1) Q. Can a student be exited from special education services (e.g., speech/language, APE) without first conducting an assessment?
A. The SELPA cannot exit a student from special education services without first conducting assessments to determine whether such action is appropriate. (20 U.S.C. § 1414(c)(5)(A); Ed. Code, § 56381, subd.(h).)
2) Q. Who is eligible for special education?
A. Students with disabilities, who need special education and related services, are found eligible when they meet the IDEA definition of a “child with a disability” in combination with state law and regulations. There are 13 different disability categories under which a student may be found eligible for special education and related services. These categories are listed below.
Other Health Impairment
Specific Learning Disability
Speech or Language Impairment
Traumatic Brain Injury
Multiple Disabilities Orthopedic Impairment
Visual Impairment, including blindness
3) Q. What happens if the student is not found eligible for special education?
A. The IEP team reviews the assessment results and determines whether or not the student is eligible for special education programs and related services. If it is determined that the student is not eligible, and the parent disagrees with this decision, the SELPA must provide information to the parent as to what the parent can do under IDEA.
4) Q. Can parents observe special education programs that are available in the SELPA?
A. Observation may be arranged when a parent is considering the SELPA’s offer of FAPE or LRE. Observations may be arranged through Special Education for all placements except county placements. Class visits/observations for county placements must be approved/arranged by the county principal via the Director II.
5) Q. What happens if a student is found eligible for special education, but the parent does not agree?
A. If a student is found eligible for special education and related services and the parent disagrees with that decision, or if the parent does not want his/her child to receive special education and related services, the parent has the right to decline those services. The school may provide the student with special education and related services only with parent consent.
6) Q. Does the school need parent consent to implement the IEP?
A. Yes. The school must obtain informed written consent from the parent before the initial provision of special education and related services to their child and must make reasonable efforts to obtain that consent. If parents do not respond to the request for consent for the initial provision of special education and related services, or refuse to give consent, the SELPA may not override the lack of consent and implement the IEP and may not provide special education services to the student.
7) Q. May a parent cancel special education and related services for his or her child or revoke consent after initially giving it?
A. Yes. A parent may cancel special education and related services or revoke consent for the continued provision of special education and related services. Once consent is revoked by the parent, the SELPA may no longer provide special education and related services to the student. This is considered a “revocation” of services. It is important to note, however, that if a parent declines or cancels special education for his or her child and later decides to reverse this decision, the evaluation process must start all over.
8) Q. Can the IEP be changed without holding an IEP meeting?
A. Yes. If the parent and school want to change the student’s IEP after the annual IEP meeting, both parties may agree not to convene an IEP meeting. Instead, the parent and school will develop a written document that will amend the student’s IEP. If IEP is changed, all IEP team members will be informed of the changes. Upon request, the school must give the parent a copy of the revised IEP.
9) Q. Does the IEP meeting have to be in person?
A. No. When holding an IEP meeting, the parent and school may agree to use other means of participation. For example, some members may participate by conference call.
10) Q. May a team member be excused from attending an IEP meeting?
A. Yes, under certain circumstances and only with the consent of both the parent and school (prior to the meeting). If the member’s area of the curriculum or related service is not going to be discussed or modified at the meeting, then he or she may be excused if the parent and school agree in writing. A member whose area of expertise is going to be discussed or changed at the meeting may be excused under two conditions:
· Parent (in writing) and school agree to excuse the member; and,
· Excused member gives written input about developing the IEP to the parent and the team before the meeting.
11) Q. Can a student be placed in the special education program without parent permission?
12) Q. If a student is eligible for special education services, would he or she participate in general education school programs?
A. It depends on each student’s individual needs. Students receiving special education services and related services are educated in the least restrictive environment (LRE). LRE is that placement or program that can meet the individual student’s needs and does so with a minimum loss of contact with general education class programs and peers. Students on public school campuses are integrated with general education students during the school day and other school sponsored activities. This may include participation in recess and lunch, non- academic activities or classes, or inclusion in many or all of the academic portions of the school day. All placements must be described fully in the IEP.
13) Q. What if a parent speaks a language other than English?
A. At any meeting a parent attends for which he/she needs an interpreter; the parent must notify the school special education department in advance, preferably in writing. The school must provide an interpreter if requested.
14) Q. Do parents have to sign the IEP document at the time of the meeting?
A. It is a goal to complete the IEP document at the meeting which includes parent signature. However, parents may choose to take the IEP home to review it further. If this is the case, then the parent should sign the section “in attendance only” at the IEP meeting. After taking more time to study the IEP document and being in agreement, then the parent should sign the IEP and return it promptly. Parents will receive a copy of the entire IEP document that is created at the meeting including the notes page.
If there is still disagreement, questions or clarification needed, the parent should call the student’s case carrier or the school administrator who attended the IEP. If the questions and/or concerns cannot be addressed at the school site level, the special education director at the SELPA office should be contacted. Parent rights allow many different ways to resolve disagreements. The SELPA is required to tell parents what those ways are and how to use them.
15) Q. What happens if the parent does not agree with part or all of the IEP?
A. If the student already has an IEP in place, and the parent disagrees with the new IEP, the old IEP will remain in effect. If only part of the new IEP is not agreed to, that part will not go into effect until the issue is resolved. There is place on the IEP document under consent where the parent can state the part of the IEP to which he/she does not agree.
16) Q. May IEP meetings be tape recorded?
A. Parents may record the meeting if they notify other members of the IEP team in writing at least 24 hours prior to the meeting. The school may also record the IEP meeting if it notifies the parent 24 hours prior to the meeting. However, if the parent objects, then the meeting will not be recorded by either party.
17) Q. What is a Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA)?
A. School districts and county school offices form regional groupings of districts and county office to ensure that special education services are provided to all eligible special education students.
18) Q. What is a Student Study Team/Student Success Team (SST)?
A. As a general education function, the SST is comprised of teachers, administrator, parent, and other school personnel, with the goal to review a student’s learning strengths and needs to plan alternative strategies to be used in the general education program.