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Parent Educational Advocacy Training Center www.peatc.org An overview of the special education process for parents and professionals assisting children.

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Presentation on theme: "Parent Educational Advocacy Training Center www.peatc.org An overview of the special education process for parents and professionals assisting children."— Presentation transcript:

1 Parent Educational Advocacy Training Center An overview of the special education process for parents and professionals assisting children with disabilities developed by PEATC Welcome to the “Special Education Tour”

2 What is Special Education? Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Specifically designed instruction At no cost to parents To meet the unique needs of a child with disabilities

3 The Legal Foundations for Special Education in Virginia The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) 2004 The Virginia Special Education Regulations (2009)

4 Legislative Intent IDEA 2004 Education of children with disabilities can be made more effective by – Having high expectations for such children; Ensuring their access to the general education curriculum in the regular classroom…. to meet developmental goals and; Supporting, to the maximum extent possible, their efforts to meet the challenging expectations that have been established for all children; Preparing them to lead productive and independent adult lives to the maximum extent possible.

5 IDEA Guarantee: A free, appropriate education for all children (FAPE) Placement in the least restrictive environment Protection for the rights of children and their parents Parent participation in educational planning

6 The Special Education Cycle From the beginning, there are steps to getting a program for a child with disabilities. Evaluation Eligibility IEP Instruction & Monitoring Annual Review Referral

7 The Referral is a formal (oral or written) notification to the local school system that a child is experiencing learning or developmental difficulties and may require a full evaluation for early intervention or special education and related services. A referral may be made by a family, teacher or other individual. A written request documents the referral and starts a timeline.

8 Referral Decision In Virginia, a school-based team will meet within 10 business days following the receipt of the referral. If the referral information suggests that the child should be evaluated for special education and related services, the team must refer the child to the special education administrator within 3 business days.

9 Evaluation An Evaluation is the process of collecting information about a referred student’s learning needs through a series of individual tests, observations, and talks with the student, the family and others. This information is used to determine whether the child has a disability as well as the nature and extent of the special education and related services that the child needs. The evaluation is conducted at no cost to parents. Parents are members of the team reviewing the evaluation data and deciding whether more information is needed.

10 Independent Educational Evaluation If parents disagree with a test given during their child’s evaluation process, they have the right to request an independent evaluation (IEE) conducted by a qualified person who does not work for the school. Parents may request that the school pay for the IEE. However, the school may ask for a due process hearing to show that its initial evaluation is appropriate. Even if it is decided that the school does not have to pay for it, parents have the right to an IEE. If parents pay for the IEE, they determine whether or not to share the information in the IEE with the school.

11 Eligibility Based on the results of the evaluation, a team decides if a child is Eligible to receive early intervention or special education and related services. Parents are members of the eligibility team and receive documentation of the determination of eligibility at no cost. Evaluation Eligibility IEP Instruction & Monitoring Annual Review Referral

12 Who is Eligible? Children with: »Autism »Deafness »Deaf-blindness »Development delay »Emotional disability »Hearing impairment, including deafness »Intellectual disability »Multiple disability »Orthopedic impairment »Other health impairment, including ADHD »Specific learning disability »Speech or language impairment »Traumatic brain injury »Visual impairment, including blindness

13 Eligibility Timeframe Eligibility for special education and related services must be determined within 60 calendar days (65 business days in Virginia) after the special education administrator receives the referral for evaluation. The parent and the eligibility group may agree in writing to extend the 65 day timeline to obtain additional data.

14 Individualized Education Program (IEP) Every child in special education must have an Individualized Education Program (IEP). Evaluation Eligibility IEP Instruction & Monitoring Annual Review Referral

15 Individualized Educational Program (IEP) The IEP is a written statement describing the specially designed program developed to meet the needs of the individual child. Parents are to be members of the IEP team and participate with school personnel in the development of the IEP. The child should also participate in the IEP decision making process as early as possible.

16 When is the IEP Written? For a child NEW to special education, and For a child who has been re-evaluated - within 30 calendar days after the eligibility decision. For a child who already has an IEP: –At the beginning of the school year –At the end of the year for annual review –Within 30 days of a requested update from the parents or school.

17 What is on the IEP? Present levels of academic achievement and functional performance Measurable annual goals Plans for measuring progress Participation in state and division-wide assessments Special education, modifications and related services to be provided including dates and locations Participation with children without disabilities Secondary transition services including rights at age of majority

18 Placement in the “Least Restrictive Environment” A placement decision is made at the IEP meeting – identifying the location of the appropriate school program and services needed to meet the child’s educational goals on the IEP statement. Students with disabilities are to be educated, to the maximum extent possible, with children who are not disabled. This is called the “least restrictive environment” or LRE. The IEP team must consider placement closest to the child’s home, where he or she would attend if not disabled, unless the IEP indicates that another school is appropriate. If the student is not receiving services with nondisabled peers, the school should consider extra-curricular activities or other ways for the student to interact.

19 Related Services partial list of developmental, corrective, or supportive services required for the child to benefit from special education, including: –Occupational therapy –Physical therapy –Transportation –Counseling –Speech and language therapy –Audiology services –Interpreting services –Early identification –Diagnostic services –School health/nurse services –Social work services –Crisis Intervention –Assistive technology –Non-academic services –Extra curricular activities –Orientation/mobility training –Rehabilitation counseling –Psychological services –Parent counseling and training

20 Decisions About Related Services Which services are needed and why? How often are they needed? What length of time? Who will provide the services?

21 Instruction and Monitoring After the IEP is written and a child is placed in a school setting, learning activities begin in the classroom. Evaluation Eligibility IEP Instruction & Monitoring Annual Review Referral

22 Instruction and Monitoring Parents and school personnel must work together to make the IEP and placement work for the child. Parents are to be kept regularly informed of their child’s progress as defined in the IEP.

23 Annual Review The Annual Review is a meeting held at least once a year to look at, talk about, and study a student’s IEP. Evaluation Eligibility IEP Instruction & Monitoring Annual Review Referral

24 Annual Review The purpose of the Annual Review is to make decisions about changes in the IEP, review the placement, and develop a new IEP for the year ahead.

25 Transition Planning Transition planning is careful preparation by the student, parents, educators, and other service providers, for the time when the student leaves high school. Required before the age of 16 (by age 14 in Virginia). – or younger if appropriate The plan is written in the Individualized Transition Plan.

26 Transition Services The IEP Transition goals should relate to: - Education - Training - Employment - Independent living skills (if appropriate) The transition services must take into account a student’s strengths, preferences and interests. By age 16, the IEP must include a statement of interagency responsibilities and linkages.

27 Triennial and Reevaluation Re-evaluation occurs at least every three years, (unless the parent and school personnel agree that it is not necessary). Or If a child is not making expected progress and a parent or teacher requests one (unless the specific evaluation requested is less than a year old). Evaluation Eligibility IEPInstruction & Monitoring Annual Review Reevaluation Referral

28 Resources Parent’s Guide to Special Education, revised 2010, Virginia Department of Education, Division of Special Education and Student Services. The IEP Checklist for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad on the iTunes App Store. The IEP Checklist is a tool for parents and teachers to consider as they develop the IEP. By the Parent Educational Advocacy Training Center, 2010.

29 Special Education can be a complicated process, but parents have rights. If you have questions or concerns throughout the Special Education Process, call us at


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