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Parent Rights in Special Education


Once somebody has the heart for kids that are different, they won't break any ... The parent shall be given a revised IEP with the amendments incorporated ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Parent Rights in Special Education

Parent Rights in Special Education
  • The Individuals With Disabilities Education
    Improvement Act of 2004
  • Michelle Fattig, Ed.S.

IDEA 2004
  • I think the thing that you can pass along
    better than anything else is your passion for
    kids that need somebody to care about what they
    need outside the system rather than how they
    simply need to fit into the system.  Once
    somebody has the heart for kids that are
    different, they won't break any sort of law
    because they will be taking such good care of
    what makes their own life special. 

IDEA 2004
  • The new authorization of special education law,
    which became effective in July 2005 called the
    Individual with Disabilities Education
    Improvement Act or IDEA 2004, allocates money for
    Parent Training and Information Centers. The
    reauthorization changes the original language of
    the act to include the partial statement,
    strengthening the role and responsibility of
    parents and ensuring that families of such
    children have meaningful opportunities to
    participate in the education of their children at
    school and at home.

IDEA Reauthorization 2004
  • House Bill passed in April 2003
  • Senate Bill passed in May 2004
  • Conference Committee appointed in October 2004
  • Conference Bill passed in November 2004
  • President signs the bill into law on December 3,
  • Provisions took effect on July 1, 2005 except
    personnel requirements

  • Access to the general curriculum in the regular
  • Strengthening the role and responsibility of
  • Coordinating IDEA with improvement efforts under
    the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of
    1965 and NCLB
  • Scientifically based instruction

  • Parents and schools should be given expanded
    opportunities to resolve their disagreements in
    positive ways.
  • Understanding and involvement for parents!
    Meaningful participation
  • Providing incentives for whole school approaches,
    to reduce the need to label children as disabled
    in order to address the learning and behavioral
    needs of such children.

Parent Advocacy
  • School can be a difficult place for any student
    regardless of race, socio-economic status,
    disability, or gender. Advocating for a child
    with a teacher or school can be a daunting task
    for any parent. When a child has a disability,
    the experience can be exponentially greater.
    Some parents are upset about difficulties faced
    in advocating for their child. This can be a
    very trying situation!

Parent Advocacy
  • Understanding the law, navigating the system,
    or questioning the professionals can leave a
    parent feeling overwhelmed and under qualified.

  • IDEA is founded on the principle or ideal that
    what a child requires in order to be successful
    to the greatest extent appropriate with regular
    education peers may not necessarily be a cookie
    cutter service plan. IEP teams should closely
    evaluate, consider, and monitor services
    determined appropriate for each child.

  • Schools are required to offer a continuum of
    services or alternative placements in order to
    best meet the special education needs of all
    children. These services or alternative
    placements may include, but are not limited to
    supplementary aids and services curricular
    adaptations and accommodations medical, speech
    language, psychological, or social work supports
    and resource rooms, special classes, and special

  • A school must clearly demonstrate that a free and
    appropriate public education (FAPE) cannot occur
    within a regular education classroom before
    alternative settings may be considered.
  • The courts interpret appropriate services in
    meeting FAPE, not as the Cadillac of services
    to meet all needs and wants fully, but to be
    reasonably calculated to enable the child to
    receive educational benefits

  • IDEA requires that children with disabilities be
    educated in their Least Restrictive Environment.
    LRE requires that children be educated with their
    non-disabled peers to the greatest extent
    appropriate. Students should be provided with
    the LEAST amount of special education services
    and supports needed in order for them to progress
    with regular education peers in the regular
    education setting and curriculum.

  • The tricky part in determining LRE, is the term
    appropriate. Each child has unique and
    individual needs. What may be most appropriate
    for one child may not be appropriate for another
  • Sometimes a child needs a MORE restrictive
    environment to meet his or her Least Restrictive
    Environment mandate. In other words, sometimes a
    child is unsuccessful with minimal supports and
    requires more supports or a different placement
    in order to be successful in his or her
    educational placement.

Meaningful Participation
  • IDEA maintains emphasis on parental involvement
    and participation. Parents generally understand
    and know the child better than anyone else on the
    team. Schools are expected to encourage and
    enable active and meaningful involvement of

Parental Safeguards
  • Parents of children with special education needs
    have many federally protected rights.
  • These rights are an important part of the
    federally protected mandate and it is important
    to read the packet fully and to ask any questions
    you may have about these rights.
  • As a parent, if you have any questions but are
    intimidated to ask in front of a table surrounded
    by professionals, consider asking other parents,
    the school psychologist, principal, teacher, view
    online forums, or call the state department for

Parent Rights
  • Parents have the right to receive a written
    notice within a reasonable amount of time before
    the school district PROPOSES or REFUSES to
    initiate or change the identification, evaluation
    or educational placement of your child or the
    provision of a free appropriate public education
    to your child.

