about a child’s present levels of performance on various tests and measures and includes information about goals and objectives, specifically how the child’s educational problems will be addressed.
Individualized Education Plan The IEP must be developed with input from: • At least one of the child’s parents; • At least one regular education teacher; • At least one of the child’s special education teachers or providers; • A representative of the school district who is qualified, knowledgeable, and authorized to commit the district to the delivery of resources to the child; • A qualified professional who can interpret the evaluation of child; and • Others at the discretion of the parent or the school district and, where appropriate, the child with a disability.
Planning Part C-Individualized Service Plan Part B-Individualized Education Plan (IEP) A plan that addresses academic and functional skills that are a result of a student’s identified disability The school district facilitates the IEP team process Families are part of the IEP team • A plan that addresses child needs and family priorities, resources and concerns • The Family Resources Coordinator (FRC) facilitates the team process • Families are part of the team; their priorities become the focus for planning
Child with a Disability? 14 Categories under IDEA • Autism • Deaf/Blindness • Deafness • Developmental Delay • Emotional Disturbance • Hearing impairment • Mental Retardation
Child with a Disability? 14 Categories under IDEA • Orthopedic impairment • Other health impairments • Specific learning disability • Speech or Language Impairment • Visual Impairment (including blindness) • Traumatic Brain Injury • Visual Impairment including Blindness
Teacher Roles • Self contained special education classroom in a regular school. • Resource teacher in a categorical resource room. • A member of the IEP Committee. • A member of a multi-disciplinary team. • A consultant teacher, (special education teacher assigned to work with a child with a disability in the general classroom).
Teacher Roles • An itinerant teacher: a special education teacher employed by an agency hired to visit various schools in several districts and work with children with disabilities. • An inclusion teacher in a partial inclusion program or full inclusion program. • Private practitioner who deals with the evaluation and remediation of children as an auxiliary service after school. • Educational evaluator (educational diagnostician) on the Child Study Team (CST), a school based support team that discusses and makes recommendation on high-risk students.
Post Secondary Transitions Required!! Encouraged!! Student should actively participate! Begin with the end in mind! • Under IDEA, transition services must begin by the time reaches the age of 16. • Updated annually • Appropriate and measureable.
Post Secondary Transitions Transition Plan Framework Should: • Identify community resources, services and supports • Identify vocational rehabilitation and post-secondary opportunities • Provide assistance for application to a post-secondary educational or vocational institution • Promote the student’s self sufficiency • Align with the student's desired goals
Measureable Goals Bad Example Good Example Include the employment, educational, and living situation Example: After high school, Jim will enroll in the local technical school to study auto mechanics and repair. Jim will live in a renovated garage on his parent’s property. • Vague and unspecific • Doesn’t include real-life outcomes Example: Jim will get a job upon graduation from high school.
Practical Strategies • Assign chores at home. • Encourage volunteering in their community • Keep an eye open for employment opportunities. • Discuss different careers in the community. • Have a candid discussion with them about their dreams, life-long goals, and visions of success.
Disagreement If there is a disagreement between the parent and the other team members, always try and solve the problem at the lowest level possible! • Teacher • Principal/School Director • District level Special Education personnel (if any) • Superintendent
Dispute Resolution If the parent believes that a violation of IDEA has occurred, the dispute resolution procedures available: • Formal state complaint • Mediation • Due process hearing
IDEA Reauthorization • Scheduled for reauthorization in 2010 • Committees of Jurisdiction • Senate: Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions • House: Committee on Education and Labor
National PTA Recommendation for Definition of Family Engagement Recommendation: Amend IDEA Section 602 to include the following definition of “family engagement in education.” “Shared responsibility of families and schools for student success, in which schools and community-based organizations are committed to reaching out to engage families in meaningful ways and families are committed to actively supporting their children’s learning and development. This shared responsibility is continuous from birth through young adulthood and reinforces learning that takes place in the home, school and community.”
National PTA Recommendation on Family Engagement Recommendation: Increase the investment in training and professional development on effective family engagement for special education teachers/administrators. Rationale: Data identifies teachers’ relationships with parents as factors in teacher retention and stability.
National PTA Recommendation for Transition Planning Recommendation: Amend IDEA to require transition planning services for special education students to begin no later than age 14. Rationale: Disabled youth drop out of school at twice the rate of non-disabled students. Delaying transition planning until age 16 for students who are already at-risk for dropping out does not allow time to pursue critical opportunities.
National PTA Recommendation for Behavior Management Recommendation: Require classroom-based behavioral management plans that focus on prevention during the development of every student's IEP and 504(b) plan; Require that general and special educators know how to respond to behavioral problems with positive behavioral interventions and supports. Rationale: Evidenced-based positive behavioral supports increase learning and decrease classroom disruptions. In any given year, about 1 in 10 students with disabilities received multiple in school suspensions with 1 percent being expelled.
Contact Us PTA National Office of Programs and Public Policy 1400 L St., NW, Suite 300 Washington, DC 20005 (202) 289-6790 www.pta.org