IS AN INDIVIDUALIZED EDUCATION PROGRAM?
*SPAN is in the process of updating
this information to reflect changes to IDEA (The Individuals with
Disabilities Education Act)
Individualized Education Program (IEP) is the "road map" to
your child's education. It
is both a process and a product. Specific
steps lead to the development of the document.
Chapter Three walks you through the steps in the process.
It explains what happens at each stage and identifies the
participants and their roles and responsibilities.
process is as important as the product.
It begins with conducting tests and assessments, then
knowledgeable school personnel and parents meet to determine whether the
student needs special education services.
The develop-ment of an IEP requires that you think through your
priorities for your child deeply and carefully.
The process concludes with a lengthy document, an individualized
educational plan. The plan
is designed to address the individual strengths and weaknesses of the
student. But equally important, the IEP is the avenue by which parents
become equal partners in educational decisions about their child.
By planning together, parents and professionals develop, monitor
and evaluate a program that benefits the child.
you are planning for a year, sow rice.
you are planning for a decade, plant a tree.
you are planning for a lifetime, educate a person.”
EDUCATION DELIVERY CYCLE
2: EVALUATION (Parents must sign consent form prior to initial
evaluation and all subsequent evaluations and prior to initial
"placement" or receipt of special education services)
3: DETERMINATION OF ELIGIBILITY
EDUCATION PROGRAM (IEP) DEVELOPED
(30 calendar days from determination of eligibility)
OF THE IEP (90 calendar days from the date that parent
signs the evaluation consent form)
OF THE IEP
7: ANNUAL REVIEW
AND/OR 3-YEAR REEVALUATION
Identification of the Student
2. Determination of Whether Evaluation Will Be Conducted
3. Identification of the Collaborative Planning Team
5. Determination of
Eligibility for Services
6. Identification of
Student's Strengths, Needs and Skills
7. Development of Goals and
8. Identification of
Supports and Services
9. Identification of Least
1. Eligibility Criteria
2. Provision of Ongoing Support and Monitoring
1: IDENTIFICATION OF THE
parents know at birth or shortly after that their child will need
special help and services. At
other times a learning difficulty does not become apparent until the
child grows older and matures. Each
district adopts and maintains its own written procedures for identifying
those students ages 3-21 who reside within the local school district who
may be educationally disabled and who are not receiving special
education and/or related services.
Children under age 3 who may experience developmental delays or
disabilities must be referred to early intervention programs or other
SPAN at 1-800-654-SPAN for our Early Intervention packet and guide.
TIPS DURING IDENTIFICATION
Parents can identify that their child may be experiencing physical,
sensory, emotional, communication, cognitive and social difficulties.
Parents can initiate the identification process themselves.
SPAN recommends that all such requests be made in writing.
Parents must be provided written documentation of the interventions
attempted in general education settings.
Parents should monitor the intervention period closely and see evidence
of progress. If not, a
formal written request for evaluation by the child study team should be
5. If the
district in writing refuses to evaluate your child, your options are:
b. Due process
hearing (see also Chapter 6)
2: DETERMINATION OF WHETHER
AN EVALUATION WILL BE CONDUCTED
referral is received, within 20 days the district or school meets with
the parents to determine whether an evaluation will be conducted.
If you do not receive a written response from the school, you
should request a meeting with the Director of Special Services in
There is no "waiting list" for evaluations, even in the
3: IDENTIFICATION OF THE
COLLABORATIVE PLANNING TEAM
reality, there are actually two teams.
Core Team: The members
who are involved directly in the day to day educational program which
may include the parents; the student, when appropriate; peers;
multidisciplinary team; general and special educators; local
administrators; related service providers; and support personnel (i.e.,
Support Team: Consists
of individuals who serve students on a more itinerant basis.
They may be social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists,
neurologists, nurses, vision specialists, audiologists, behavior
of the teams need frequent access to each other for problem solving,
decision-making and support. Planning
strategies need to be flexible to meet the changing needs of the
student. All team members
are encouraged to provide support for each other.
Meetings occur on a regular basis and ongoing communication is
maintained to keep all members updated.
Child Study Team
child study team is a multidisciplinary team of professionals, at
least two of whom conduct the evaluation as follows:
Learning Disabilities Teacher Consultant (LDTC)
Reviews the student's educational history;
* Confers with the student's teacher(s);
* Evaluates and analyzes the student's academic performance and
Confers with the student's teacher(s);
* Assesses the student's current cognitive (thinking and learning),
social, adaptive and emotional status.
School Social Worker
Evaluates the student's adaptive social functioning and emotional
* Evaluates social and cultural factors that influence the student's
learning behavior in the educational setting.
Speech Therapist/Teacher (Children ages 3 to 5 years and
children for whom speech and language delays are a part of their
disability.) In addition, for every referred child, the School Nurse
(Health and Medical):
Reviews and summarizes available health and medical information
regarding the child
* Transmits this summary to the team for the meeting to help in the
consideration of whether there is a need for a health appraisal or
specialized medical evaluation
Study Team will prepare written reports of the results of their
evaluations by specialists (at no cost to the family) may be required,
(i.e., if a child is to be classified "neurologically
impaired" a neurologist's evaluation is required; or for
"emotionally disturbed" a psychiatric evaluation is required).
important to seek out a specialist who is knowledgeable about the
developmental needs of children and experienced in evaluating children
with disabilities with an eye on what is educationally relevant.
are a part of any decision-making team throughout the special education
Autin-Hefner, age 4
“If we don’t model what we teach, we are
teaching something else.”
has been determined by the parent and the Child Study Team that an
evaluation is needed, the child study team notifies the parents in
writing. The team
determines the pupil's communication skills and dominance in English or
other native language. Written
consent must be obtained prior to conducting the initial evaluation and
all subsequent evaluations.
evaluations must be completed in a timely manner. After receiving parental consent for initial evaluation, the
school district has 90 days to complete the evaluation, determine
eligibility and, if the child is eligible, develop and implement the IEP.
child turns three years old before the end of a school year, your school
district may opt to contract services with your Early Intervention
provider for the remainder of the school year including an extended
school year program, if appropriate.
There should be no interruption of services.
have the right to ask for written documentation of the law to verify
what a Child Study Team or district tells them.
Sometimes parents are told that districts don't offer a program
or they just don't "do" certain things in the district.
Request in writing to receive a copy of citations they refer to.
Also, it is wise to bring a copy of the New Jersey Administrative
Code 6A:14 to meetings so that accurate references can be made.
parent withholds consent for evaluation and the school district feels
strongly enough about the need for testing, the school district may
request a due process hearing to try to get authorization from the
Office of Administrative Law to carry out testing without parental
initial evaluation must include at least two of the following areas: a)
health, b) psychological, c) educational and d) social.
tests are typically used during evaluation procedures.
The law requires that where appropriate, or required, the use of
a standardized test(s) shall be:
b. Valid and reliable;
c. Normed on a representative population; and
d. Scored as either standard scores with a standard deviation or norm
referenced scores with a cutoff score.
selected and administered to ensure that when a test is administered to
a child with impaired sensory, manual, or speaking skills, the test
accurately reflect the child's aptitude or achievement level or whatever
other factors the test purports to measure, rather than reflecting the
child's impaired sensory, manual, or speaking skills, except where those
skills are factors which the test purports to measure.
educational evaluator (usually the Learning Disabilities Teacher
Consultant) evaluates your child's achievement and related areas. These tests diagnose difficulties in reading, spelling,
mathematics, and spoken language.
The evaluator looks for an indication of learning disabilities or
for consistently delayed performance, such as a child with reading
scores two or three years below his/her actual grade level.
Scores on tests given by the educational evaluator are reported
in terms of grade equivalents ("G.E.") or mental age
"M.A." of 6.1 means that the child performs at a level
equivalent to a child 6 years and one month old.
The educational tests usually given are: the Wepman-Auditory
Discrimination Test, the Peabody Individual Achievement Test, the
Illinois Test of Linguistic Abilities, the Wide-Range Achievement Test,
the Woodcock, and the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test.
"Intelligence Quotient" test is interpreted as a measure of a
child's potential for academic achievement.
The IQ test compares the child who took the test to an
"average" child of the same age: a full scale of 100 indicates
that the child is exactly "average."
The law prohibits placing students in special education programs
based solely on IQ scores alone. The
IQ test has also been determined to have a disproportionately negative
impact on African-American and other children of color, so its use must
be carefully determined and implemented.
