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Washington Special Education Law

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1 Washington Special Education Law

2 Objectives By the end of this section of the course you should:
Understand the legal foundations for special education including relevant legislation, litigation, and vocabulary Understand the referral process Write a pre-referral Begin to understand how students and families cope with learning disabilities and ADHD Collect evidence of student performance in relation to GLEs

3 Key Concepts / Vocabulary
IDEA LRE LEA IEP FAPE AYP 504 ADA Due Process Inclusion Mainstreaming Nondiscriminatory evaluation Zero reject Noncompliance Person first language Eligibility determination

4 Purpose of Special Education - WAC392-172A
Ensure that all students eligible for Special Education have a free appropriate public education (FAPE) that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment, and independent living. Ensure student and parent rights are protected. Assess and ensure the effectiveness of the IEP.

5 Key Federal Court Decisions
Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka (1954) - “separate but equal” (i.e., segregation by race) is not constitutional Pennsylvania Association for Retarded Children v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (PARC), “uneducable” or “untrainable” students can not be excluded from public education Mills v. Board of Education (1972) - a) broadens the scope of PARC to included students with other disabilities, b) all children of school age should be provided with free and suitable public education, and c) no exclusion due to insufficient funds Specific language in Mills states a) “mentally retarded, emotionally disturbed, physically handicapped, hyperactive, and other children with behavioral problems”

6 Hendrick Hudson Central School District Board of Education v
Hendrick Hudson Central School District Board of Education v. Rowley (1982) The Supreme Court stated that services provided to the child must: Be provided at public expense and under public supervision Meet the state educational standards Comply with the child’s IEP Confer educational benefit IDEA does not require school districts to maximize a student’s potential The court posed two essential questions: Did the school district follow all of the procedures in IDEA? Is the IEP reasonably calculated to enable a child to receive educational benefit? Amy Rowley was a first grade student in Peekskill, NY. She had an IQ of 122 and a substantial hearing impairment. Her parents went to due process advocating for a full time one-to-one interpreter because she was only processing 40% of the words spoken in class. Her parents argued that she needed the interpreter to achieve at a level commensurate with her potential. However she was outperforming her peers and the school district argued that the interpreter was not necessary because she was making progress in the general education curriculum. The case was appealed to the supreme court which refused to define the level at which a student needs to achieve to be making adequate progress. They emphasized the process of providing services over the product.

7 The Big Three - Disability Legislation
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Section Rehabilitation act of 1973 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

8 Brief history of IDEA Public Law , Education For All Handicapped Children Act (1975). This law was reauthorized and expanded as the “Individuals with Disabilities Education Act” (IDEA) in 1990. Reauthorized again in 1997 & 2004 (P.L ). Federal regulations for 2004 reauthorization were released August 14, 2006.

9 Major Tenants of IDEA Applies to children ages 3 - 21
Zero reject - nonexclusionary education FAPE - Free appropriate public education LRE - Least restrictive environment Nondiscriminatory evaluation Due process Transition planning AYP - Adequate yearly progress Advocacy Confidentiality Noncompliance - lawsuits Person first language In Hendrick Hudson Central School District Board of Education v. Rowley the court stated that services provided to the child must: Be provided at public expense

10 Who is eligible for services under IDEA?
Students who demonstrate the characteristics of any of the previous categories IF their disability adversely impacts educational performance and requires specialized instruction.

11 What if the disability does not affect academic achievement?
Students are NOT eligible for services under IDEA They may receive services under Section 504 of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act (1973) Section 504 covers many more students than IDEA

12 Visual representation of school-aged populations
served under IDEA and Section 504 Students served under Section 504 Students served under IDEA Notice that students served under IDEA are also eligible for services under Section 504. Because students served under IDEA have a disability that adversely affects their educational performance and requires specialized instruction, they receive educational supports and services that extend beyond the “plan” mandated under 504 and include an “Individualized Education Program (IEP)”.

13 No Yes Student Need Consider IDEA Consider 504 Not Eligible
Adverse affect on educational performance? Yes IDEA Eligible IEP Developed Related Services Placement Options Consider 504 Not Eligible No Disability substantially limits one or more major life activities 504 Protected Reasonable Accommodations FAPE IDEA Flow Chart

14 Major Tenants of Section 504
Prevents discrimination by any organization receiving federal funds Defines a handicapped person as “Any person who has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities” Students served under IDEA are also eligible for 504 Both laws mandate FAPE IDEA requires an individual education program (IEP) while 504 requires schools to demonstrate how services are being provided Physical impairment means (a) any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems: neurological; musculoskeletal; special sense organs: respiratory, including speech and lymphatic; skin; and endocrine; or (b) any mental or psychological disorder such as mental retardation, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disabilities. Major life activities include, but are not limited to: self-care, manual tasks, walking, seeing, speaking, sitting, thinking, learning, breathing, concentrating, interacting with others, and working. This may include individuals with AD/HD, dyslexia, cancer, diabetes, severe allergies, chronic asthma, Tourette’s Syndrome, digestive disorders, cardiovascular disorders, depression, conduct disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, HIV/AIDS, behavior disorders, temporary disabilities (e.g., broken writing arm, broken leg, etc.). Students who are currently using illegal drugs or alcohol are not covered or eligible under Section 504. Major life activities include functions such as caring for one’s self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working. Examples of students served under 504 include those with: asthma, diabetes, allergies, ADD, etc.

