FAPE – IDEA – IEP – TEAM . . .
©Jess Dinkelacker www.defyingthespectrum.com
What Are They? : Parent Guide
I remember feeling so overwhelmed (to put it mildly) when my son was diagnosed. Not only were we struggling to figure our his diagnosis, but we had to navigate the education at the same time. Here is a quick guide to some special education law and terms.
I have tried to offer a quick key word reference and special education process guide. I have also provided quality links from sources I trust, so that you can get more detailed information on each term or process. My hopes are that this can alleviate some initial confusion for you, as well as offer a time and energy saver as you begin to navigate the system.
Hang in there!
Never have four words had such power to determine a child’s chance for a meaningful education. FAPE is the core purpose of our federal special education law, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 2004 (IDEA 2004). The intent of FAPE is to ensure that special education programs and related services are designed to meet a child’s unique needs and prepare him or her for further education, employment, and independent living.
IDEA is a law ensuring services to children with disabilities throughout the nation. IDEA governs how states and public agencies provide early intervention, special education and related services to more than 6.5 million eligible infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities.
Infants and toddlers with disabilities (birth-2) and their families receive early intervention services under IDEA Part C. Children and youth (ages 3-21) receive special education and related services under IDEA Part B.
It’s the first stop on the road after determining your child’s eligibility under the IDEA 2004. Legally the IEP team must include parent, plus at least one general education teacher (if your child is in even one general education class) and one special education teacher. In the case of a child only receiving a related service such as speech and language, a speech therapist can replace the special education teacher.
The TEAM is the combined group (Parents and Professionals) that come together to create and implement the IEP. Every member has an equal say and important expertise to contribute.
IDEA (at §300.321) describes the IEP team as including the following members:
- the parents of the child;
- not less than one regular education teacher of the child (if the child is, or may be, participating in the regular education environment);
- not less than one special education teacher of the child, or where appropriate, not less then one special education provider of the child;
- a representative of the public agency who is qualified to provide, or supervise the provision of, specially designed instruction to meet the unique needs of children with disabilities; is knowledgeable about the general education curriculum; and is knowledgeable about the availability of resources of the public agency;
- an individual who can interpret the instructional implications of evaluation results;
- other individuals who have knowledge or special expertise regarding the child, including related services personnel as appropriate (invited at the discretion of the parent or the agency); and
- the child with a disability (when appropriate).
Basic Special Education
Process under IDEA
This is a truncated version provided by the United States Department of Education
STEP 1 – CHILD IS IDENTIFIED: 3 DIFFERENT CHOICES LISTED
1) EARLY INTERVENTION (CHILDREN UNDER 3 YEARS) – Early intervention is available in every state and territory of the United States according to The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) Law.
2) CHILD FIND (CHILDREN 3 YEARS OLD & OLDER)
is conducted by the state to identify, locate, and evaluate all children with disabilities. Each state government is responsible for setting up the CHILDFIND. It is pretty lacking in information if you run your own search.
3) REFERRAL – BY A PROFESSIONAL – SEEK OUT YOUR SCHOOL AND PEDIATRICIAN FOR HELP
STEP 2 – CHILD IS EVALUATED
The evaluation must assess the child in all areas related to the child’s suspected disability.
STEP 3 – ELIGIBILITY IS DECIDED
A group of qualified professionals and the parents look at the child’s evaluation results to decide “TOGETHER” if the child is a “child with a disability,” as defined by IDEA.
STEP 4 CHILD IS FOUND ELIGIBLE FOR SERVICES
Within 30 calendar days after a child is determined eligible,
the IEP team must meet to write an IEP for the child.
STEP 5 – IEP MEETING IS SCHEDULED
The school system schedules and conducts the IEP meeting.
STEP 6 – IEP MEETING IS HELD AND THE IEP IS WRITTEN
STEP 7 – SERVICES ARE PROVIDED
STEP 8 – PROGRESS IS MEASURED AND REPORTED TO PARENTS
STEP 9 – IEP IS REVIEWED
The child’s IEP is reviewed by the IEP team at least
once a year, or more often if the parents or school ask for a review.
STEP 10 – CHILD IS REEVALUATED EVERY 3 YEARS OR MORE IF WARRANTED