Tests: These tests
measure a child's ability to copy designs, which is interpreted to
indicate whether s/he has problems in visual perception.
tests are used to identify personality disturbances and are used by
psychologists to evaluate a child's personality characteristics such as
mood, attitude, anxiety, self-image, imagination, maturity, and
perception of reality. There
are no right or wrong answers; the child's responses are interpreted
subjectively by the psychologist who administers the test.
from: Securing An Appropriate Education for Children with Disabilities
in New York City: A Guide to Effective Advocacy, by Advocates for
Children of New York, January 1992.
effort to focus more closely on the educational needs of the pupil,
functional assessments have been added as an additional component to the
evaluation process. They
minimum of one structured observation by a Child Study Team
member in other than a testing situation (such as the child's
b. An interview with the pupil's parent(s), and other pertinent
people - these can include the student, parents and family
members, peers, friends, educators, and others
c. An interview with the teacher identifying the student (if
d. A review of the pupil's developmental/educational history,
which can include a collection of student's work, formal and informal
test results, medical history
e. A review of interventions documented by classroom teachers.
functional assessment may include one or more of the following: surveys
and inventories, analysis of work samples, trial teaching, self-report,
criterion-referenced tests, curriculum-based assessment, informal rating
scales, and other appropriate tools.
functional assessment is another tool for assessing the skills and needs
of students that primarily consists of interviews and observation.
An IEP should include goals and objectives that reflect
functional and chronological age appropriate activities across a variety
of integrated environments. Always
include a discussion of the student's strengths (see Positive Student
Profile in Appendix C) when discussing assessment results.
AND ADVOCACY TIPS IN THE EVALUATION CYCLE
out who are the members of your Child Study Team. Identify the professional who serves as your case manager.
Provide information about your family that is educationally
relevant (some personal matters have no bearing upon the child's
Network with other parents, especially those in your community.
have a right to receive a copy of all of the test and assessment
results. Be sure to request
copies of these results prior to IEP meetings to allow time to read and
understand them. Make sure
they accurately reflect your child's strengths and needs; correct any
inaccuracy or discrepancy [N.J.A.C. 6A:14-2.9].
Have a copy of your child's entire pupil record and ensure that
every document is accurate, signed and dated.
testing and evaluation must be completed by a multidisciplinary team
using two or more evaluation procedures [N.J.A.C. 6A:14-2.5(a)].
You can and should review testing procedures and can ask for
modification of, revision of, or additional procedures.
A minimum of one structured observation by a child study team
member in an environment the child is comfortable in is required.
Monitor the evaluation process. Attend
all scheduled evaluations with your child, particularly younger
children. Children are
inherently different. Settings
for the testing environment should be applicable to that child's
learning style. Be sure
that the method of testing is conducive to your child's needs, i.e.,
psychological tests should be performed in a small room with no
distractions for a child with attention deficit disorder.
Assessments drive the outcome of the curriculum and if only pen and
pencil tests are used, they may not accurately reflect the true ability
of the child. Functional
assessments are new ways of evaluating students and are one of the
components required as part of the evaluation process.
Observing the child in real environments in and out of school
will reflect his/her true abilities.
Assessments also drive the day-to-day classroom instruction.
consent for the initial evaluation is requested, the district must
provide parents with a copy of their Procedural Safeguards which are
found in Subchapter 2 of N.J.A.C. 6A:14.
These are rights and protections for parents, pupils and school
THEORY OF MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCES
should be aware that there are new views of how to assess intelligence,
which do not rely solely on IQ scores.
Traditionally, intelligence has been conceptualized as a single
overall measurement of cognitive processing that changes very little
with age and experience. A
newer theory by Howard Gardner redefines intelligence as the ability to
solve a problem or to create a product in a way that is considered
useful in one or more cultural settings.
Instead of accepting the notion of intelligence as a single
entity, no matter how simple or complicated, Gardner points to the
existence of several separate "families of abilities."
According to his theory, intelligence is not adequately captured
by the ability to answer items on standardized tests.
Instead, the educational evaluation must encompass a broader
range of abilities.
Appendix B for more information on Multiple Intelligences, including
tests and strategies. Use
the information you gather about your child when completing their
Positive Student Profile, found in Appendix C.
CONSIDERATIONS WHEN REQUESTING INDEPENDENT EVALUATION
a right to ask for an independent evaluation if there is a disagreement
with the evaluation provided by your district.
This should be provided at no cost to you. This testing may involve either a new set of all child study
team evaluations or just one or two areas of testing. The district must either agree to pay in a timely manner or
request a due process hearing to prove their evaluation is appropriate
(within 20 calendar days).
second opinion can often be helpful when there is disagreement with the
evaluation(s) provided by your district.
Disagreements may be due to inaccurate, inappropriate or
incomplete information. An
independent evaluation can provide a positive step in resolving
conflicts at an early stage. There
is a formal procedure outlined in N.J.A.C. 6A:14 for parents who want an
independent evaluation paid for by the district.
Following are some important steps:
1. Send a
written request specifying your desire for an independent evaluation to
your director of special services by certified mail or hand deliver and
obtain a receipt. Request
either a partial or full child study team evaluation or specify
additional evaluations provided by a specialist.
Make a copy of your request for your own records.
In your letter, request information about where to obtain an
independent evaluation. SPAN
also has a list of state approved clinics and agencies.
You do not need to indicate why you want an independent
you make an appointment for a second opinion, be sure you have received
written verification of the district's plan to pay.
Remember that any independent evaluation submitted to the district's
child study team must be considered in making decisions regarding
special education and/or related services.
5: DETERMINATION OF
ELIGIBILITY FOR SERVICES
initial evaluation is completed, a meeting is held including the child
study team and the parents. The
purpose of the meeting is to determine whether the pupil is eligible for
special education and related services.
or not a pupil is eligible for special education and related services,
the parent(s) and the referring staff member must be given a written
summary, signed by the child study team, of all decisions and
recommendations. If your
child is determined to be not eligible for special education services,
you can appeal this decision.
TIPS REGARDING ELIGIBILITY
Usually the eligibility meeting leads directly into the IEP
meeting, so prepare yourself for participation in the development of the
IEP. If you feel you need
more time to discuss the IEP you can request another meeting.
We recommend strongly that once your child is determined
"eligible" that you postpone discussion of the classification
until your child's needs, annual goals and objectives, and appropriate
services are discussed. This
avoids the problem of classifying a child, then having that
classification drive the planning process.
Every child is entitled to have a unique program developed to
address his/her specific learning abilities and needs.
team determines, after the evaluation cycle, that your child is not
eligible to receive special education services the process ends here,
unless you do not agree. The
team is responsible for determining if the student is eligible to
receive services through Section 504 or referring you to the Section 504
team. Read Chapter 2 on
Section 504 for further information.
6: IDENTIFICATION OF THE
STUDENT'S STRENGTHS, NEEDS AND
often identify and focus on a student's deficits, and fail to look at
the total child. All
children possess strengths and gifts that need to be identified as well.
Parents can play an important role in ensuring that their
valuable knowledge and understanding of their child is reflected.
information on Multiple Intelligences in Appendix B and fill out
Positive Student Profile and Goals-At-A-Glance in Appendix C in
preparation for this step.
7: DEVELOPMENT OF GOALS AND
children, we need to think about why we choose specific goals.
When considering goals and objectives that reflect your child's
individual needs and abilities, keep in mind the following:
New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards:
All children with disabilities must have goals and objectives
that are tied to the CCCS, the information that all children are
supposed to learn.
Student preference: Teach the student responsible decision-making and
provide opportunities to make choices every day - ranging from what to
wear to how to use leisure time. Respect
your child's interests and preferences.
preference: We know our
children well. When
developing goals our values and visions should be respected.
Chronological age appropriate: Jim
and Paul are 13 years old. The
skill to be learned is stacking. Jim
stacks dishes as he empties the dishwasher, a chronologically
age-appropriate activity, as contrasted with Paul who stacks nesting
cups, not chronologically age-appropriate.
Applying skills in new places: Often
skills learned in one setting are not applied to others.
If a child learns to say, "Milk, please" in speech
class, but does not use this skill in the cafeteria, then the goal will
not be achieved.
Physical enhancement: Consider any activities that maximize physical
Contact: Select a skill
that will increase appropriate social interactions.
For example, a child learns to shake hands when s/he meets
Expanding horizons / Increasing the number of environments:
Look at the contrast between a child who is picked up at home by
mini-bus, goes to school, and as soon as school ends is delivered
directly home versus the child who learns about public transportation
and a set of socialization skills through participation in after school
programs that enable him/her to attend a movie, go to church, or join a
cub scout troop.
skills required for daily living (i.e., learning to load a dishwasher
instead of stacking blocks).
these dimensions as guides, we can work toward improving the quality of
life of students with disabilities.
We can help them to acquire useful and productive skills to
enhance independence and work potential, and also to enlarge their
circle of friends and expand their opportunities for community
from: Dr. Lou Brown et al, The "Why Question" in Education
Programs for Students Who Are Severely Intellectually Disabled,
University of Wisconsin under a U.S. Department of Education, Office of
Special Education, Division of Innovation and Development Grant, 1985.
“There is something that is much more scarce, something
finer far, something rarer than ability.
It is the ability to recognize ability.”
- E. Hubbard
For Teaching Functional Skills
often results when an attempt is made to translate test items failed at
particular levels or mental ages into actual tasks to be taught.
