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Special Education Information

What Is IDEA?

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) ensures that all children with disabilities are entitled to a free appropriate public education to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment and independent living. Prior to IDEA, over 4 million children with disabilities were denied appropriate access to public education. Many children were denied entry into public school altogether, while others were placed in segregated classrooms, or in regular classrooms without adequate support for their special needs (Katsiyannis, Yell, Bradley, 2001; Martin, Martin, Terman, 1996; U.S. Department of Education, 2010).

Part B of IDEA

Part B of IDEA is the section which lays out the educational guidelines for school children 3-21 years of age. By law, states are required to educate students with disabilities (Martin, Martin, & Terman, 1996). IDEA provides financial support for state and local school districts. However to receive funding, school districts must comply with six main principles set out by IDEA:

  • Every child is entitled to a free and appropriate public education (FAPE).
  • When a school professional believes that a student between the ages of 3 and 21 may have a disability that has substantial impact on the student's learning or behavior, the student is entitled to an evaluation in all areas related to the suspected disability.
  • Creation of an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). The purpose of the IEP is to lay out a series of specific actions and steps through which educational providers, parents and the student themselves may reach the child's stated goals.
  • That the education and services for children with disabilities must be provided in the least restrictive environment, and if possible, those children be placed in a "typical" education setting with non-disabled students.
  • Input of the child and their parents must be taken into account in the education process.
  • When a parent feels that an IEP is inappropriate for their child, or that their child is not receiving needed services, they have the right under IDEA to challenge their child's treatment (due process). (DREDF, 2008; Kastiyannis, Yell, Bradley, 2001; Turnbull, Huerta, & Stowe, 2004).
The steps to Receiving Special Education Services.
 
1. Communication between the school and parents/guardians. If the parent or guardian believe that their student may need special education support, please reach out directly to Mr. Nobles ([email protected]) or via phone (512.989.2672) with related information or submit a written letter to the front office. Should the school believe the student may need special education support, then Mr. Nobles will reach out directly to the parent/guardian to start the conversation.  In either case, both parties need to talk to gather information.
 
2. Once the school knows of the issue, they will draft up documents to be signed.  These documents will describe what will be tested and the types of tests that may be performed. They also include consent for the evaluation, we must have written approval before we can perform evaluations.
 
3. Once all questions have been answered and consent has been received, the school will set up testing to be performed by a Licensed Specialist in School Psychology (LSSP).  This individual is licensed by Texas to perform the needed testing to identify disorders and difficulties a student may have.  Depending on the student and the amount of testing needed, it can take a few hours to complete.  Evaluations are good for 3 years.
 
4. After all testing is completed, the LSSP will write a report indicating test scores and diagnosis for the student.  This report will be reviewed and sent to the parents to keep as well.
 
5. Once the report is received, the school will set up an Admission, Review, and Dismissal (ARD) meeting.  This meeting will be used to determine if the student needs special education and what types of services will be provided, this is called the Individual Education Plan (IEP).  We will also talk about accommodations for the student. The ARD team is comprised of many different people depending on the students grade, age, and possible services that will need to be provided.  At a bare minimum, the parent/guardian, administrator, general education teacher, and special education teacher will be present.  The parent/guardian can also bring other individuals they feel can help advocate and support the student.
 
6. Once the IEP is agreed to by ARD members, a copy of the IEP will be sent for parent/guardian to keep.  Accommodations will then be sent to staff to implement in the classroom.
 
7. After this, the ARD normally meets once a year to review progress and make changes to the IEP as needed.  Should something need to be addressed before an annual meeting, the school or parents can ask for another meeting at any time.
Students already receiving service that transfer to CSA.
 
Students that are currently receiving service through Special Education at another district will transfer service to CSA.  Service transfers often change some between districts as each offers different programs.  
 
If the parent/guardian has the latest evaluation and IEP documents, they should let Tyler Nobles know, as this can speed up the process.
 
Once documents are received the school will set up and ARD meeting to update the IEP for the student.
For more information regarding the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Dyslexia, Multi-Tiered Systems of Support, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, please visit the Texas Education Agency's Resources in Special Education in Texas website.
 
Please see below for a TEA-developed document intended to assist parents whose children may have been previously delayed or denied an evaluation under the IDEA in requesting compensatory services for their child.
Special Education Students that are 14 years and older.
 
On or before the students 14th birthday the ARD will begin to talk about life after high school.  We will begin to talk about how the student will earn credits for graduation.  Courses and classes the student will need to take based on interests and life after high school.  We will also talk about any life skills educations that may be needed.
 
Please see below for The Texas Transition & Employment Guide, which can also be found on TEA's website.