15 Major Tenants of ADA (1990) Maximize the employment potential of individuals with disabilities. Provide “reasonable accommodations” in the workplace. Employers may not ask if an individual has a disability and may not discriminate against persons who have a disability. Colleges and universities must provide appropriate modifications Telecommunications must be accessible to individuals who are deaf

16 Disability Categories in Washington
Developmentally Delayed (age 3 - 8) Emotional Behavioral Disability Speech or language impairment Orthopedically impairment Other Health impaired Specific learning disability Mental retardation Multiple disabilities Hearing impairment / Deafness Visually impairment / blindness Deaf / blindness Autism Traumatic brain injury

17 Categorical Disability Distribution
U.S. Department of Education 2005 SLD = 47.4% or 2,858,260 Speech = 18.7% or 1,127,551 Mental Retardation = 9.6% or 581,706 Emotional Disturbance = 8.0% or 483,805 Other Health Impairment = 7.5% or 452,045 Multiple Disabilities = 2.2% or 132,333 Autism = 2.3% or 140,920 Visual Impairment = 0.43% or 25,814 Traumatic Brain Injury = 0.37% or 22,534 Developmental Delay = 1.09% or 65,921 Hearing Impairment = 1.2% or 71,903 Orthopedic Impairment = 1.1% or 68,188 Deaf/Blindness = 0.03% or 1,667

18 Nondiscriminatory Evaluation
All Students Screening Prereferral Some Students Referral Nondiscriminatory Evaluation Procedures Students in need of special Education and related services

19 IDEA Procedures Pre-referral - consultation with instructional support team (IST) Document current levels of student performance (academic, social, & behavioral) Implement academic supports - document results Referral (identification) Notice of procedural safeguards & due process rights Parental consent Evaluation Eligibility determination (within 35 school days of parental consent) IEP development Placement decision (LRE) Annual review Triennial reevaluation Transition planning

20 Pre-referral Build a trust relationship with the student and parents
Document student’s academic, social, and behavioral performance levels using multiple quantitative and qualitative measures Document strategies / accommodations that have been used with the student and their outcomes Discuss the student with other teachers and the instructional support team (IST) - Document results Meet with parents / guardians - Document conversations

21 Writing a pre-referral
Activity - Take 20 minutes and write a referral for a student you have concerns about. Be sure to include the students current functional levels in terms of academic, social, and behavioral achievement. Remember that all of the members of the IST will see this document.

22 Your pre-referral should include:
A statement that explicitly states your belief that the child can be successful. A paragraph describing pertinent information about the child. Information about the student’s current academic, social, & emotional / behavioral performance. Quantitative (numbers-based) and qualitative (observations, interviews, and artifacts) evidence supporting your claims in #3. Research-based instructional interventions that you have tried with the student and their outcomes. Questions you would like addressed. Refrain from diagnosing - report the facts in a nonbiased manner.

23 Some Practical Tips Keep all documentation confidential in a secure location. Type and carefully proofread all written materials. Document all conversations and make a photocopy of written correspondence. Bring your notes, grades, and examples of the student’s work to the IST & IEP meetings. Discuss your participation at the meeting with the special educator prior to the meeting. Communicate regularly with parents - build relationships. Implement and document how you are following the IEP.

24 Referral & Evaluation Someone refers the student for evaluation (usually the parent or teacher). School has 25 school days from referral to decide if they will evaluate. Parent must consent to evaluation. School must complete initial evaluation within 35 school days of parental consent. The evaluation must be unbiased, reliable, and provide meaningful information regarding the student’s strengths, weaknesses, and behavior. Parent has the right to an independent evaluation at public expense.

25 Evaluation Procedures
Review existing data on the student including classroom-based, local, state assessments, and classroom observations. Use a variety of assessment tools and strategies to gather relevant functional, developmental, and academic information about the student. Provide assessments in the student’s native language.

26 IEP Development - Who’s involved?
The student (when appropriate). Local educational agency (LEA) - who will oversee implementation of the child’s plan. General classroom teachers (at least 1). Special education teacher. Therapist. Parents. Others at the discretion of the parents or LEA. Evaluator if other than the special education teacher.

27 Contents of the IEP Child’s present levels of performance (e.g., educational, social, behavioral). Specific measurable annual goals, objectives, expected levels of performance, timelines. Information regarding the students placement and related services. Modifications to the general education curriculum. Dates & times for delivery of services. Means to assess AYP. Transition plan (16 and up).