These evaluation tools were never intended to be used in this
manner, and the result is that students end up spending most of their
school day being taught skills that are totally artificial and/or
extremely age-inappropriate. Given
the time it takes students with moderate to severe mental disabilities
to acquire even functional skills, there is no justification for
devoting instruction to teaching items selected from a
developmentally-based hierarchy of supposed "pre-requisite"
skills. A scenario of the
outcome for one such student is shown below.
Older Brother Daryl
years old, Trainable Mentally Retarded.
Been in school 12 years.
Never has been served in any setting other than
Had many years of “individualized instruction.”
Learned to do lots of things!
can now do lots of things he couldn’t do before!
He can put 100 pegs in a board in less than ten minutes
while in his seat with 95% accuracy.
But he can’t put quarters in a vending machine.
can do a 12-piece Big
Bird puzzle with 100%
accuracy and color the Easter
Bunny and stay in the lines!
He prefers music, but was never taught how to use a radio
or cassette player.
can fold primary paper in halves and even quarters.
But he can’t fold his clothes.
can sort blocks by color, up to 10 different colors!
But he can’t sort clothes for washing.
can roll Play-Dough into wonderful clay snakes!
But he can’t roll bread dough and cut out biscuits.
can string beads in alternating colors and make a pattern on a
But he can’t lace his shoes.
can sing the ABC’s and tell me the names of all the letters of
the alphabet when presented on a card in upper case with 80%
But he can’t tell the men’s room from the ladies’
room at McDonald’s.
can be told it’s cloudy/rainy and take a black felt cloud and
put it on an enlarged calendar (with assistance).
But he still goes out in the rain without a raincoat or
can identify with 100% accuracy 100 different Peabody Picture
Cards by pointing!
But he can’t order a hamburger by gesturing.
can walk a balance beam front-wards, sideways, and backwards!
But he can’t walk up the steps or bleachers unassisted
in the gym to go to a basketball game.
can count to 100 by rote memory!
But, he doesn’t know how many dollars to pay the
waitress for a $2.59 McDonald’s coupon special.
can put the cube in the box, beside the box, behind the box.
But he can’t find the trash bin in a McDonald’s and
empty his trash in it.
can sit in a circle with appropriate behavior and sing songs and
play “Duck, Duck, Goose.”
But nobody else in his neighborhood his age seems to want
to do that.
guess he’s just not ready yet.
from December 1987 issue of the TASH Newsletter, by Preston Lewis.
FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF FUNCTIONAL GOALS IN THE IEP
functional assessment is an important tool for assessing the skill
repertoire and needs of students that primarily consists of interviews
and observation. Following
an assessment, an IEP should be developed which includes goals and
objectives that reflect functional and chronological age appropriate
activities across a variety of integrated environments.
Always include a discussion of the student's strengths (see
Positive Student Profile in Appendix C) when discussing assessment
assessment process has been completed, a plan is written that consists
of goals and objectives that will have desired outcomes for the student
and family. The following
criteria need to be considered in setting priorities across skill areas:
Are the goals FUNCTIONAL for the student?
the goals been developed around the desires of the student?
family needs have been considered when determining these goals?
- Are the
goals being considered chronologically age appropriate?
these required across a variety of different environments?
these goals be used often?
- What is
the student's present level of performance of these goals?
someone have to do it (perform the activity) for the student?
Will the goals result in more opportunities for interaction with
goals does the society value?
are non-disabled peers being taught?
are non-disabled peers doing?
goals would reduce non-disabled/disabled discrepancy (social
significance of goal)?
goals would lead to less restrictive alternatives?
goals would promote independence?
What are the GOAL characteristics?
are the skills involved in this goal?
are the skills needed and enhanced by this goal?
skills can be integrated across goals?
goals can be recombined into opportunities for more complex skills?
goals will meet the largest variety of the student's needs?
goals will provide opportunities for practice (in appropriate
How will the goals be taught?
goals will make maximal use of the student's learning strength and
- What is
the student's learning rate?
well is the student able to tolerate change, confusion, chaos, etc.?
well is the student able to generalize?
well is the student able to respond to natural and instructional cues
does the student have difficulty in a given sequence or activity?
patterns emerge across environments, materials, cues, persons, etc.,
when the student has difficulty?
- Is the
student's communication understood across persons and environments?
Where should the goals be taught?
- Are the
environments chronologically age appropriate?
- Are the
environments accessible (i.e., community) for teaching during school
- Are the
environments preferred by the student?
- Are the
environments frequently used by the student, non-disabled peers, and his
there opportunities to teach many goals in these environments?
there a high probability that the student will acquire the goals needed
to function in these environments?
- Are the
environments appropriate for the student now (currently) and in the
- Are the
environments safe for the student and/or will the student likely acquire
the safety skills necessary to participate in the goals within the
meetings with the student, parents, family members, educators, child
study team, and other pertinent and interested parties, discussion must
be centered around prioritizing goals established as a result of
completed assessments. In
developing the goals, the question to continually ask is, "Are
these goals and activities relevant beyond the student's school
from Falvey, M.A. Community Based Curriculum: Instructional Strategies
for Students with Severe Handicaps, Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes
Publishing Co. (1989)
Cohen, age 7
are some important areas for discussion.
Some of these may be incorporated as goals or activities in the
IEP. Not all items will be
relevant to all students and some students may have needs not reflected
Roles in Implementing the Plan: Parents
should be given sufficient notice to attend meetings.
Home/School Communication: A
communication notebook may be used between the parent and the teacher(s).
Physical Education: Are
accommodations needed in gym or is adaptive physical education needed?
Enrichment Classes and/or Electives:
Can all students enroll in elective courses?
Extracurricular and Leisure Activities:
Are there after-school activities that may be appropriate?
Skills: Are there
opportunities for interaction with peers in non-academic environments?
Behavioral Skills: Will a
positive behavior plan be necessary?
Vocational Skills: Does the
student have an opportunity for job sampling?
Counseling: Would the
student benefit from counseling by the school psychologist or guidance
Medication: Does the school
nurse need to administer medication during the day?
Safety: Have provisions
been made for students in wheelchairs?
Trips: Will medication need
to be administered on the trip? If
so, who will be responsible for this?
(NOT the parent!)
Transportation: Will a
special bus be necessary? Is
a child restraint system required?
Is an aide needed on the bus for safety/health issues?
Accessibility: Is the
entire building accessible?
IDEA requires that children with disabilities be provided the
opportunity to participate in all aspects of the school's program,
including non-academic and extra-curricular activities, with supports
and accommodations if needed.
dreams and aspirations we find our opportunities.”
-Sue Atchley Ebaugh
8: IDENTIFICATION OF
SUPPORTS AND SERVICES
team has determined the goals and objectives, they are ready to make
recommendations concerning services, supports, accommodations and
each classroom option available and determine which is appropriate.
Choices to be considered should be in the least restrictive
environment and age-appropriate. Other factors to consider are location, class size,
instructional strategies, teaching styles, and materials used.
students who are already in a general education classroom and it is
determined that it is still the least restrictive environment, then the
supports and services that are necessary need to be determined.
placement has been determined the next important step is developing a
schedule of activities which describe in detail: needed adaptations,
materials, location of services, people responsible for providing those
services, and any other resources needed.
(See IEP Goal/Activity Matrix and Classroom Activity Analysis
Worksheet in Appendix C.)
which activities may be needed to prepare for the student's arrival to
the new placement (i.e., a visit to the new classroom by the student).
In addition, any special instructions that may be needed to
prepare the student for placement should begin (i.e., a student going
into Junior High will need to know how to operate a locker).
Advance preparation should be made to acquire the resources that
have been determined to be necessary (i.e., hiring an instructional
aide, or developing a peer tutoring system).
If technical assistance is needed the team must decide who will
provide it, exactly how it will be implemented and how often it will be
should develop a system for parent/teacher communication.
Determine who will be responsible for communication (i.e.,
teacher, instructional aide, case manager) to be the primary contact
person. Parents' input
should be encouraged and seriously considered throughout the planning
process. Parents should
never be denied their rights to have high expectations for their son or
should be determined after IEP goals and services have been designed.
We suggest, however, that parents visit all appropriate programs
as soon as possible after evaluations have been completed.
These are described in subchapter 4 of N.J.A.C. 6A:14.
Use the Classroom Observation Checklist in Appendix E to guide
your assessment of each program you visit.
who believe in students' abilities actually create an atmosphere in
which it becomes easier to succeed."
program options reflect new changes in the New Jersey Administrative
Code. A full continuum of
alternative placements shall be available to meet the needs of pupils
with disabilities for special education and/or related services.
These options include the following:
Regular class with supplementary aids and services including, but not
limited to, the following:
Curricular or instructional modifications or specialized instructional
Assistive technology devices and services as defined in N.J.A.C.
