Whom should I contact with general questions regarding Special Education?
What is an IEP?
An IEP (Individualized Education Plan) is the result of a child qualifying for special education services. If you suspect that your child has a learning disability and needs accommodations in order to be successful, you must first request to have him or her evaluated. Once a request to have your child evaluated is made, the IEP team must review the referral and existing information regarding the child. Based on the review the administrative unit must determine the appropriateness of the referral. If the team determines the referral is appropriate, the team will initiate an evaluation. Once the evaluation is complete, the IEP team meets with you and the results are discussed. At that time, the IEP team makes a recommendation as to whether or not the child qualifies for special education. If so, an IEP is written.
Please reach out to your child’s School Psychologist or School Principal with further questions.
I would like some support for my child’s IEP meeting. What is available?
Many times parents would like to have an advocate or other support person with them for an IEP meeting (i.e. Child’s therapist, English Language Development (ELD) specialist, Title VI Program manager, Coordinator of Special Education and/or Director of Special Education). Please inform your child’s teacher or case manager prior to the meeting, of any additional people you will be inviting.
If your child’s teacher or case manager does not know of individuals who could support/advocate for you in an IEP meeting, you should contact the District Coordinator of Special Education and/or District Director of Special Education.
What is the difference between an IEP and a 504 plan?
An IEP is an individualized educational plan that is written when a child qualifies for special education services based on the outcome of a formal school-based evaluation. A 504 plan is an educational plan that is written for a student who needs accommodations within the regular classroom environment. In order to qualify for a 504 the student needs to have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities. Special education is governed by IDEA while 504 is a component of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Please reach out to your child’s school 504 coordinator for further information regarding your specific questions. In the event that you still have questions, please contact the building principal for more information.
Can I schedule a meeting with my child’s IEP team outside of the annual IEP review?
Given your child has a current IEP, you may request an IEP meeting at any time. Please follow the procedures that your child’s school has in place for making those requests by contacting your child’s teacher or case manager. If further assistance is needed, you can contact your child’s principal.
If you continue to have questions or concerns regarding the type or delivery of services, you should contact the Coordinator of Special Education and/or Director of Special Education.
My child has ADHD and the school is saying he doesn’t qualify for special education. Can this be right?
ADHD and other medical disorders are not considered qualifying conditions for special education. If the team finds that there is an educational impact to the student, and it affects their participation in the classroom, this can usually be addressed through a 504 plan. Examples of accommodations that they can receive through 504 include preferential seating, adjusted homework, shortened assignments, altered testing environment, adjustments to their schedule, progress reports and regular feedback, behavior modifications and reward systems. If a child’s ADHD or psychological condition is severely affecting their ability to learn, you can request a special education evaluation and it is possible that the child may qualify under the category of Other Health Impairment. Here, the IEP team needs to agree that the child requires services from special education and the team will work to develop an appropriate individualized education plan.
For additional information, please contact your child’s classroom teacher or building principal. In the event more information is needed, please contact the District 504 Coordinator or District Coordinator of Special Education.
What is the difference between general education and special education?
General education is the typical classroom that we think of when we think of school. Special Education is more complicated because it has changed over time. Prior to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”), Special Education meant a separate classroom filled only with children who had special needs. Today, Special Education is not a class placement, but a way to teach children with learning differences. It can occur in a general education classroom, a separate classroom or location, as determined by the IEP Team. We call that a “continuum of services.” The important thing is that Special Education is specialized, meaning that it is individualized to meet the unique needs of students with disabilities.