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

Posts Tagged ‘OSEP’

Related service providers may only be excused from IEP team meetings on case-by-case basis.

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

Letter to Rangel-Diaz, 58 IDELR 78 (OSEP 2011):  The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) advised a special education advocate that a school district cannot implement a practice of excluding related service providers from IEP team meetings.

OSEP noted that if a related service provider is a required IEP team member (based on the state’s definition of special education, or if the student requires related services), the only way the related service provider may be excused from attending the IEP team meeting is if the parent provides written consent, and the related service provider submits written input to the IEP team prior to the meeting.  OSEP said it “expects excusal decisions to be made on a individualized, case-by-case basis.”  If a school district routinely, or unilaterally, excused required IEP team members from attending IEP team meetings, OSEP would consider such district noncompliant with the IDEA.

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School district may not refuse to act on a referral for evaluation from an early childhood education program on the ground that such program has not first implemented RTI.

Friday, July 1st, 2011

Letter to Brekken, 56 IDELR 80 (OSEP 2010):  The federal Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), in a letter to a head start program director, stated that a school district cannot delay responding to a referral for initial evaluation by the IEP team on the ground the an early childhood program did not first implement a response to intervention (RTI) program.

OSEP said the IDEA “does not encourage” or require a school district to use an RTI approach to determine if a 3-5 year-old is eligible for special education and related services.  If a referral is made for an initial evaluation of such a child, the school district must conduct the evaluation irrespective of any RTI model.  If the school district does not suspect that the child has a disability, and denies the request for an initial evaluation on those grounds, then it must notify the parent in writing of that determination, as well as the information used to make that decision.

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Parent not required to agree to school district’s proposals at resolution session

Monday, March 28th, 2011

Irby, Letter to, 55 IDELR 264 (OSEP 2010):  In response to an inquiry, the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) stated that, although a parent is required to participate at a resolution session, there is no requirement in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) for a parent to agree to a district’s proposals at a resolution session.  A school district cannot achieve dismissal of a due process complaint simply because a parent refuses to agree to anything at the resolution session, and the parent’s attorney instead insists on proceeding to a due process hearing to resolve the matter.  However, if a parent unreasonably avoids resolution of a due process complaint the pursuit of attorney’s fees might be affected and in some circumstances the parent or parent’s attorney might be forced to pay the attorney’s fees for the school district.

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Individual Family Services Plan (“IFSP”) Team should make an individualized determination relating to respite services.

Saturday, November 13th, 2010

Letter to Hutton, 53 IDELR 334 (OSEP 2009):  The New York State Department of Health (“DOH”) sought clarification from the U.S. Dept. of Education Office of Special Education Programs (“OSEP”) that its policy regarding respite services is consistent with the Early Intervention Services (EIS) required by Part C of the IDEA.

OSEP found that the DOH’s policy is consistent with Part C because (1) it “requires consideration of a variety of factors that highlight specific circumstances when respite may be needed;” (2) “the determination of whether respite is identified on the child’s IFSP is made on an individualized basis and is made by the eligible child’s IFSP team;” and (3) under its policy, respite does not serve as routine child-care, but is limited to when respite may enhance, in child and family specific circumstances, the capacity of the family to meet the developmental needs of their infant or toddler with a disability.

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Parents’ consent to initial provision of special education services follows the student from one public agency to another.

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

Letter to Champagne, 53 IDELR 198 (OSEP 2008):  The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs stated in a policy letter that once a parent provides his or her initial consent for the provision of special education and related services that consent remains valid should the student begin receiving services from a different public agency.

The two examples cited in the letter were: (1) when a student moves from preschool to kindergarten, and begins receiving services from the school district (if that student previously did not attend public schools) and (2) if a student relocated from one school district from another (whether that relocation was interstate or intrastate).  In each situation, since the school district was still required to provide a FAPE, the student was still entitled to receive services and the parent need not provide consent to initial provision of services.  However, if the student relocates from one state to another the new state’s school district must conduct a new evaluation (unlike a student who relocates intrastate, in which case the new school district need only adopt the student’s existing IEP).

However, if the “new public agency determines that an evaluation is necessary to determine whether the child is eligible for special education and related services and the child’s educational needs, the evaluation is considered an evaluation and not a re-evaluation.”  In that event, “the public agency must follow the consent requirements for initial evaluations and the initial provision of special education and related services.”

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