Teacher aides; and
special class program in the student's local school district;
special education program in another local school district;
special education program in a vocational and technical school;
special education program in the following settings:
county special services school district;
educational services commission; and
7. A New
Jersey approved private school for the disabled or an out-of-state
school for the disabled in the continental United States approved by the
department of education in the state where the school is located;
program operated by a department of New Jersey State government;
Community rehabilitation programs;
Programs in hospitals, convalescent centers or other medical
Individual instruction at home or in other appropriate facilities, with
the prior written approval of the Department of Education through its
accredited nonpublic school which is not specifically approved for the
education of students with disabilities according to N.J.A.C. 6A:14-6.5;
Instruction in other appropriate settings according to N.J.A.C.
early intervention program (which is under contract with the Department
of Health and Senior Services) in which the child has been enrolled for
the balance of the school year in which the child turns age three.
Education is a service, not a place.”
"resource room" has been amended to "resource
center" to reflect the more flexible program options now available.
Resource center programs offer individual and small group
instruction. Pupils may
receive either support or replacement resource center instruction in
either in a general education classroom or a separate room. The resource center teacher shall hold certification as
"teacher of the handicapped."
amount of time a pupil may receive resource center instruction has been
expanded to include up to the pupil's entire day for replacement or
support instruction in the general education classroom, and up to
one-half of the pupil's instructional day in a separate resource center.
This is a
program of instruction where the general and special education teachers
are collaboratively involved in planning and implementing special
strategies, techniques, methods, and materials to address learning
problems of pupils with educational disabilities engaged in the general
education classroom lesson. Instructional
responsibility for the pupil shall be shared between the general
education class teacher(s) and the resource center teacher as described
in the pupil's IEP. Support
instruction provided in the pupil's general education class shall be at
the same time and in the same activities as the rest of the class.
Students who receive in-class support are classified and enrolled
on a general education class register.
intent of in-class replacement service is such that the subject being
taught which is being replaced should be appropriate to the child's
needs but also be aligned and related to the subject being taught in the
general education classroom. A
pupil receiving in-class instruction shall be included in activities
such as group discussion, special projects, field trips, and other
regular class activities as deemed appropriate in the pupil's IEP.
expectations yield only limited results.”
- Susan Laurson Willig
NJ State Special Education Code Class Types And Sizes
NJ State Special
Education Code Class Types and Sizes
||7 - 9
||10 - 12
||7 - 9
||7 - 9
||7 - 9
||10 - 12
Support/ Replacement In-Class
applicable in HS
Teaching In-Class Resource Program
(full-time general and special educators)
of 8 students receiving resource instruction
applicable in HS
||9 - 12
||9 - 12
||4 - 6
||7 - 9 (2
||10 - 12
||10 - 12
Retarded - educable
||13 - 16
||13 - 16
Retarded - trainable
||11 - 13
||11 - 13
Retarded - day training eligible
||4 - 6;
7 - 9 with 2 aides
||4 - 6;
7 - 9 with 2 aides
handicapped; Neurologically or perceptually impaired
||11 - 16
||11 - 16
||9 - 12
||9 - 12
||9 - 12
||9 - 12
9 - 12 with 2 aides
||9 - 12
||9 - 12
Extended School Year Services
classified in New Jersey may be entitled to a school program that
extends beyond the usual school year.
In order to be eligible for such a program, each child's
individual educational needs must be considered.
For a child to receive summer schooling, there must be evidence
that the child regresses significantly over the vacation break and that
it takes a long time for the child to recoup (relearn) this loss of
skills. If you want to
demonstrate that your child needs an extended school year program, ask
your child's teacher(s) and therapist(s) to keep careful records of what
happens during a vacation period (any school holiday).
In addition, keep your own records.
If you can demonstrate a pattern of significant loss following
vacation periods, you can begin to justify the need for a summer program
to your child study team. As
you can see, extended school year must be something you begin to prepare
for and discuss with the child study team and school personnel early in
the school year. Do not put
off planning for extended school year until May or June.
determining whether extended school year programming is necessary for a
child, remember that most students can sustain short breaks without
significant losses, and may only have a regression/ recoupment problem
when their program is interrupted for a long period of time.
This student may require a year-round continuous program of
special education and/or related services designed to maintain his/her
level in those skill and behavior areas identified as crucial, if the
student is to reach his/her educational goals.
from PIC REPORT, January 1989, Parent Information Center, Concord, NH
Appendix G for the NJ Department of Education Office of Special
Education Programs (OSEP) Policy Paper on Extended School Year Services.
Restrictive Environment Preschool Placements
case of a preschooler with disabilities, there may be no comparable
option because the district does not operate a preschool program for
nondisabled children. Therefore,
it is important to note that for preschoolers with disabilities,
placement in a regular preschool program in another district or in a
privately operated program in the local community is a less restrictive
placement option than the district's self-contained preschool disabled
promote preschool placement in the least restrictive environment, a
provision was added to the special education code.
According to N.J.A.C. 6A:14-4.3(c), preschoolers with
disabilities may be placed in a private early childhood program, if
appropriate, to provide the opportunity for education and interaction
with nondisabled preschoolers. The
program must be licensed or approved by a governmental agency; the
program must be nonsectarian. The
district must assure that the student's IEP can be implemented and any
special education or related services must be provided by appropriately
certified and/or licensed professionals.
Paraprofessionals may be used to provide services, when
appropriate, in accordance with N.J.A.C. 6A:14-3.9(a)4 or N.J.A.C.
discussion regarding placement for all preschool age students with
disabilities must begin with consideration of a regular classroom
program with supplementary aids and services.
When the IEP team determines that a regular class placement is
needed to provide a free, appropriate public education, all efforts must
be taken to locate appropriate regular classroom settings where the
student's IEP can be implemented.
are "Related Services"?
"related services" refers to a variety of supportive
educational services that may be provided to students with a disability
as part of their special education program.
Providing appropriate related services is a very important part
of a "free appropriate public education."
A full range of services is available to students who are
classified, at no cost to their parents, based on educational need.
It is important to note that the IEP should address the full
educational performance of a student, including both academic and
non-academic (daily life activities, mobility, etc.) areas.
eligibility for related services determined?
any child could "benefit" from speech and language therapy or
from the services of a social worker.
The key to whether or not a child is considered eligible for a
related service is found in IDEA. Schools
must provide those related services that "are required to assist a
child with a disability to benefit from special education." In other words, the related service must be necessary in
order for the child to learn and participate in his or her school
program. No limit can be
put on the number of related services a child receives, provided they
are all necessary. Likewise,
the amount of time the service is offered must be sufficient for the
child to get the help he or she needs.
services are listed in the IEP, including the amount of time per week
the child will receive each service and the expected length of time the
service will be required. The
types of related services your child may receive are determined by
his/her specific educational needs and are recommended by the IEP Team,
which includes the parent, based on their evaluation of your child.
A district may not have a policy or practice that every child who
needs a particular related service gets it in a predetermined group size
for a predetermined number of minutes and sessions each week.
This must be determined individually.
Appendix G for the NJ Department of Education Office of Special
Education Programs (OSEP) Policy Paper on Related Services.
must be for learning today, tomorrow, and to enrich life. And the mission of enriching life allows us to teach the
whole child - and make learning for today and
are the basic types of related services?
related services are listed in IDEA, but other services may be offered
if they are required for the child to benefit from his or her special
and diagnosing children with hearing loss, and determining what measures
need to be taken to help (such as hearing aids, auditory training,
consulting with parents and teachers, etc.).
Counseling Services: Services
provided by qualified personnel such as social workers, psychologists
and guidance counselors to help a student with problems in school or in
planning for the future.
Early Identification: Each
special education agency must implement a formal plan to find children
with disabilities as early as possible, usually through a pre-school
Medical Services: Services
provided by a physician to determine the nature of the child's
disability and its implications for his or her special education
Occupational Therapy: Services
to help children develop fine motor coordination and daily living skills
necessary to their success in school and the community.
Physical Therapy: Services
to help with the child's gross/total body movements, muscle tone and
coordination and balance and equilibrium as he or she progresses through
the developmental sequence.
Parent Counseling and Training:
Services to help parents understand their child's special needs
and what they can expect of him in relation to normal child development.
Psychological Services: Services
which include conducting assessments, making interpretations and
recommendations based on those assessments, working with students
individually or in small groups, and providing consultation to teachers,
other school personnel, and parents.
that include evaluating the student's functioning during his or her
leisure time and providing therapeutic recreation programs either in
school or through community agencies.
School Health Services: Services
provided by the School Nurse which may include vision and hearing
screenings and maintenance of current medical records on all students.
Social Work Services: Services
that help teachers and parents to locate appropriate community resources
and to implement effective educational programs for students.
Speech Pathology: Services
concerned with identification and diagnosis of students with speech and
language difficulties and with providing therapy to the student and
consultation to school personnel to remediate those difficulties.
which include providing travel from home to school including any
specialized equipment necessary to transport each child safely (such as
adapted buses, lifts, and ramps).
