Posts Tagged ‘Special Education’

Does Your Child Qualify for Extended School Year Services?

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

by Theresa Kraft, Esq.

When developing an IEP for a student with disabilities, the IEP team must consider whether the student’s special education needs can be met during the traditional school year.  If the child requires an extended day or an extended year in order to receive a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE), then the school district is required to provide the student with programming.  Generally, this is referred to as Extended School Year Services (ESY).

ESY can take any form that will ensure FAPE and should not be dependent upon the school district’s schedule, services, availability of personnel, etc. – in other words ESY, like the IEP, should be based on the child’s individual needs and not the convenience of the school district.

The IEPs used by many NH school district’s include a section to consider ESY, but it is not uncommon for that section to contain language indicating that the decision regarding the need for ESY will be determined by a specific date.  April seems to be the month to discuss ESY.  Regardless of whether the discussion is taking place when the IEP is first developed or at a later date, the discussion is part of the IEP process and therefore must take place within a team meeting.  At the IEP meeting that discusses ESY, the team should consider the student’s needs for ESY, including degrees of progress, emerging skills, regression over breaks, length of time to recoup skills lost over breaks, the nature or severity of the disability, interfering behaviors, as well as any other factors the team determines appropriate in consideration of whether FAPE will be provided.

ESY is not a one size fits all program.  ESY is not reserved for only specific categories of students with disabilities.  ESY is not an enrichment program.  ESY is not determined by administration based on NECAP, NWEA, DRA, or any other acronym’s scores.  ESY does not have to take place in a school setting.  As with all IEP discussions, ESY discussions should be based on the student’s needs and a focus on how those needs will be met.

When preparing for the IEP team meeting to discuss ESY, consider:

  1. The student’s progress during the traditional school year
  2. The type of programming the student receives and best practices for that type of programming
  3. The need for consistency in schedule
  4. The ability to focus more intensely on skills to foster emerging skills
  5. The need for social interaction in a structured and supported setting

For more information regarding a ESY, see NH DOE Memo 44.

This post can be found on Attorney Kraft’s website as well.

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Special Education Questions Answered

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

Those of you who attended the Transition Workshop, you had the opportunity to ask Brice Palmer questions regarding Special Education.  Those of you who didn’t attend missed a wonderful opportunity to gain a new perspective to the madness we lovingly refer to as Special Education.  Now everyone has the opportunity to ask questions.

The Mulberry Bush is an opportunity for you to gain insight that has just the right mix of humor and common sense! So go ahead, ask the question!

Transition Planning for Special Education Students

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

By Theresa Kraft, Esq.

Transition services, like most services provided under an IEP, are individualized to a particular student and are based on the student’s strengths, weaknesses, and personal vision for post-secondary opportunities.  Transition services for a student with significant cognitive disabilities will be very different for the student with ADHD.  And when the transition services start should be based on the student’s needs.

The IDEA requires that beginning not later than the first IEP to be in effect when the student turns 16 or younger if determined appropriate by the IEP Team, and updated annually, thereafter, the IEP must include–

(1) Appropriate measurable postsecondary goals based upon age appropriate transition assessments related to training, education, employment, and, where appropriate, independent living skills; and

(2) The transition services (including courses of study) needed to assist the child in reaching those goals.

NH rules require that an IEP include a statement of transition services that meets the requirements of 34 CFR 300.43 and 34 CFR 300.320(b), with the exception that a plan for each student with a disability beginning at age 14 or younger, if determined appropriate by the IEP team, shall include a statement of the transition service needs of the student under the applicable components of the student’s IEP that focuses on the student’s courses of study such as participation in advanced-placement courses or a vocational education.

Transition services are designed to be within a results-oriented process, that is focused on improving the academic and functional achievement of the child with a disability to facilitate the child’s movement from school to post-school activities, including postsecondary education, vocational education, integrated employment (including supported employment); continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living, or community participation.

Although NH IEPs have a section entitled Transition Plan, the IEP is viewed as a whole document and services which fulfill the requirements of Transition services can appear anywhere in the IEP.

For more information regarding Transition Planning visit NHEdLaw and Parent Information Center.

Attorney Theresa Kraft guides parents of children with disabilities through the special education process.  This article also appears on Attorney Kraft’s website.

What is Child Find?

Sunday, October 11th, 2009

by Theresa Kraft, Esq.

Every school district is responsible for locating and evaluating every child who is suspected of having a disability within the geographical boundaries of the school district to determine if that child requires special education.  The school district is responsible for developing policies and procedures that ensure any child who is potentially a child with a disability attending school and for any child 2 ½ years of age up to 21 years of age residing within the school district’s jurisdiction is referred to the IEP team.  Although special education does not begin until a child is 3 years old, the school district is supposed to make sure that the evaluations have been completed and an IEP can be implemented on the child’s 3rd birthday.

The policies and procedures must include mechanisms to allow for at least annual communication, coordination, and/or consultation with private schools, area agencies, family centered early supports, community agencies and programs, group homes, courts, health care facilities and state institutions.

Any one can refer a child to special education.  The person does not have to work for the school district or be the parent or guardian of the child to make the referral.  Some reasons why a child could be referred are:

1.    Failing to pass a hearing or vision screening;
2.    Unsatisfactory performance on group achievement tests or accountability measures;
3.    Receiving multiple academic and/or behavioral warnings;
4.    Repeatedly failing one or more subjects;
5.    Inability to progress or participate in developmentally appropriate preschool activities; and
6.    Receiving service from family centered early support and services.

Child find creates an affirmative duty for a school district to ensure that all children suspected of having a disability and in need of special education are referred, even if the child is receiving passing grades and advancing from grade to grade.

The school district is required to provide data to the NH DOE regarding the children who were found eligible and those found ineligible for special education.  As part of the data collection, school districts must report on the children who were found eligible but who are not receiving services from the district.

Child find ensures that teachers, parents, and the community have the necessary information to recognize when a child should be referred to special education.

Attorney Theresa Kraft guides parents of children with disabilities through the special education process.  This article also appears on Attorney Kraft’s website.

Progress reports are out soon what must we do?

Sunday, October 11th, 2009

Progress reports are due and students find out just how well they are doing and not doing. How well the school is providing the service that was outlined in the IEP’s, 504 plans. Do our Teachers get it when it comes to special education or IEP’s, 504 plans? What must we do to help the students become more successful, building confidence, self esteem and motivation? Success That is all we are asking.

If the student is not doing well, call for a meeting.

1. Don’t delay!

2. Ask that the teacher to be present at the meeting.

3. Ask what is needed, and what help should be giving to that student.

4. Communicate with the student on what he/she would like to see happen. If they don’t know lets give cues!

Search what works for him/her.

1. Don’t assume anything when it comes to our students on an IEP’s, 504′ plans

2. Don’t assume that they are not doing their work, or they don’t want to do it. Find out why?

There is a reason behind it all. Ask them, do they understand what is being asked of them. Identify  the problems, work as a team to help the student problem solve.

TEAM is the Key word and we need to work together. Amend the IEP’s as needed, it is a working document and can be changed at any time. Not eatched in stone, Fluent ongoing document.