Inclusion is a term used to describe a regular classroom services for students identified as having special instructional needs.
The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 504, prohibits discrimination against handicapped people. This law outlines procedures for providing services to students who have physical or mental impairments.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), requires all states and territories, to provide a public school education to children with disabilities from ages 3 to 21, regardless how severe their disabilities are. Federal regulations under Section 504 are very similar to those under IDEA.
Individualized Education Program (IEP)
The Individualized Education Program (IEP) is a legally binding document. It establishes a plan for an individual student who is identified as having one or more of the 13 disabilities defined in IDEA. The document should contain:
- The student’s disability,
- A statement of the student’s present level of performance.
- Long and short term instructional objectives
- Evaluation procedures, and A statement of the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) for that student.
The complete IEP process includes identification and intervention, the Multi-Factored Evaluation, development of the IEP, implementation of the IEP and an annual review.
The Process for Identification and Interventions to Determine Special Needs:Step 1. Referral – by parent(s) or teacher(s).
Step 2. Intervention – with a written intervention plan.
Step 3. Develops a plan which includes strategies and intervention in the classroom.
Step 4. A timeline for the intervention needs to be established.
Steps to Beginning the Multi-Factored Evaluation (MFE) Process:
Step 1. Set a meeting with parent(s).
Step 2. Parental permission must be obtained for any testing to occur.
Step 3. Multi-Factored Evaluation (MFE) testing can include, but not be limited to, medical, psychological, communication, and vision/hearing evaluations.
Step 4. Some districts, after the MFE, hold MFE team meetings to review evaluation results and determine eligibility for services.
An IEP meeting will be scheduled at a mutually acceptable place and time. Maximum amount of time from beginning of MFE testing to IEP development is 120 days. The following people shall be included in an IEP meeting:
- The child’s teacher(s).
- A district representative who is able to provide or oversee the delivery of special education services.
- The child, where appropriate.
- Additional individuals who may attend are:
- Representatives from the MFE team, if this is an initial evaluation or re-evaluation.
- Appropriate service providers.
- Other individuals chosen by the parent(s) or school district.
- During the IEP meeting team members will:
- Review evaluation results.
- Review the current IEP.
- Determine the area(s) of strengths and needs.
- Write goals and short term objectives.
- Determine services needed and the duration of services. (If the student is 16 years old or older, the IEP must include a description of transitional services.)
- Determine the least restrictive setting in which to deliver the services.
- Ensure that the student participates to the maximum extent appropriate.
- Consider the need for extended school year.
- Review criteria for evaluation and.
- Develop a written plan.
The law requires that an Individual Education Plan be implemented as soon as possible after the IEP conference has taken place. All education employees who work with the child are legally responsible to help the child meet the objectives of the IEP. Lack of participation in the IEP conference does not exclude any education employee from this responsibility. Therefore, it is imperative that the education employee has access to the child’s IEP.
The IEP may be reviewed at any time during the school year at the parent’s or teacher’s request, but must be reviewed at least annually. The teacher has the authority to reconvene the IEP team to:
- Review goals and objectives.
- Modify the plan.
- Request additional assessment(s).
Helpful IEP Questions
Is there a need for an aide?
- What is the largest number of students in the classroom at any one time?
- Is the academic offering comparable to what non handicapped students are receiving?
- What adaptations or modifications will have to be made to the classroom?
- What adaptations or modifications will school personnel have to make for this student?
- What and how will related services (e.g. transportation, OT, PT, interpreter, speech therapy, etc.) be provided/scheduled?
- How will teacher/aide absences be handled? Will the substitute be thoroughly qualified?
- Will summer services (Defined as Extended Year Services or EYS) be needed?
- What scheduling arrangements need to be made?
- How will assessment, grades, and grade cards be handled?
- What is the student’s status relative to testing?
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