Frequently Asked Questions
Frequently Asked Questions
What is an IEP? And how do I know if my child qualifies?
An IEP is an individualized Education Plan. An IEP is written after your child has been evaluated by the district and found eligible for special education services in school. A child is eligible for special education services if they have a documented disability that negatively impacts their access to the education curriculum. It is important to note that a medical diagnosis outside of school does not guarantee an educational eligibility in school.
How are schools handling the return to classroom in light of COVID-19?
The United States Department of Education is working hard to keep your students safe, while increasing the access to the services they need in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. To learn more about the efforts in place under the Return to School Roadmap, click here.
Where can I find information about U.S. Department of Education Policy Documents?
The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) issues written guidance to support the implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). OSEP typically issues these letters in response to specific questions raised by parents, educators, representatives of advocacy organizations, state educational agencies, early intervention programs and their providers, and other interested parties. For more information, click here.
My school has given me an IEP plan, but I don’t know if it meets our needs. Can someone help us evaluate the plan?
Yes! Before we meet, you can look at what is included in the IEP. The Present Levels drive the goals and the goals drive the services. First, make sure the present levels are accurate and describe deficits related to education. If it is mentioned in the present levels, it should be addressed with a goal (because it negatively impacts educational performance). Then there are services added to address the goals. Also, look for documented progress on goals. At minimum, this should be given to parents with presort cards, but can be requested more frequently and at any time.
What do I do if my child isn’t receiving the services promised to them in the IEP?
Document your concerns in writing (email) and send to the ARC chair and teacher. It’s usually helpful to give them a chance to coordinate services. If the services are still not happening, request a meeting (in writing/email) to discuss scheduling issues, student motivation to participate, communication issues with staff, etc. Make a plan to coordinate services and best support the student according to the IEP. This can happen sometimes when students change schools within and between districts. Keep the lines of communication open to have a good working relationship with the school.
My school is declining services to my child. What should I do?
Request the refusal in writing.
This is generally in the conference summary if you are having an ARC meeting – this would be if your child has an IEP, but is declined a related service because they didn’t qualify based on evaluation results. If the school refuses to evaluate, they must provide their refusal in writing (this is Prior Written Notice in KY).
The district can refuse an evaluation if they definitely DO NOT suspect a disability. If the district suspects a disability that affects education in ANY WAY, they are obligated to evaluate a student (Child Find, IDEA). Think about how the school has communicated problems with you that has encouraged you to request an evaluation.
Following an evaluation, a district can deny special education services if the student is not found eligible. This means that the disability does NOT negatively impact the student’s education. This will be provided in writing in a written evaluation report.
Parents have the right to request an (Independent Education Evaluation) IEE if they disagree with the district’s decision/findings.
My school does not offer the services my child needs. What should I do?
This can be a problem with related services that are offered less frequently, like orientation and mobility, teacher for the visually impaired, interpreting services, etc. Once a service is listed in the IEP, the district has 30 days to initiate services. If the district does not have a service offered in house, they can pay for an outside professional to provide the service. It is always helpful to maintain productive, respectful communication with the district.
I have a meeting with my child’s school to discuss next steps. What questions should I ask?
That depends where you are in the special education process. It is always a good idea to ask for any documents/evaluations/progress monitoring before the meeting so you can ensure meaningful participation. I am happy to review documents prior to a meeting so that you can be best prepared to advocate for your child.