The notice of meeting shall include
  • a description of the action proposed or refused
    by the school district
  • an explanation of why the action is proposed or
  • a description a of each evaluation procedure,
    test, record, or report used as a basis for the
    action proposed or refused
  • a description of any other factors relevant to
    the school districts decision
  • a statement that you have protection under the
    procedural safeguards set forth in the federal
    law, and the means by which you may obtain a copy
    of a description of those procedural safeguards
  • sources for you to contact to obtain assistance
    in understanding your rights.

A copy of the procedural safeguards must be given
to the parent, at a minimum
  • one time per year,
  • upon initial referral or parent request for
  • at parent request and
  • upon filing for a due process hearing.
  • The school district must take steps to ensure
    that the parent understands the information
    provided in the notice.

Consent means
  • That a parent has been fully informed in his or
    her native language or other mode of
    communication of all information relevant to the
    activity for which consent is sought
  • that a parent understands and agrees in writing
    to the activity for which his or her consent is
  • there is a description of the activity and lists
    of records (if any) which will be released and to
    whom and
  • that written consent is voluntary and may be
    revoked at any time.

  • Written consent must be obtained before a school
    district conducts an initial evaluation or
    reevaluation for a student and before the
    district makes an initial placement into a
    special education program

  • Consent for an evaluation will not be construed
    as consent for initial placement.
  • Consent may be withheld, withdrawn, or revoked at
    any time.

Reasonable Effort
  • If a school district has attempted to obtain
    your consent for a reevaluation with no response,
    the district may conduct the evaluation without
    consent, provided that the school district can
    demonstrate that it had taken reasonable efforts
    to obtain consent and failed to gain a response
    to the requests.

  • Parents or guardians have the right to inspect
    and review all education records with respect to
    the identification, evaluation, and educational
    placement of their child and the provision of a
    free appropriate public education.

Parent Rights Forms
  • Individual states may have slightly different
    language. Most will probably be revised
    following the implementation of IDEA 2004.

  • Evaluation
  • -60 school day timeline for completion of
    evaluation from time of consent for ages 3-21
  • -Timeline relaxed for transfer students as long
    as receiving district is making sufficient
    progress to insure a prompt completion of the
    evaluation and parent knows when it will be

  • Reevaluations
  • -Conducted in language and form most likely to
    yield accurate information
  • Frequency
  • -Not more than once a year (unless school and
    parent agree otherwise)
  • -At least every 3 years unless parent and school
    agree that a reevaluation
  • is unnecessary

  • Evaluations before change in eligibility
  • -When exiting for purposes of maximum age
    eligibility or graduation with a regular diploma
    a reevaluation will not be required
  • -LEA shall provide a summary of the students
    performance and academic achievement to assist in
    meeting the students postsecondary goals.

  • Individualized Education Programs (IEPs)
  • -Present levels of academic achievement and
    functional performance
  • -Annual goals must include academic and
    functional goals
  • -Short-term objectives/benchmarks not always
  • -Only for those children who take alternative
    assessments to be aligned to alternate standards

  • Contents of IEP
  • -Description of how progress toward goal will be
    measured and when reported
  • -Statement of Special Ed Services
  • -Based on peer-reviewed research to the extent
  • -Appropriate accommodations in district-wide
  • -Why students cant participate in regular
  • -Why alternate assessment is appropriate
  • -What alternate test the student will take

  • Contents of IEP (cont.)
  • -Statement on participation in regular classes
    and curriculum
  • -Transition Services
  • Appropriate measurable post-secondary goals
    based on age-appropriate transition assessment
    must be included in the first IEP to be in effect
    when the child is 16

  • IEP Team Attendance
  • A member of the IEP team may be excused from the
    meeting if the parent and district agree in
    writing that attendance isnt necessary because
    the members area of curriculum isnt being
    discussed or modified.
  • If a members area of curriculum is being
    modified or discussed, that member may be
    excused, provided they submit written input prior
    to the meeting.
  • Their excusal must be agreed to in writing by the
  • prior to the meeting.