Assistive Technology: Any
devices or services necessary for a child to benefit from special
education and related services, or to enable the child to be educated in
the least restrictive environment.
Travel Training: Training
people with disabilities to use public transportation safely and
independently given the issues that arise with specific disabilities
such as physical, cognitive, and visual impairments.
from S. Lataen and J. Nye, Parents as Effective Partners, LaGrange Area
Department of Special Education, LaGrange, IL, 1986.
9: IDENTIFICATION OF LEAST
1975, under the Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), your
child has a right to be educated in the "Least Restrictive
Environment" (LRE). This
means your child with a disability has a right to be educated:
- In a
general education classroom with appropriate supports;
- In the
school your child would attend if he or she did not have a disability;
- In a
school as close to your home as possible.
following process is the list of steps you can follow at the IEP meeting
to determine whether the least restrictive environment criteria have
been met for your child.
child's educational goals and objectives been developed prior to the
placement recommendation? Are
the goals clearly stated, and are the objectives measurable?
YES: Proceed to the
NO: This is a
violation of IDEA. The
state's LRE policy Memorandum notes: "An appropriate decision
making sequence begins with the question of what are the pupils
educational needs" (NJ LRE Policy Memorandum, p.3).
Inform team members of this, and state that it is unacceptable,
and that you expect clear and measurable goals and objectives for your
child before any decision of placement.
child's educational needs (as expressed in the evaluation) been
accurately addressed by the proposed educational goals and objectives?
YES: Proceed to the
NO: This is a
violation of IDEA. "There
should be a direct relationship between the present levels of
educational performance and the other components of the IEP."
(Question 36, IDEA Appendix C). Clarify
special education, related services, and assistive technology devices or
services my child needs been determined prior to the placement
YES: Proceed to the
NO: This is a
violation of IDEA. Identify
the special education, related services, and assistive technology
devices or services your child needs. Make sure there is a "direct relationship between the
present levels of educational performance... and the specific education
and related services to be provided." (Question 36, IDEA Appendix
general education class with appropriate supports been examined as the
first possible placement option? Has
it been examined not as it currently exists, but as it might be
YES: Proceed to the
NO: This is a
violation of IDEA. "Each
placement option is examined not only as it currently exists, but as it
might be modified. Regular
class placement is examined as the first option... If the school has given no serious consideration to placing
the child in the regular classroom with supplementary aides and services
and modifying the regular program to accommodate the child, then the
least restrictive environment provision of the IDEA has most likely been
violated" (NJ Policy Memorandum, p.3).
possible services and supports, such as speech, occupational, physical,
recreational therapies, curricular or instructional modifications,
environmental accommodations, training for teachers, or any other
supports deemed beneficial been considered to meet the individual needs
of my child in the general education classroom?
education classroom placement must be available as an option.
Proceed to the next step!
NO: This is a
violation of IDEA. Look at
all aids and services that exist that can provide support.
Some support, such as assisted technology, teacher aides, or
specialized instructional strategies, are listed in N.J.A.C. 6A:14.
In-district resources are not the only resources to be
considered. Plan for your
child to be placed in the general education classroom with whatever
supports the team can envision to enable the student to succeed.
benefits of the general education class placement, in comparison to a
special class, been examined (those to both my child with a disability
as well as to the non-disabled children)?
education classroom placement must be available as an option.
Proceed to the next step!
NO: This is a
violation of IDEA. "...the
appropriateness of placement in the regular classroom is not dependent
on the pupil's ability to learn the same things that other students
learn in the regular classroom. The
benefit from social interaction of the pupil with non-disabled peers is
a legitimate benefit that can be derived from placement in the regular
classroom... Two examples
of the many beneficial social and academic effects that may accrue to a
pupil with disabilities include positive peer models and high
expectations for achievement. The
potentially beneficial effects on the other children in the class are
fostered as they learn to understand and accept the individual
differences of their peers" (NJ LRE Policy Memorandum, p.4).
there is a clear-cut reason why my child's needs cannot be met in the
general education classroom with all of the previous considerations
taken into account, then my child should be placed in the general
education class with supports. Are
the supports being provided? Are
there opportunities for interactions with children without disabilities?
YES: Continue to
monitor the program for increased opportunities, especially considering
supports that may help increase interaction.
NO: This is a
violation of IDEA. Examination
of all areas of the daily school environment should be made to identify
opportunities for academic and non-academic interactions, and written
into the IEP. (NJ LRE Policy Memorandum, p.4).
by the New Jersey Coalition for Inclusive Education, P.O. Box 8226,
Turnersville, NJ 08012.
10: ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA
classification of students is required by law and should be based on the
evaluations of the Child Study Team, the parents and other specialists.
Keep in mind that appropriate services and an appropriate
placement are far more important than the label attached!
and supports to be provided to a child are in no way restricted
according to the classification of the child, i.e., a child who is
classified as autistic would not automatically be eligible for more
services than a child classified perceptually impaired.
The supports and services to be provided are decided upon the
needs of each individual child, not the classification.
Jersey State Department of Education Office of Special Education
OF ELIGIBILITY CATEGORIES
new code, students are classified as eligible for special education and
related services if they meet eligibility criteria for one of the
disabilities listed below and defined on the following pages. Please note the changes in terminology.
Mild cognitive impairment
Moderate cognitive impairment
Severe cognitive impairment
Eligible for day training
Jersey State Department of Education Office of Special Education
OF ELIGIBILITY CATEGORIES
(AUT): "Autistic" means a pervasive developmental disability
that significantly impacts verbal and nonverbal communication and social
interaction that adversely affects the student's educational
performance. Onset is
generally evident before age three. Other characteristics often associated with autism are
engagement in repetitive activities and stereotyped movements,
resistance to environmental change or change in daily routine, unusual
responses to sensory experiences and lack of responsiveness to others.
The term does not apply if the student's adverse educational
performance is due to emotional disturbance as defined below.
An assessment by a certified speech-language specialist and an
assessment by a physician trained in neurodevelopmental assessment are
disabilities: Deaf-blindness" means concomitant hearing and visual
impairments, the combination of which causes such severe communication
and other developmental and educational problems that they cannot be
accommodated in special education programs solely for students with
deafness or students with blindness.
DISTURBANCE (ED): "Emotionally
disturbed" means a condition exhibiting one or more of the
following characteristics over a long period of time and to a marked
degree that adversely affects a student's educational performance due
inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory or
inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships
with peers and teachers;
Inappropriate types of behaviors or feelings under normal circumstances;
general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression; or
tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal
or school problems.
IMPAIRMENTS (HI): "Auditorily
impaired" corresponds to "auditorily handicapped" and
further corresponds to the federal eligibility categories of deafness or
hearing impairment. "Auditorily
impaired" means an inability to hear within normal limits due to
physical impairment or dysfunction of auditory mechanisms characterized
by "deafness" or "hearing impairment" defined below.
An audiological evaluation by a specialist qualified in the field
of audiology and a speech and language evaluation by a certified
speech-language specialist are required.
auditory impairment is so severe that the student is impaired in
processing linguistic information through hearing, with or without
amplification and the student's educational performance is adversely
impairment in hearing, whether permanent or fluctuating, which adversely
affects the student's educational performance.
DISABILITIES (MD): "Multiply
disabled" (excluding deaf-blindness) corresponds to "multiply
handicapped" and means the presence of two or more educationally
disabling conditions. Eligibility
for speech-language services as defined in this section shall not be one
of the disabling conditions for classification based on the definition
of "multiply disabled." "Multiply
disabled" is characterized as concomitant impairments, the
combination of which causes such severe educational problems that
programs designed for the separate disabling conditions will not meet
the student's educational needs.
RETARDATION (MR): "Cognitively
impaired" corresponds to "mentally retarded" and means a
disability that is characterized by significantly below average general
cognitive functioning existing concurrently with deficits in adaptive
behavior; manifested during the developmental period that adversely
affects a student's educational performance and is characterized by one
of the following:
COGNITIVE IMPAIRMENT: "Mild
cognitive impairment" corresponds to "educable" and means
levels of cognitive development and adaptive behavior in home, school
and community settings that are mildly below age expectations with
respect to all of the following:
quality and rate of learning;
use of symbols for interpretation of information and solution of
Performance on an individually administered test of intelligence that
falls within a range of two to three standard deviations below the mean.
MODERATE COGNITIVE IMPAIRMENT: "Moderate cognitive impairment" corresponds to
"trainable" and means a level of cognitive development and
adaptive behavior that is moderately below age expectations with respect
to the following:
ability to use symbols in the solution of problems of low complexity;
ability to function socially without direct and close supervision in
home, school and community settings; and
Performance on an individually administered test of intelligence that
falls three standard deviations or more below the mean.
