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Article: FAQ: Education

Education FAQ

Table of Contents
  1. Education FAQ


Where do I begin if I believe my child needs special education services?
Is it possible for a gifted child to have a disability, or a child with a disability to be gifted?
What are the purposes of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)?
Are special education services available to very young children?
What is included in an evaluation for special education and related services?
How can my child receive an evaluation for special education or related services?
What happens to the results of my child’s evaluation?
What is an Individualized Education Program (IEP)?
Who develops my child’s IEP?
What type of information is included in an IEP?
Is it the school’s responsibility to ensure that my child reaches all the goals in his or her IEP?
When is the IEP meeting held and may I attend?
What should I, as a parent, do before an IEP meeting?
What occurs during an IEP meeting?
What if I disagree with the school about what is appropriate for my child?
How can I get services for my child increased?
How can I support my child’s learning?
What are some of the pros and cons of inclusive school programs?
What is the history of the special education movement in the United States?
I received special education (IDEA) or 504 services in high school. How are these services different in college?
If I am a student with a disability in college, will the Office of Student Affairs seek me out to provide services like my counselors did in high school?

Where do I begin if I believe my child needs special education services?

If you think that your child may need special education services, the first thing to do is to ask a lot of questions. The best person to start talking to is your school administrator who can refer you to the appropriate services. Public schools will also evaluate your child at no cost to you.

Parents who have children in special education programs can provide help and support. Local parent organizations are also good resources. Refer to the Guide to Education: Parents and School for a list of parent organizations that can help.

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Is it possible for a gifted child to have a disability, or a child with a disability to be gifted?

 

Gifted children with a disability exhibit many of the characteristics of both gifted and disabled children. These shared traits may include:

  • Intellectual curiosity
  • Ability to conceptualize abstractly and see cause and effect relationships
  • Love of justice, truth, and equity
  • Heightened intensity and sensitivity
  • Perfectionism

Sometimes students use their talents to compensate for a disability. For example, a student who has a severe hearing impairment may be able to stay on grade level because of a self-taught ability to lip read.

 

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What are the purposes of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)?

The major purposes of IDEA are to:

  • Ensure that special education is available to eligible children and youth with disabilities.
  • Make sure that decisions made regarding the education of students with disabilities are fair and appropriate.
  • Provide financial assistance to state and local governments for the education of children with special needs.

To learn more about the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act refer to the Guide to Civil Rights: Education Rights.

 

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Are special education services available to very young children?

Services for very young children are also covered under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Under Public Law 102-119, all public schools must offer special education services to eligible 3-5 year old children with disabilities. To find out about special education services for very young children in your area, contact your state Department of Education.

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What is included in an evaluation for special education and related services?

The evaluation process considers all aspects of a child's environment. Tests are one part of the evaluation, but the family's input is also important. The evaluation process should also include the following:

  • Observations by professionals who have worked with your child.
  • Your child's medical history, when it is relevant to his or her performance in school
  • Information and observations from the family.

To learn more about the evaluation process go to: www.ldonline.org/article/54711/.

 

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How can my child receive an evaluation for special education or related services?

There are three ways in which your child may be selected to receive an evaluation:

  1. You can request an evaluation. If you think that your child may need special education services you can contact the director of special education or the principal of your child's school.
  2. The school may ask permission to evaluate your child. The school may want to evaluate your child based on observations or the results of tests that your child has taken. A school must have the written permission of parents before evaluating a child.
  3. A teacher or doctor may recommend that a child be evaluated. But once again, written permission must be obtained from the child's parents.

For more information on the evaluation process refer to the Guide to Special Education: Assessment.

 

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What happens to the results of my child’s evaluation?

If your child is eligible for services, the results are used to help formulate an Individualized Education Program (IEP). The IEP lists the services and goals for the child. Areas that are identified as needing strengthening and improvement are included in the program.

For information on how to interpret the results of your child's evaluation go to: www.ldonline.org/article/6026/.

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What is an Individualized Education Program (IEP)?

An Individualized Educational Program (IEP) outlines the special education and related services needed to help a student with disabilities. The IEP provides an opportunity for parents and educators to work together to identify a student's needs. It is a contract that confirms what resources the school agrees to provide and is reviewed regularly to track a student's progress. The document can be changed as the needs of the student changes.

For more detailed information on what an IEP is and how it works go to: www.connectwc.org/the-iep-process.html.

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Who develops my child’s IEP?

Under Public Law 102-119, the IEP is created by a team that consists of:

  • The child's parents
  • At least one of the child's regular education teachers
  • A representative of the school system (i.e. principal)
  • An individual who can interpret the evaluation results
  • Representatives of any other agencies that may be responsible for paying for or providing transition services
  • The student, as appropriate
  • Other individuals who have a knowledge or special expertise about the child

 

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What type of information is included in an IEP?

The IEP contains goals based on a student's present level of performance in school. It also states what grade the student should be in, services they will need, when services will begin, how long they will last, and the way in which the student will be tested. The IEP also identifies transition needs starting when the student is fourteen years of age.

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Is it the school’s responsibility to ensure that my child reaches all the goals in his or her IEP?

No. The IEP sets out the individualized instruction to be provided for your child, but it is not a contract. The school is responsible for providing instructional services listed in an IEP.

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When is the IEP meeting held and may I attend?

The school schedules the IEP meeting and by law parents have a right to participate. The IEP meeting is held periodically to evaluate progress and to set new goals. If the scheduled time conflicts with your schedule often an alternate time or date can be arranged. However, if no mutually agreeable time can be agreed on, the school may hold the IEP meeting without you. If this happens, the school must keep you informed by telephone or mail.

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What should I, as a parent, do before an IEP meeting?