IDEA 2004 Changes
  • IEP may be amended between the annual review
    meetings without calling an IEP Team meeting if
    agreed to by the parents and LEA
  • IEP Amendment shall be in writing
  • The parent shall be given a revised IEP with the
    amendments incorporated

Behavioral Intervention Plans
  • If behavior impedes his/her learning or that of
    others, IEP must include
  • Positive behavior interventions
  • Strategies
  • Supports

Functional Behavioral Assessment
  • IEP Team, after 10 school days of disciplinary
    removal, meets to either
  • Develop a functional behavioral assessment plan
    if a FBA was not previously conducted
  • Or
  • - Review the behavioral intervention plan as
    part of the IEP to determine what, if any,
    revisions are necessary

Change of Placement Procedures (Behavioral)
  • Notify parents of their rights
  • Conduct a manifestation determination
  • Plan for services starting no later than the 11th
    cumulative school day of removal

Manifestation Determination
  • IEP Team convened with school psychologist as a
  • Determination made no later than 10 school days
    after determination of disciplinary sanction
  • Review information provided by parents and other
    evaluation information

Manifestation Determination
  • Manifestation if behavior is caused by or
    directly resulting from the disability or failure
    to implement the IEP
  • If manifestation, revisit FBA, implement/revise
    BIP, return to last placement unless otherwise
    agreed to
  • Disciplinary removals not permitted
  • Services are provided

No Manifestation
  • Student is subject to the regular disciplinary
    process of the school
  • Services must be provided no later than the 11th
    cumulative school day of removal in the school

Students Not Yet Eligible
  • Basis of Knowledge
  • Parent expressed concern in writing regarding
    need for special education
  • Parent requested an evaluation
  • Behavior/performance demonstrated need for
    special education or
  • School personnel expressed concern about behavior
    or performance in accord with the special
    education referral system

IDEA 2004 Changes
  • Procedural Safeguard Notice provided
  • Once per year
  • Initial Referral
  • Request from Parent
  • Due Process Complaint

Independent Educational Evaluations
  • Anytime at parent expense
  • At public expense if parent disagrees with
    districts evaluation
  • District must pay or initiate a Due Process
  • Team must consider the IEE

Stay Put
  • Unless otherwise agreed to, student remains in
    the last current placement
  • Exceptions
  • Dangerousness
  • Final Hearing decision agrees with parents that a
    change of placement is necessary

IDEA 2004 Changes
  • Interim Alternative Education Settings are up to
    45 school days unless parents agree to extend
  • Adds inflicting serious bodily injury as
    grounds for IAES
  • Showing of substantial risk of death, extreme
    physical pain, protracted/obvious disfigurement,
  • protracted loss/impairment of a bodily member
    or organ/ mental faculty

Interim Alternative Educational Setting (IAES)
  • Student possesses or carries a dangerous weapon
    to school or a school function
  • Student knowingly possesses or uses an illegal
  • Student sells or solicits a controlled substance

IAES for Safety Reasons
  • Determination by Hearing Officer or Court
  • Standard
  • Burden of proof on the school to show by a
    substantial evidence that
  • Students return is substantially likely to
    result in injury to self or others
  • Current placement is appropriate and
  • School made reasonable efforts to minimize the
    risk of harm to self/others

  • IEP Team determines services and placement
  • Services that afford opportunity to participate
    in the general curriculum
  • Services called for in the IEP as adapted by team
  • Services to address the behavior

In School Suspensions
  • Does not count as a day of suspension if
  • Student is afforded the opportunity to progress
    in the general education curriculum
  • Student is provided their special
    education/related services
  • Student participates with non-disabled peers to
    the extent they would in their regular placement

Other Disciplinary Considerations
  • Portions of a day in which the student must be
    removed must be accounted for
  • (cumulative counts!)
  • Bus suspensions are deemed a removal if
  • Transportation is listed in the IEP
  • No alternate transportation has been offered

Curriculum Based Decision Making with Response to
Intervention (RTI)
  • Focus on early intervention and prevention in
    general education
  • May be used at the district, school, grade,
    class, small group and individual level
  • The process may or may NOT lead to special
    education referral
  • Assessment and data-based decision-making are
    critical components

Additional Information
  • Parent Training and Information Centers are
    designed to serve families of children with
    disabilities from birth to age 22. The centers
    work with families in obtaining appropriate
    education services and in training parents and
    professionals. Each state has at least one
    parent center. The centers help resolve
    conflicts between parents and other agencies or
    schools, and provide a connection for children
    with disabilities to the community resources
  • http//

  • IDEA 2004 Individuals with Disabilities
    Education Improvement Act A Parent Handbook for
    School Age Children with Learning Disabilities
  • By ShelleySmith(2005)