COGNITIVE IMPAIRMENT: "Severe
cognitive impairment" corresponds to "eligible for day
training" and means a level functioning severely below age
expectations whereby in a consistent basis the student is incapable of
giving evidence of understanding and responding in a positive manner to
simple directions expressed in the child's primary mode of communication
and cannot in some manner express basic wants and needs.
HEALTH IMPAIRMENTS (OHI):
health impaired" corresponds to "chronically ill" and
means a disability characterized by having limited strength, vitality or
alertness, due to chronic or acute health problems, such as a heart
condition, tuberculosis, rheumatic fever, nephritis, asthma, sickle cell
anemia, hemophilia, epilepsy, lead poisoning, leukemia, diabetes or any
other medical condition, such Tourette syndrome, that adversely affects
a student's educational performance.
A medical assessment documenting the health problem is required.
IMPAIRMENTS (OI): "Orthopedically
impaired" corresponds to "orthopedically handicapped"
and means a disability characterized by a severe orthopedic impairment
that adversely affects the student's educational performance.
The term includes malformation, malfunction or loss of bones,
muscle or tissue. A medical
assessment documenting the orthopedic condition is required.
DISABLED (PRE): "Preschool
disabled" corresponds to "preschool handicapped" and
means an identified disabling condition and/or a measurable
developmental impairment which occurs in children between the ages of 3
and 5 years and require special education and related services.
The federal definition includes all pupils age 3 to 5 who are
eligible for special education and related services.
LEARNING DISABILITIES (SLD):
learning disability" corresponds to "perceptually
impaired" and means a disorder in one or more of the basic
psychological processes involved in understanding or using language,
spoken or written, that may manifest itself in an imperfect ability to
listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or do mathematical
1. It is
characterized by a severe discrepancy between the student's current
achievement and intellectual ability in one or more of the following
Mathematical reasoning; and
term does not apply to students who have learning problems that are
primarily the result of visual, hearing, or motor disabilities, general
cognitive deficits, emotional disturbance or environmental, cultural or
district shall adopt procedures that utilize a statistical formula and
criteria for determining severe discrepancy.
Evaluation shall include assessment of current academic
achievement and intellectual ability.
IMPAIRMENTS: Divided into
two categories as follows:
IMPAIRED (LI): "Language
impaired" corresponds to "communication handicapped" and
means a language disorder in the areas of morphology, syntax, semantics
and/or pragmatics/discourse that adversely affects a student's
educational performance and is not due primarily to an auditory
impairment. The problem shall be demonstrated through functional
assessment of language in other than a testing situation and performance
below 1.5 standard deviations, or the 10th percentile on at least two
standardized oral language tests, where such tests are appropriate. When the area of suspected disability is language, an
evaluation by a certified speech-language specialist is required.
The speech-language specialist shall be considered a child study
(SP): A speech disorder in
articulation, phonology, fluency, voice, or any combination, unrelated
to dialect, cultural differences or the influence of a foreign language,
which adversely affects a student's educational performance; and/or a
language disorder that meets the criteria for language impaired and the
student requires speech-language services only.
BRAIN INJURY (TBI): "Traumatic
brain injury" corresponds to "neurologically impaired"
and means an acquired injury to the brain caused by an external physical
force or insult to the brain, resulting in total or partial functional
disability or psychosocial impairment, or both.
The term applies to open or closed head injuries resulting in
impairments in one or more areas, such as cognition; language; memory;
attention; reasoning; abstract thinking; judgment; problem-solving;
sensory, perceptual and motor abilities; psychosocial behavior; physical
functions; information-processing; and speech.
IMPAIRMENTS (VI): "Visually
impaired" corresponds to "visually handicapped" and means
an impairment in vision that, even with correction, adversely affects
the student's educational performance.
The term includes both partial sight and blindness. An assessment by a specialist qualified to determine visual
disability is required. Students
with visual impairments shall be reported to the Commission for the
Blind and Visually Impaired.
PROVISION OF ONGOING SUPPORT AND MONITORING
does not stop when the student is placed.
The team is an ongoing resource to be used throughout the school
year. A schedule of follow
up meetings should be determined; the number may depend on the need for
it, allowing for "emergency" meetings scheduled when required.
Monitoring should be done to observe how the existing program is
going and to determine if existing supports are adequate, or which need
to be altered, added, or eliminated.
Your Child's IEP
IEP meeting and the IEP has been developed and implemented, your
involvement continues to be important.
Keeping track of your child's individual program, making sure
that it is working as planned and agreed upon is a team effort, with
parents as equal partners. The
IEP is a "living" document that can always be revised as
necessary. Parents need to
monitor its growth and development.
View monitoring also as your providing follow-along support.
responsibilities are designated in the IEP.
Though Child Study Team members and teacher(s) have a mandate to
monitor progress, the parents have an important role in seeing that the
program is implemented as written.
of monitoring and evaluation techniques are used, including standardized
tests, teacher-made tests, and systematic observation of the student to
document encouraged behaviors (i.e., how often a child initiates
conversation with peers). The
monitoring and evaluation tools utilized should match the goals and
objectives. For example, a
paper-and-pencil test could not be used to monitor the student's
interaction with his peers. Take
steps to monitor your child's educational plan:
current copies of the IEP, New Jersey Administrative Code 6A:14, medical
reports, local school policies and procedures, important phone numbers,
etc. in a file at home.
Personally meet the teachers/therapists/other professionals who work
with your child.
the services being given as specified?
in the classroom
your child how school is going and what s/he did that day
materials to help in class
Develop a monitoring plan:
a school volunteer
school at home
with other parents and school personnel
Maintain a notebook between you and the professionals, so you can follow
through on activities, share notes and information on your child, and
track progress at home.
6. Keep a
log of your personal observations about your child at home, in school,
in the community.
your child's written work (samples of school assignments, tests, etc.).
about your child's progress, or lack of it, and act to make any changes
often will progress be measured - daily, weekly, monthly?
the classroom setting still appropriate according to your child's age
there other programs and services that could benefit your child?
Involve yourself in local programs and information groups to increase
your knowledge of available programs or techniques (local ARC, Learning
Disabilities Association, United Cerebral Palsy Association).
annual review is a meeting to develop, review and/or revise a student's
educational program. Although
Individualized Education Programs can be reviewed and revised at any
time throughout the year, most IEPs in New Jersey are reviewed annually
in the spring. Before your
IEP/annual review meeting, it is necessary to prepare so you can
participate on an equal basis with all other participants.
Keep in mind that you are the expert regarding your child.
The Case Manager of the Child Study Team, parent(s), general and
special education teacher(s), and pupil, if appropriate, and other
individuals at the discretion of the parents and district board of
The purpose of the annual review meeting is to review and revise
the IEP and to determine the appropriate services.
Also, participants make recommendations for the next year's
program based on progress made in reaching the goals and objectives
stated in the former IEP and on the child's current needs.
If you are concerned that your child is not making anticipated
progress, you can ask for a meeting with the Child Study Team at any
time during the year. The
U.S. Supreme Court determined in the Rowley case that a child is
entitled to FAPE - a Free Appropriate Public Education - and be given
the opportunity to make sufficient progress to move from grade to grade
with their non-disabled peers.
At least annually and also under specific situations:
- By June
30 of a child's last year in a preschool program;
- By June
30 of a student's last year in elementary school and includes input from
the staff of the secondary school;
a 21-year old student's last year in an educational program and includes
input from parents, the case manager, the pupil, if appropriate, and
other individuals as appropriate to develop non-binding written
recommendations concerning services and resources available in the
In addition to annual review, you should receive ongoing reports
at least as often as report cards for non-disabled peers, reflecting
progress in the Core Curriculum Content Standards and toward annual
goals and objectives.
TIPS FOR ANNUAL REVIEWS
Review the information in this entire chapter of the Basic Rights
All of the advocacy tips for each step in the special education
delivery cycle apply to preparation for annual review.
Be sure especially to review the IEP Checklist and Advocacy Tips
for Preparing for and Participating in the IEP.
reevaluation to determine the status of the student is conducted at
least every three years or sooner if needed.
This can include the use of formal assessments and/or a review of
existing evaluation data to determine if there is continued need for
special education services. At
this time the student will be assessed once again to determine if
his/her needs, abilities and/or learning difficulties have changed.
If there is reason to believe a full reevaluation is necessary
prior to the three-year mark (child has made substantial gains or is not
making satisfactory progress), it may be requested by the parents or the
child study team.
parent and Child Study Team design an evaluation plan as described in
the previous evaluation section.
two Child Study Team members carry out evaluation procedures.
For students with auditory disabilities, an audiologic and speech
and language assessment must also be conducted.
The reevaluation procedure follows the same guidelines as those
for initial evaluations (N.J.A.C. 6A:14-3.4(d) 1-6, which includes
participate in the writing of the evaluation plan.
TIPS FOR THREE-YEAR REEVALUATION
consent is required unless (a) the parent doesn't respond to a written
notice of intent to conduct reevaluation, or (b) the district requests
and prevails at an impartial hearing.
sure that your evaluation questions are incorporated in the evaluation
Reevaluations must be conducted when a change in eligibility,
classification or significant change in placement is being considered.
