Parent’s Guide to Education Q and A Evaluation 1. What does a vocational assessment (done around age 12) entail? This interests me because I work in a high school age pre-vocational special education program. 1. The special education process for younger students. How does initial assessment and evaluation get started? "Parents of preschool children will be asked to select an approved evaluator from a list of evaluation sites before the child is evaluated." For a parent who is going through this process for the first time, I feel like it would be confusing to have to choose something like this on their own without knowing more about the evaluation sites listed. I suppose I would want more clarification on how this is presented to the parents. I had a parent of one of my students approach me about this exact part of the consent form and didn't know what to choose. 2. 1. What kind of Social History is exactly needed/looking for in the evaluation process? Outside Independent Evaluation 1. At what point in the process would an Individual evaluation be given and at what point an by who would the independent educational evaluation be given? I would like better clarification on both of these evaluation and examples of what these would look like. 1. I am wondering under what circumstances parents would want an independent educational evaluation by someone outside the district. Would parents want this after there was an individual evaluation and they do not agree with the results? 1. If under IDEA, students are entitled to a FAPE and special education services are at no cost to the parent, why would the parent have to pay for an IEE, when the impartial hearing officer finds the district evaluation appropriate? Prior Written Notice 1. Parent’s Guide to Special Education states, “You must receive written notice several times during the process of identifying, evaluating, placing your child and providing your child with special education services and/or programs.” Is it required that these written notices come only from the special education teacher, or can they come from other faculty members (e.g. principal, counselor, or classroom teacher)? 1. Who’s responsibility is it, if the parents say they never received written notice? 1. Pg. 18 #5 of the “Your consent will be requested when” section refers to the fact that under some scenarios the School District may request to use the parent’s private insurance. What sorts of scenarios would require this? Timeline 1. With how quickly information can be obtained securely in our digital age, why can districts still take 45 days to release a child’s educational record? Consent 1. Can another family member/not guardian give consent for the initial evaluation? After reading through page 4, I thought about the recent anti-vaxxer movement and how there have been outbreaks of measles. I looked at page 28 and saw information regarding a “guardian ad litem” and “surrogate parents,” but what about if an older brother/sister voiced their concern to the district? Would this be taken into account? Mediation/Impartial Hearing 1. What would trigger mediation? How often do parents dispute or disagree with a Committee? Are only parents/guardians allowed to request mediation, or can the school request mediation if they are having a difficult time getting through to the parents/guardian? 1. When mediation is needed, who is the mediator, who arranges one, and who employs them? Where would a meeting be held? 1. What happens if parent(s)/guardian(s), the school district with a mediator can come to an agreement? Classification 1. Can a preschool student be classified as having one of the conditions (autism, intellectual disability) or are they listed as a student with a disability? 1. Is there a separate school/district multidisciplinary team that only handles Section 504 referrals? Why couldn’t the CSE just do the assessing and recommending for a child who is not qualified for special education services but who may fall under the Section 504 guidelines? Section 504 An impairment as used in Section 504 may include any disability, long-term illness, or various disorder that “substantially” reduces or lessens a student’s ability to access learning in the educational setting because of a learning-, behavior- or health-related condition. [“It should be emphasized that a physical or mental impairment does not constitute a disability for purposes of Section 504 unless its severity is such that it results in a substantial limitation of one or more major life activities” Major life activities include, but are not limited to: self-care, manual tasks, walking, seeing, speaking, sitting, thinking, learning, breathing, concentrating, interacting with others and working. As of January 1, 2009 with the reauthorization of the Americans with Disabilities Amendment Act, this list has been expanded to also include the life activities of reading, concentrating, standing, lifting, bending, etc. This may include individuals with AD/HD, dyslexia, cancer, diabetes, severe allergies, chronic asthma, Tourette ’s syndrome, digestive disorders, cardiovascular disorders, depression, conduct disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, HIV/AIDS, behavior disorders and temporary disabilities (e.g., broken writing arm, broken leg, etc.). Section 504 vs IDEA ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● Does not require that a child need special education to qualify. Evaluation draws on information from a variety of sources and is documented. Decisions about the child, evaluation data, and placement options are made by knowledgeable individuals. Such decisions do not require written consent of the parents, only that the parents are notified. Requires "periodic" reevaluation. No provisions made for independent evaluation at school's expense. Requires re-evaluation before a significant change in placement. Does not require an IEP, but does require a plan. "Appropriate" means an education comparable to the education provided to those students who are not disabled. Placement is usually in a general education classroom. Children can receive specialized instruction, related services, or accommodations within the general education classroom. Provides related services, if needed. Point of Contact 1. Would the parents ever contact the Committee directly with questions or concerns and not involve the teacher? 1. Who (the one individual with authority and continuity) does the parent communicate with day-to-day regarding not just the concerns they have regarding their child but the IEP, the child’s transitions from grade to grade and other long term concerns? I would imagine that parents will want to latch onto an individual point of contact from day one of the process to graduation. Without this anchor, trust may not be optimal. I don’t think the guide identifies this individual, and I understand that the IEP functions to provide the continuity across time that teachers and administrators who come and go cannot, but parents may still want to talk to that one person who is in charge every time. At age 18, do parents no longer have rights to a student’s record, or can the student sign a waiver for the parents to be involved? Why is a student with a severe disability be given the rights to make educational decisions? I found this very perplexing. 2. 3. Placement 1. I was also confused about the section concerning the student attending private school. Does a student receive special education services from the school district they live in? Or does the private school provide them? 1. I would like to know more about why there has not been more recent studies to determine where special education students should be educated. Specifically, with the significant growth of technology, I believe that should also be taken into consideration as to where and how students with disabilities can be assisted. As a future special education or classroom teacher, I seek to be well prepared and to use evident research to assist students with disabilities.