28 Continuum of Sped Services - LRE
Most Inclusive General Education (Gen Ed) Curriculum Gen Ed w/ consultative services Gen Ed & instruction & services Gen Ed & resource room Full time Sped classroom Special school Special facilities, day or residential Students most be educated to the greatest extent possible with their non-disabled peers in general education classrooms. Most intensive

29 Accommodations vs. Modifications

30 Accommodations Defined
Are intended to reduce or eliminate the effects of the student’s disability. Do not reduce learning expectations. Allow students to demonstrate knowledge and skills through a content area assessment and obtain valid scores From: 2008 Accommodations Guidelines for Students With disabilities - OSPI (p. 5)

31 Types of Accommodations
Presentation - allow students to access information in ways other than through reading traditional print (e.g., text-to-speech software) Response - allow students to a complete assessments in different ways (e.g., using a computer program that allows them to organize their thoughts visually) Setting - Change the location and conditions (alternate room) Time and schedule - increase available time or how the assessment is organized

32 Modifications Actually change what is assessed.
Validity and reliability of assessment results must be questioned. Examples include adjusting test questions to reduce content demands and provide scaffolding for the student to identify each step that should be taken to solve the problem

33 What should I do when a student is struggling in my class?
Start a confidential file on a secure computer. Describe the student in a one paragraph narrative that concludes w/ your concerns. Identify the student’s current levels of functional performance in each of the following domains: academic, social, emotional/behavioral - one paragraph overview from IST pre-referral. Begin to create a database so that you can chart the student’s progress over time. Identify and implement research-based instructional strategies. Build a relationship with the parents.

34 How to document student learning
Use the academic categories from the IEP. Create three means of collecting evidence: 1) a portfolio system, 2) a spread sheet with graphing capabilities, and 3) a narrative that summarizes the student’s performance using quantitative and qualitative data. REMEMBER - The purpose of this documentation is to inform your instructional strategies and chart student growth over time and across interventions.

35 Research-based Instruction
Involves the application of rigorous, systematic, and objective procedures to obtain reliable and valid knowledge relevant to educational activities. Employs systematic empirical methods that draw on observation or experiment. Includes rigorous data analysis. Is evaluated using experimental or quasi-experimental designs Has been accepted by a peer reviewed journal or approved by a panel of independent experts.

36 Academic areas of focus
Listening comprehension Oral expression Basic reading skills (alphabetic principle, decoding, phonemic awareness, fluency, semantics) Reading comprehension Basic writing skills (handwriting, spelling, grammar) Written expression Math computation Math reasoning Problem solving

37 Listening Comprehension
Sara is able to sustain her attention during group activities for minutes. She follows three-step oral directions and is able to recall at least five story elements from orally read texts. She asks clarifying questions, provides feedback pertinent to the listening activity (e.g., I’ve seen my dog chase cats too!), and responds to verbal cues. Sara is meeting GLEs for listening comprehension and is a joy to have in class. Sample Documentation

38 Oral Expression Sara adjusts her language based on the situation (e.g., when speaking with friends vs. adults). She initiates discussions and participates in group activities (e.g., brainstorming). She is able to articulate supporting details and organize information into logical sequences. She speaks clearly and distinctly using developmentally appropriate grammar, syntax, tone, and inflection. Sample Documentation

39 Basic Reading Skills While Sara possesses strong listening comprehension and oral expression skills, she struggles with basic reading skills. For example, during a Pre-Primer Subject Word List screening using the Qualitative Reading Inventory- 4, Sara scored in the 60th percentile or frustration level. She was unable to automatically identify the words “children”, “other”, “animal”, “place”, “every”, “thing”, “write”, and “live”. Sara is often unable to read words containing complex letter patterns (e.g., -ought, -aught). She has difficulty decoding multi-syllabic words (i.e., two and three syllable). When prompted she is able to use prefixes and suffixes to determine the meaning of unfamiliar words 50% of the time. Sample Documentation

40 Using data to inform instruction
Sara’s Reading Performance Intervention = 20 minutes of small group reading instruction in phonemic awareness and sight word identification 5x per week. Peer reading 15 minutes each morning. Intervention

41 You try it In your grade level groups, split the academic categories among the group and document the student’s current levels of academic performance. Remember to use data to support your claims. Give examples when possible. Each of you will also need to create an artifact that demonstrates the data you are presenting. You can find the GLEs at:

42 Helpful Websites Tool kit on teaching and assessing students with disabilities Washington State Special Education IDEA 2004 News, Information and Resources OSEP Sponsored Web Sites Access Center Resources Main Page CAST: NCAC NICHCY Home National Research Center on Learning Disabilities PBIS Website PDA Center - Resources § Case Law § LD Online

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