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Meeting the needs of people with disabilities, their families, educators & service providers

Archive for June, 2014

Parent consent may be necessary for later stages of RTI

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

Letter to Gallo, 61 IDELR 173 (OSEP 2013): The federal Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) advised a state education official that a school district need not seek parental consent to conduct an evaluation if the evaluation (including certain primary levels of an RTI framework) consists of the collection of data from all students in a general education setting.  Moreover, consent would not be necessary to review any data so collected within the context of determining the possible existence of a disability.  However, consent is required if, during a later stages of an RTI framework.  The critical determination is if the evaluation relates to an individual student and to determine whether the student has a disability potentially requiring special education and related services.  Accordingly, even if within the context of RTI (and not a formal referral to the IEP team) consent would still be required.

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Current vision status does not determine need for Braille instruction

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

Dear Colleague Letter, 61 IDELR 172 (OSERS 2013): The federal Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) issued a guidance letter clarifying that a blind or otherwise visually impaired student should not be denied instruction in Braille absent “a thorough and rigorous evaluation” that determines “that instruction in Braille would be inappropriate for that child.”  The IDEA requires instruction in Braille for blind and visually impaired students, unless the child’s current and future reading and writing needs indicate that such instruction is inappropriate.  Since the child’s future needs must be taken into account, a school district cannot rely exclusively on a child’s current vision status to deny Braille instruction.

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School district required to provide in-home services as part of stay-put

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

M.G. v. New York City Department of Education, 61 IDELR 220 (S.D.N.Y. 2013): A U.S. District Court ordered a school district to continue providing in-home applied behavioral analysis (ABA) services during the pendency of litigation due to the district’s provision of such services during the underlying proceedings.  Although the impartial hearing officer (IHO) denied much of the parents’ requested relief, interim IHO orders directed the district to commence in-home ABA services to provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE).  The parents initiated a state-level appeal, but in the meantime the district indicated it would discontinue the in-home services during the subsequent school year.  The Court, upon the parents’ application, directed the district to continue providing the in-home ABA services as part of the student’s pendency placement.

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States may not rely solely on “cut score” for SLD eligibility

Thursday, June 5th, 2014

Letter to Delisle, 62 IDELR 240 (OSEP 2013): The federal Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) reiterated its position that gifted students (i.e. – students with high cognition) may still be eligible for services under the IDEA if such students require special education and related services.  OSEP noted that, since the IDEA requires the use of various assessments, an IEP team would not be able to deny a student eligibility on the basis that such student scored above a particular “cut” score on a particular assessment.  OSEP noted “no assessment, in isolation, is sufficient to indicate that a child has a [specified learning disability].”

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