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IDEA AND ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS WITH DISABILITIES. Office of General Counsel Division of Educational Equity. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or IDEA is a formula grant program that provides Federal funds to States, and through them to local educational agencies (LEAs)

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IDEA AND ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS WITH DISABILITIES


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    1. IDEA AND ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS WITH DISABILITIES Office of General Counsel Division of Educational Equity August 15, 2012

    2. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or IDEA is a formula grant program that provides Federal funds to States, and through them to local educational agencies (LEAs) These funds assist States and their LEAs in providing special education and related services to children with disabilities. The IDEA regulations for the Part B program are found in 34 CFR part 300 August 15, 2012

    3. IDEA requires States and their LEAs to make FAPE available to children with disabilities residing in the State in the least restrictive environment or LRE August 15, 2012

    4. As shown through the requirements described below, each child’s needs must be individually determined through specified procedures. Parent participation is critical August 15, 2012

    5. Let’s define some terms: FAPE MEANS: • Special education and related services • Provided at no cost to the parents • Under public supervision and direction • In conformity with an IEP (34 CFR §300.17) August 15, 2012

    6. FAPE starts at the child’s third birthday and could last until the 22nd birthday, depending on State law or practice (34 CFR §§300.101-300.102) August 15, 2012

    7. SPECIAL EDUCATION MEANS: • Specially designed instruction to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability. • Specially designed means that the instruction is adapted, as appropriate, to address the child’s disability-related needs and to ensure access to the general curriculum (34 CFR §300.39) August 15, 2012

    8. RELATED SERVICES MEANS: Transportation and other support services that are designed to assist a child to benefit from special education. (34 CFR §300.34) The regulation lists sixteen types of related services. Some examples include: • Audiology • School health and school nurse services • Interpreting services for children who are deaf or hard of hearing • Speech pathology services August 15, 2012

    9. CHILD WITH A DISABILITY MEANS: A child who is evaluated and found to have a disability as defined in the IDEA and who needs special education and related services because of the disability August 15, 2012

    10. There are thirteen categories of disability in the IDEA that States can use that range from autism to traumatic brain injury. Other examples include: • Deafness • Hearing impairment • Visual impairment, including blindness • Emotional disturbance • Other health impairment • Orthopedic impairment • Specific learning disability (34 CFR §300.8) August 15, 2012

    11. EVALUATION REQUIREMENTS Informed parental consent must be obtained before a child’s evaluation is conducted, and parents must be given proper notice of the proposed activity (34 CFR §§300.300(a) and 300.304(a)) August 15, 2012

    12. The LEA must use a variety of assessment tools and strategies in conducting an evaluation, including information from the child’s parent, to determine whether a child has a disability and the child’s educational needs and may not use any single measure or assessment as the sole criterion for these determinations (34 CFR §300.304(b)(1)-(2)) August 15, 2012

    13. Testing and other evaluation materials must be: • Selected and administered in a manner that is not racially or culturally discriminatory • Provided and administered in the child’s native language or other mode of communication, and in the form most likely to yield what the child knows and can do, unless clearly not feasible to do so • Be used for purposes for which the assessments or measures are valid and reliable • Administered by trained and knowledgeable personnel (34 CFR §300.304(c)) August 15, 2012

    14. DETERMINING ELIGIBILITY A group of qualified professionals, including the child’s parent, determine whether a child is eligible for services under IDEA on a case by case basis, drawing information from a variety of sources, such as aptitude and achievement tests, teacher recommendations, parent input, and social and cultural background (34 CFR §300.306(a) and (c)) August 15, 2012

    15. A child may not be found to be a child with a disability if the determinant factor is lack of appropriate instruction in reading or math or limited English proficiency August 15, 2012

    16. Once a child is found eligible for special education and related services, an LEAmust develop an IEP for the child (34 CFR §300.306(b)(1) and (c)(2)) August 15, 2012

    17. INDIVIDUALIZED EDUCATION PROGRAM An IEP: • Is a written document developed at a meeting between parents and school officials, known as the IEP Team • Must be reviewed periodically, but not less than annually (34 CFR §§300.320-300.324) August 15, 2012

    18. The IEP must: • Address the child’s disability-related educational needs • Contain, among other components, the special education, related services, and supplementary aids and services to be provided to enable the child to be involved and make progress in the general curriculum and to participate in nonacademic and extracurricular services and activities (34 CFR §300.320(a)) August 15, 2012

    19. The IEP Team must consider a variety of special factors in developing, reviewing, and revising a child’s IEP For ELL students, the IEP Team must consider the language needs of the child as those needs relate to the child’s IEP (34 CFR §300.324(a)(2)(ii)) August 15, 2012

    20. Parents must be given the opportunity to be part of the group that makes the child’s placement decision-- the setting in which the child receives special education and related services (34 CFR §§300.501(b) and 300.116) August 15, 2012

    21. Variety of Written Notices All required notices to parents under IDEA must be written in language understandable to the general public and in the parent’s native language or other mode of communication used by the parent, unless clearly not feasible to do so August 15, 2012

    22. If the parent’s native language is not a written language • The LEA must take steps to ensure that the parent receives and understands the information in the notice (34 CFR §300.503(c)) August 15, 2012

    23. INCLUSION OF CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES IN STATE ACCOUNTABILITY SYSTEMS All children with disabilities must be included in all general State and district-wide assessment programs, including assessments conducted under Title I, with appropriate accommodations and alternate assessments where necessary and as indicated in their respective IEPs (34 CFR §300.160)) August 15, 2012

    24. IDEA does not address criteria for exiting a child from special education and related services, but does require a reevaluation before a child’s eligibility can be terminated while the child remains in school (34 CFR §300.305(e)(1)) August 15, 2012

    25. For more information about IDEA and the Part B regulations in 34 CFR part 300, visit: http://therightidea.tadnet.org August 15, 2012