Review advocacy tips in Evaluation and Obtaining an Independent
Evaluation earlier in this chapter.
Brown, age 4
PARENTS PARTICIPATE AS COLLABORATIVE TEAM MEMBERS
For The IEP Meeting
is a list of important steps to prepare for your IEP meeting:
and review information and records:
of your child's IEP and school records, including:
- Permanent or cumulative records (usually kept in the principal's office)
of grades, attendance, disciplinary actions, standardized test scores
and teacher's comments.
records including immunization history, results of hearing tests, or any
other medical tests given to your child.
- Temporary guidance records, or "anecdotal" files recording
your child's daily behavior. These
files (found in the guidance office) are not kept for every child.
- Teachers' and guidance counselors' private notes for their own use and
their personal property. As
long as they do not share them with anyone else and do not place them in
your child's records, they are not required to disclose them to you.
Schoolwork, notes from teachers, personal observations of your child,
and periodic progress reports.
educational and medical records and other information gathered outside
the core curriculum for the grade your child is in.
This will inform you of the material which will be covered for
the school year in the general education classroom.
You can obtain this from your school or the Board of Education
your legal rights. Have a
copy of New Jersey Administrative Code 6A:14 (rules regarding special
education) and the Code of Federal Regulations (34 C.F.R.), and
highlight those areas in the code that relate to your child.
Complete the IEP checklist to be sure you have all necessary elements
any significant changes such as operations, medication changes, changes
in the family, etc., which may be important to note.
Complete the Positive Student Profile and IEP Goals-At-A-Glance in
Appendix C. If possible,
send a copy of each to the Child Study Team two weeks prior to the IEP
the related services your child needs to meet his/her goals (extended
school year, transportation, therapies, etc.).
about what problems your child is having with the current program.
Ask yourself: For any goals and objectives not met, why were they not
accomplished? How can the
program be modified to help my child accomplish these goals? Are these goals and objectives important enough to warrant
working on them for another year?
in method of teaching
Increase or decrease difficulty of methods
any services your child needs but is not receiving.
a list of the questions you want answered and concerns you would like
your feelings, thoughts and concerns with other family members, friends
or advocates to help clarify your thinking.
you are bringing someone other than your spouse, notify your case
Observe all class and program options that might be possibilities for
your child. (Use the
Classroom Observation Checklist in Appendix E)
TIPS IN PREPARING FOR THE IEP MEETING
Decide if you need more information:
Do you know your child's present level of performance? Have you
received progress reports? Are you aware of testing that may need to be done?
Is it time for a three-year reevaluation?
Get answers to your questions.
Observe your child in the present program or visit some of the
classrooms that will be available next year.
If possible, visit the classroom more than once at different
times in the day. Meet
with teachers and other staff to find out what they think about the
child's needs and the types of appropriate programs. (Do not limit your options to programs that are currently
available.) Read your
Find out who will attend the IEP meeting.
Make plans for your own support.
When you are notified of the meeting time and place, ask who else
has been invited to attend, and if you believe someone providing
services to your child has not been included in the meeting and should
be, ask that they be invited. Ask if a draft IEP has been developed. If it has, then request a copy prior to the meeting.
It would be helpful to invite someone for moral support, to take
notes for you, or to present additional information, such as a friend,
family member or minister/priest/rabbi.*
Let the school know whom you are asking to come with you.
Make sure enough time has been scheduled for the meeting.
Ask how much time has been scheduled for the meeting.
If you feel the time scheduled for the IEP meeting is too short,
ask to meet at another time or begin work with everyone agreeing to a
future meeting should every issue not be discussed.
Make sure you have enough time to ask questions and share your
Be ready to support your ideas and requests.
Find information in the records, progress reports, evaluation
results and elsewhere to support your ideas or requests.
Know WHY you are making requests or suggestions.
Have a "back-up" plan or suggestions that can be part
of "give and take" to negotiate with school staff.
Plan for the meeting.
your materials. (Reports,
DOWN your questions.
what you want to say.
Assertive Communication Skills.
Be positive. Assume that you and school system personnel can work together
to develop an appropriate program for your child.
Get anger and frustration out before the meeting.
In general, SPAN does not have the capacity to provide an advocate to
attend this meeting with you. However,
in certain limited situations, SPAN staff or a volunteer SPAN Resource
Parent may be able to attend.
Participation In The IEP Meeting
parent and Child Study Team have identified a meeting date and time, the
parent must be given written notice of the meeting, including date,
time, place, purpose, and participants.
IEP meetings must be scheduled at a mutually agreed upon time and
place. A translator must be
available to parents with hearing impairment or for whom English is not
the primary language. Be
sure you have done all your homework before the day of your actual IEP
meeting. You, the parent,
have the responsibility to attend and participate in the meeting.
are some reminders:
of yourself as part of a team. You
are an expert regarding your child.
yourself to working together. You
are in it for the long run!
are a member of the team. Present
yourself as "team able."
Think about what makes you comfortable with others (interpersonal
sure you have all your notes with you along with a copy of your child's
records and a copy of N.J.A.C. 6A:14 for reference, if necessary.
5. If you
are unclear as to whom your case manager is, find out at this meeting.
Also, clarify each participant's role and feel free to address
questions or concerns to the appropriate person.
any questions or concerns written down and check them off as they are
answered so you can ensure that all your concerns are addressed.
Prioritize and address the issues that are most important to you.
Discuss one issue at a time.
your goals clearly in mind and on paper so you can see how well they fit
in with the goals proposed by the rest of the team. If at all possible, obtain a copy of the draft IEP, if there
is one, before the meeting. Make
sure you review it thoroughly and highlight any areas of concern.
View the document as a draft until your input is included.
your concerns and information as the discussion progresses.
Share relevant information about your child by contributing what
you know about your child's skills, interests, weaknesses, and
creative, open-minded, and be prepared to negotiate. There may be alternative ways to meet goals.
not hesitate to ask participants to clarify any information or
statements that are unclear to you.
If you do not understand the meaning of an educational term, ask
for an example or demonstration of what is meant.
can tape record the meeting, but because this may be intimidating to
other team members, you may want to reserve this strategy only if there
has been repeated breaking of promises.
It is best to advise your district in advance that you will be
tape recording the meeting.
you feel you did not have enough time to discuss all of the important
issues, feel free to ask when you can meet again to continue the
team members for their input and participation.
TIPS FOR PARTICIPATING IN THE IEP MEETING
Participate in all meetings regarding your child to demonstrate
your desire to be an active participant on the team.
Follow up on timelines to ensure the IEP is completed on time.
Take notes about decisions made, activities for follow-up and
Bring a friend, relative or advocate to the meeting.
Take time to review fully the final draft of the IEP before
signing off on it. Before
you sign the proposed IEP, take it home and highlight any questions or
concerns so you can later get clarification from the team and can feel
comfortable that the IEP is meeting your child's needs.
Remember, the only time your signature is required is for the
first IEP that is developed for your child.
Where appropriate, have the student participate in the meeting.
View any document presented at the beginning of the IEP meeting
as a "working" document as opposed to a final IEP.
Do not accept a document that has been fully developed prior to
the meeting without your consideration or input.
Know who in your school district is responsible for decision
making regarding related services (for example, the Director of
Special/Pupil Services, Assistant Superintendent, etc.).
Important: the district can determine which specific staff member
will serve as the district representative.
However, the representative should be able to ensure that
whatever services are set out in the IEP will actually be provided and
that the IEP will not be vetoed at a higher administrative level within
the agency. Thus, the
person selected should have the authority to commit agency resources
(i.e., to make decisions about the specific special education and
related services that the agency will provide to a particular child.
(34 C.F.R. Appendix C, question 13.)
These decisions must be made at the IEP meeting.
Remember that the IEP can always be revised at any time during
the school year, should you think changes are required.
You should ask your case manager for a meeting to discuss the
Always follow up any requests in writing.
“It is common sense to take a method and try
If it fails, admit it frankly and try another.
But above all, try something.”
- Franklin D. Roosevelt
Individualized Education Program (IEP) gives parents a "voice"
in their child's education. By
working together, parents and professionals develop a program that
benefits the child. Much of
the responsibility for your child's education falls on you.
Parents are the experts regarding their child and are equal
partners throughout the evaluation and IEP process.
It is up to you to help develop, evaluate and monitor the IEP.
is also a written plan that addresses your child's special needs and
abilities. It is developed
at a meeting of school personnel and you, the parents.
The plan should not be exactly like anyone else's.
Even though other children may have the same disability, all
children have unique needs and abilities.
does not guarantee success. It
does guarantee that the school system must provide the necessary
services, programs, equipment, and facilities as listed in the IEP.
