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1 Special Education for Students with Disabilities in NYC Public Schools This presentation was prepared for CIDNY by Jaclyn Okin Barney, Esq. Center for.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Special Education for Students with Disabilities in NYC Public Schools This presentation was prepared for CIDNY by Jaclyn Okin Barney, Esq. Center for."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Special Education for Students with Disabilities in NYC Public Schools This presentation was prepared for CIDNY by Jaclyn Okin Barney, Esq. Center for Independence of the Disabled, NY © 2011

2 The Special Education Law: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Protects the education rights of children with disabilities ages 3-21; Covers students in preschool, elementary and high school; Services end once students have finished high school. 2

3 3 Key Concepts within the IDEA Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) Least Restrictive Environment (LRE)

4 4 Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) FAPE is special education and related services that: a.are provided at the public’s expense; the state’s education standards; c. include all years of preschool, elementary school, or high school; and d. follow students’ individualized education programs (IEPs).

5 What students get under FAPE Students are entitled to an appropriate education NOT the best education. Students’ IEP must be made up in a way that lets a child get some educational benefit. 5

6 6 Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) Children with disabilities should be in school with children without disabilities – this is called inclusion. Only if the child cannot get a satisfactory education in this setting because of their disability should he/she be put in a special class or separate school.

7 A New York City Note: The NYC Department of Education (DOE) is currently reforming special education programs. The goal of this reform is that community schools must educate most students with disabilities by offering flexible special education programs with IEP’s that meet students’ needs. 7

8 A New York City Note (Continued) This reform is taking place in two parts. Right now, 263 schools throughout the City are getting training and support so they can serve the majority of students with disabilities in their communities. In the 2012-2013 school year, the reform will be done at all schools within the system. At that time all schools will be expected to educate the majority of students with disabilities. 8

9 Who does the DOE consider to be a child with a disability? A child who has a physical, mental or emotional disability and can only use educational opportunities if they have special education services and programs. 9

10 Who is a Child with a Disability? A child must have a disability that is in one of the following categories: Intellectual impairment Hearing impairment Deafness Speech and language impairment Visual impairment Emotional disturbance Autism Traumatic brain injury Other health impairments Learning disability Deaf blind Multiple disabilities Orthopedic impairments 10

11 Process for Deciding Special Education Services for a Child with a Disability Step 1: Referral Step 2: Evaluation Step 3: The Individualized Education Program(IEP) Step 4: Placement and Implementation of Services 11

12 Step 1: Referral Process Types of Referrals: a.School Referral A principal can refer a student to be evaluated for special needs; a teacher can only ask a principal to make a referral. b.Parent Request A parent can ask that a student be evaluated to see if s/he needs services. A parent’s request should be given in writing to the school and parents should get a receipt of their request. 12 Child Find: part of the IDEA means that schools must identify students who may be in need of special education services.

13 Step 2: Evaluation Assessment tools and strategies include: Social history; Psychological evaluation; Psycho-educational; Classroom observation; Educational academic assessment; A functional behavioral assessment, if needed; A child must be re-evaluated once every three years unless waived by the parent and school or is requested sooner. 13

14 Step 3: The IEP If a student is identified as having a disability when an evaluation is done, an Individualized Education Program (IEP) is made for the student. A parent is an equal member of the IEP Team and needs to be present at IEP meetings. Every IEP meeting has an attendance sheet. Everyone at the meeting, including the parents, must sign the sheet. Signing the attendance sheet only means that the person was at the meeting. It does not mean that the person agrees or disagrees with the IEP. IEPs are looked over and updated annually. 14

15 Step 3: What is the IEP An IEP is a legal document – like a contract – between the school and the parent that includes: Student’s classification; Class size and setting; Current educational and emotional performance; Educational support services; Goals and objectives; and Transition Goals and Services (only for students over the age of 15). 15

16 Step 3: Class Size and Setting Special education is a flexible service delivery program, not a place! So children can be given a variety of choices for size and settings including: General education with related services Resource room (sometimes called Special Education Teacher Support Services or SETSS) Integrated co-teaching (sometimes called Collaborative Team Teaching or CTT) Specialized classes Home or hospital-based instruction Private day school Private residential school Interim alternative residential placements 16

17 Step 3: Educational Support Services At the IEP meeting, people will be talking about special education- related services for the student. These services can be: speech and language therapy; physical therapy; occupational therapy; Special Education Teacher Support Services (SETSS); counseling; Deaf services. 17

18 Step 3: Educational Support Services (continued) For students who are 15 and older, the IEP team will also talk about transition services. These services help the student to plan for life after high school. They can include: preparing for college; learning to advocate; training for employment; and letting the student know about and speak to state agencies that support adults with disabilities. 18

19 Step 4: Placement and IEP Implementation If a child has never been evaluated by the school, the parent must ask for an evaluation and sign a consent form. Once the consent is signed, the school has 60 days to do the evaluation and place the child in the appropriate setting. For a child who already has an IEP, the school has 60 days to re- evaluate the child and change his/her placement as soon as a parent requests the re-evaluation. No signed consent is needed. Remember that under DOE’s current special education reform, community schools must serve all students. If the child’s current school cannot meet the student’s needs, a parent should get a placement offer. 19

20 Due Process Rights If a parent is not satisfied with his/her child’s IEP, the parent has right to: File for an impartial hearing Request a mediation Submit a complaint to NY State Education Department Keep a student where h/she is until the dispute is resolved (this is called Pendency). Pendency happens when a mediation or hearing is requested. Ask for and receive all documents and conversations in their native language. 20

21 Tips: Keep copies of all documents and notices from the Department of Education (DOE). Keep a notebook and take notes of all conversations and meetings (especially who you are speaking to, the date of the conversation, and how you may reach him/her again); Send all correspondence to DOE “return receipt requested.” If you hand deliver something, get a dated receipt; Always know what you are signing and do not sign a document until you understand it; Ask questions, ask questions, ask questions … Do not leave a conversation or meeting without understanding as much as you can, especially next steps 21

22 For More Information Center for Independence of the Disabled, NY (CIDNY - Queens) 137-02 A Northern Blvd. Flushing, New York 11345 646-442-1520 (voice) 718-886-0428 (TTY) 886-948-1064 (VP) 22

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