The IEP meeting is scheduled for the purpose of creating your child's Individualized Education Program. You can prepare for this meeting by looking realistically at your child's strengths and weaknesses. It may be appropriate to visit with your child's teachers, therapists, or your child's class. You might want to make some notes about what you feel your child will be able to accomplish during the school year along with things you would like to say during the meeting.

For other ideas on how to prepare for this meeting go to: www.specialeducationadvisor.com/special-education/how-to-prepare-for-your-next-iep-meeting/

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What occurs during an IEP meeting?

During the IEP meeting, you will be asked to share the special things you know about your child, including how your child behaves and gets along with others outside of school. You will also be asked about your child's school experiences and personal life. After this discussion, everyone involved will have a better idea of your child's needs. This will allow the team to discuss and determine:

  • What educational goals and objectives are appropriate for your child
  • What type of special education your child needs
  • What related services are necessary to ensure that your child benefits from his or her special education
  • What assistive technology devices or services your child needs to benefit from special education
  • What placement alternatives exist, and which is most appropriate for your child.

As a parent, you should understand why the school proposes certain special education services and/or related services (such as therapy) for your child. You should be comfortable with these ideas before listing them in the IEP.

 

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What if I disagree with the school about what is appropriate for my child?

It is important to know that before the school system can place your child in a special education program for the first time, you, as parents, must give your written consent. School districts can only override your lack of consent through certain procedures specified by federal and/or state law.

Even if your child has been receiving special education services for some time, you have the right to disagree with the school's decisions concerning new IEPs or educational placements for your child. If you do not agree with what has been proposed in your child's IEP, then you should not sign it. However, in all cases where family and school disagree, it is important for both sides to be able to discuss their concerns and come to a compromise.

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How can I get services for my child increased?

Suppose your child gets speech therapy two times a week, and you think he or she needs therapy three times a week. What do you do?

First, you can speak with your child's speech pathologist and request an IEP review meeting to discuss increasing your child's speech therapy sessions. In the meeting, you should discuss your child's needs and ask to see the evaluation of his or her progress. If the IEP team agrees that progress is not being made, they will change the IEP. If school personnel disagree with you, you can appeal the decision of the IEP team. In this case, you may wish to seek advice from your state's mediation coordinator. For contact information go to: www.directionservice.org/cadre/state/statedetails.cfm

 

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How can I support my child’s learning?

Here are some suggestions that can help you support your child's learning and maintain a good working relationship with school professionals:

  • Let your child's teacher(s) know that you are interested in playing an active part in your child's educational program. Plan and schedule times to talk with the teacher(s) and, if possible, visit the classroom.
  • Offer to explain any special equipment, medication, or medical problem your child has.
  • Inform the teacher(s) of any activities or significant events that may influence your child's performance in school.
  • Ask that samples of your child's work be sent home. If you have questions, make an appointment with the teacher(s) to discuss new strategies for meeting your child's goals.
  • Ask for suggestions on how you can continue, expand, and reinforce your child's school activities at home.
  • Volunteer to help in the classroom or school. This will give you the opportunity to see how things work in the school and how your child interacts with others.
  • Let the school know how you may be contacted if you are needed.
  • Remember that you and the school want success for your child. Working together can make this happen.

 

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What are some of the pros and cons of inclusive school programs?

LD Online has a Frequently Asked Questions section that provides some of the pros and cons of inclusive school programs. Inclusive school programs have been controversial from the very beginning. Many people have different ideas regarding inclusion and what is best for all students. Below is a quote from a handbook on inclusion that discusses some of these controversial points:

"Age- and grade-appropriate placement is the most controversial component of inclusion because it is based on ideals, values, and goals that are not congruent with the realities of today's classrooms. Proponents of full inclusion assume that the general education classroom can and will be able to accommodate all students with disabilities, even those with severe and multiple disabilities. They assume that such students can obtain educational and social benefits from that placement. Those who oppose full inclusion argue that, although methods of collaborative learning and group instruction are the preferred methods, traditional classroom size and resources are often inadequate for the management and accommodation of many students with disabilities without producing adverse effects on the classroom as a whole. Some special education experts, however, believe that some students are unlikely to receive appropriate education without placement into alternative instructional groups or alternative learning environments, such as part-time or full-time special classes or alternative day schools." (From Handbook for Successful Inclusion. Kochhar and West. Aspen Publishers, Inc., 200 Orchard Ridge Drive, Suite 200, Gaithersburg, MD 20878)

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What is the history of the special education movement in the United States?

In the 1960's, the Federal government took the lead in providing a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) for children with disabilities. What followed were a series of federally funded initiatives and state laws requiring local agencies to provide special education services for students with disabilities. Today, IDEA mandates the provision of services for all children with disabilities. For a detailed account of the history of special education in the United States, go to: www.ed.gov/policy/speced/leg/idea/history.html.

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I received special education (IDEA) or 504 services in high school. How are these services different in college?

Colleges are required to provide any reasonable accommodation that may be necessary for equal access to education. They are not required to design special programs for students with disabilities or provide Individualized Educational Plans (IEP's).

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If I am a student with a disability in college, will the Office of Student Affairs seek me out to provide services like my counselors did in high school?

In college, students with disabilities are covered under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and under the Americans with Disabilities Act. IDEA no longer applies. Since this is the case, the legal obligations change. You have the responsibility to identify yourself as having a disability and seek out services. You should speak directly with admissions counselors and disability support services providers at the college. Colleges must make reasonable accommodations and academic adjustments that enable you to participate, however they do not legally have to provide accommodations just because they were listed in your IEP during high school.

For more information about getting services during post-secondary education refer to the Guide to Education: Life after High School.

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Last Updated on 10/23/2015

Thursday, September 19, 2019