- Child-centered (based on your child's individual needs)
- Collaborative (a combined effort)
- Comprehensive (including both strengths and needs)
on age- and grade-appropriate Core Curriculum Content Standards
In effect at the beginning if each school year for every child
with a disability who is receiving special education from the district;
effect before special education and related services are provided to a
Implemented as soon as possible following the meeting.
child's advocate, you must participate in the development of the IEP
document. The purpose of
this section is to familiarize you with the required elements of the IEP.
Either use it to evaluate your child's current IEP or to assist
you in the development of your child's first IEP.
needed specialized equipment or materials
Instructional strategies fitted to the pupil's learning style
Techniques and activities designed to support the personal and social
development of the pupil (N.J.A.C. 6A:14-3.6 (xv-xvii))
times the current status statement becomes merely a list of the things
your child cannot do. It is
your responsibility to ensure that a balanced view of your child is
conveyed to people who will work with him/her.
Be sure that your child's strengths and accomplishments are
included (See Positive Student Profile in Appendix
you have goals for your child that should be included in the IEP (IDEA
requires that the IEP team consider your goals for enhancing your
child's education). For
example, some self-help goals may be very important to you such as
dressing, grooming, etc. This
can be addressed through your child's educational program (See
Goals-At-A-Glance in Appendix C).
are annual plans; objectives are the intermediate steps necessary to
reach the annual goals.
and objectives should be positive, observable, and measurable.
and objectives should be written for all aspects of your child's special
education program. Parents
should play a major role in the development of goals and objectives.
Frame: Following the
development of the IEP, the program should be implemented no more than
30 days after the IEP has been written and within 90 days of your
written consent for evaluation.
signature is required in order for the local school district to
implement an evaluation or a special education program (the IEP):
the child is first referred to the Child Study Team for a formal and
complete evaluation and prior to any reevaluation.
The parent must sign that s/he has approved the evaluation plan.
- Once a
child is determined eligible for a special education program and/or
related services, the parent must sign the very first IEP in order for
the school district to start services for the child as designed in the
Components of the IEP
following checklist contains items often identified by parents and
professionals as important components of appropriate educational
programs. [(N.J.A.C. 6A:14-3.6(d)), (34 C.F.R. 300.346)]
Statement of Eligibility for Special Education and/or Related
Services: This statement
should specify behavior and learning characteristics that warrant
special education and/or related services.
Current Educational Status:
This statement summarizes the skills and abilities the student
has achieved as well as areas of need.
Areas must include, but are not limited to: academic,
achievement, cognitive functioning, personal and social development, and
physical and health status. Other
areas which can be included where appropriate are: language proficiency,
communication style, physical education and recreation needs,
prevocational and self-help needs.
Annual Goals: Annual goals based on the student's current educational
status represent anticipated outcomes that the student can reasonably be
expected to achieve in one year's time.
The task of selecting appropriate goals should involve the
student, where appropriate, parents, child study team members, teacher(s),
and perhaps administrators.
Objectives: IEP objectives are derived from the annual goals and
represent specific, measurable, intermediate steps that should be taken
to reach the goals. Well-defined
objectives will provide the team with a measure to determine if the
anticipated outcomes have been realized.
Description of Student's Educational Program:
This should include:
1. Is the
program in the Least Restrictive Environment (the class and school the
child would attend if s/he did not have a disability, or if not, a
setting as close as possible to general education setting student would
attend if not disabled)?
to which student will participate in general education program.
Exemptions from general education program options and/or graduation
Accommodations, adaptations and/or exemptions from standardized tests (HSPT,
Transition Plan: a statement of the needed transition services
including, if appropriate, a statement of each public agency's and each
participating agency's responsibilities or linkages, or both, before the
student leaves the school setting.
transition services are needed, the IEP shall include a statement to
this effect and basis upon which that determination was made.
Statement and reason for length of time in special education program.
Language of instruction if not English.
statement describing the special education and/or related services,
including the frequency and duration of services, and the date when they
Defined roles and responsibilities of specific school personnel for
implementing the IEP. (For
additional people to know, see "Who's Who in Your Child's
Life?" in Appendix E.)
criteria, procedure and schedule to determine if the pupil's goals and
objectives are being met. This
section should include a discussion of the frequency of progress reports
and face-to-face meetings to evaluate the student's progress.
We strongly recommend that parents have monthly phone contacts
with classroom teacher(s) and quarterly meetings with the case manager
and other personnel on the collaborative team.
Exemptions from local disciplinary policies and/or procedures.
specialized equipment or materials.
Instructional strategies fitted to the pupil's learning style.
Techniques and activities designed to support the pupil's personal and
Rationale/reasons for type of educational program and placement.
planned schedule of time the student will be served by specialists,
special education teachers, bilingual or English-as-a-Second Language
teachers, general education teachers, and related service personnel is
no longer a required element of the IEP.
Be sure to include this information in the student's IEP as
additional relevant information (See the IEP Checklist in Appendix D for
more information on required components in the IEP).
rung of a ladder was never meant to rest upon, but only to
hold a man’s foot long enough to enable him to put the other
- Aldous Huxley
ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT IEPs
following questions and answers were adapted from Appendix C to Part 300
of the Code of Federal Regulations.
"Public agency" refers to the State Education Agency
(State Department of Education), Local Education Agency (district you
live in), and any other political subdivisions of the State that are
responsible for providing education to children with disabilities.
parents required to sign the IEP?
signatures are not required, except for the first IEP developed for the
child. However, having such
signatures is considered by parents, advocates and the public agency
personnel to be useful as one way to document whom attended the meeting.
This is useful for monitoring and compliance purposes.
initiate IEP meetings?
meetings are initiated and conducted at the discretion of the public
agency, however, if the parents of a child with a disability believe
that the child is not progressing satisfactorily or that there is a
problem with the child's current IEP, it would be appropriate for the
parents to request an IEP meeting.
The public agency should accommodate any reasonable request for
such a meeting.
child with a disability has been receiving special education in one
public agency and moves to another, must the new public agency hold an
IEP meeting before the child is placed in a special education program?
It is not
necessary if a copy of the child's current IEP is available; the parents
indicate that they are satisfied with the current IEP; and the new
public agency determines that the current IEP is appropriate and can be
implemented as written. If
a current IEP is not available or if the public agency or parent feel it
is not appropriate then an IEP meeting must be held within a short time
after the child enrolls in the new public agency.
If the public agency or the parents feel additional information
is needed or that a new evaluation is necessary before a final placement
decision can be made, it would be permissible to place the child in an
interim program before the IEP is finalized.
child with a disability is enrolled in both general education and
special education classes, which teacher should attend the IEP meeting?
A meeting to develop or review the IEP must include at least one
general education teacher and one special education teacher, both
knowledgeable about the student's performance or the district's
programs. The child's
general education teacher must, to the extent appropriate, participate
in the development, review and revision of the child's IEP, including
assisting in the determination of appropriate positive behavioral
interventions and strategies, supplementary aids and services, and
program modifications or supports for school personnel that will be
provided for the child. The
general education teacher need not be physically present at all phases
of the IEP process, but must participate in those aspects of the IEP
meeting related to the general curriculum and modifications,
accommodations, etc. to curriculum or instruction.
permissible for a public agency to have the IEP completed when the IEP
It is not permissible for a public agency to present a completed
IEP to parents for their approval before there has been a full
discussion with the parents of (1) the child's need for special
education and related services, and (2) what services the public agency
will provide to the child. The
public agency can have a drafted IEP, but they must make it clear to the
parents at the outset of the meeting that the services proposed by them
are only recommendations for review and discussion with the parents.
Include In Your Child's Home File
records chronologically with the most recent on top.
year, list your child's:
* School Principal
* Special Education Teacher
* Case Manager
* Learning Disability Teacher Consultant
* Social Worker
* Related Service Personnel
(physical, occupational, speech therapist; counselor)
District Policy Makers
* School District
* School Board Members
*Special Education Administrator
* P.T.A. Organization
the chain of command within the school system, beginning with local and
ending with state and federal. Include
addresses and telephone numbers for easy reference.
4. A copy
of your state's administrative code (N.J.A.C. 6A:14), distributed at no
local district, Department of Special Services
State Department of Education: please call (609) 292-0147 and specify
that you are a parent of a child with a disability.
5. A copy
of IDEA and its regulations. You
can obtain a copy from your congressperson.
Please ask him/her for a copy and identify yourself as a resource
on the abilities and needs of children with disabilities.
of all records from your child's school progress reports, psychological
reports, and any other papers the school district may have regarding
of test results and recommendations from independent assessments.
written (including handwritten) letters and notes to and from school
written communication with outside professionals regarding your child's
notes on parent/teacher conferences.
notes you have taken in conversations with your child's physician or
other professionals who see your child.
notes on all telephone conversations with school personnel or others
regarding your child.
Samples of your child's work (written, art, workbook pages, etc.)
(Parental Rights in Special Education) booklet
Adapted from Federation for Children with Special Needs, Boston, MA