Explore Nueroscience in Education with Dr. Lori Desautels

A Tour Through a Magnificant Mansion/ An Introduction to Special Education Law

The Story of Special Education in the United States

Special education is specially designed instruction provided to students who have been
determined eligible through an educational evaluation. It must be provided at no cost to
the parent(s) and in accordance with the student’s IEP.

(Really a civil rights issue)

Once upon a time about 39 years ago to be exact, (1975) a huge home was built to protect children with exceptional needs and families. This home was and is a federal law. It was formed to protect children with exceptional needs and families. This federal law was named IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act). The purpose of this law was to ensure that children with disabilities would receive an appropriate and fair education! This law imposes many requirements on school districts and is the umbrella for protection and rights of families and children! The law was revamped in 2004 and each state has its own state law which actually gives more protection to children and families!
IDEA Law only supplies about 8-14% of the costs to schools and this low places a lot of pressure on states and local school districts. Now there are many rooms in this large house of federal law!! Let’s visit each room of this massive home and see who lives here and what happens in each space! Let’s go!

Living Area

Inside this room are educators, parents, and students with learning, physical and ‘or emotional challenges. It is in this living room area, we congregate, discuss and begin to look at the most significant aspects of this palatial home.

The six principles of IDEA ’04:
• Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE),
• Appropriate educational evaluation,
• Individualized Education Program (IEP),
• Least Restrictive Environment (LRE),
• Procedural safeguards (sometimes referred to as the Notice of Parent Rights
or NOPS), and parent participation

Kitchen- Case Conference Committee
This is where we all gather just like a real kitchen! We talk, prepare the food and meal and socialize! Our guests gather who come from different jobs, ages , interests, all sizes, some friends, some family.

1. Related services are services such as occupational therapy (OT), physical therapy (PT), an educational interpreter, transportation, etc. that are necessary to allow the student to benefit from his/her special education.

2. It is the responsibility of the case conference committee (CCC) to determine what services are appropriate depending on the student’s individual educational needs. The CCC is a group of individuals, including parent(s) and school personnel, that determines if the
student is eligible for special education and if so, determines the special education and related services to be provided to the student. The CCC must meet at least annually.

3. The CCC must meet:
• Within the stated timeline for an initial evaluation or reevaluation;
• At least annually;
• When requested by the parent(s) or school personnel;
• Within 10 school days of the date a student with a disability enrolls from another school district or state;
• Within 10 school days of a disciplinary change of placement;
• To determine an interim alternative educational setting (IAES); and
• Every 60 school days when a student with a disability has been placed on full time homebound services.

Family Room- IEP

This room brings a family together in an activity. We talk, plan, read, watch TV, we solve the day’s problems and we gather here often! It is the place of goal-setting, collaboration and planning and assessing.

1. Article 7 describes the process for parent(s) and school personnel to use in making educational decisions and developing the student’s individualized education program or IEP. An IEP is the written document, developed by parent(s) and school personnel, describing how the student will participate in the general education curriculum, and any special education or related services to be provided. Special education services must be provided in the least restrictive environment (LRE). This means that a student with a disability is educated with students without disabilities to the maximum extent possible for each individual student.

2. PARENT RESPONSIBILITIES: In order for the parent(s) of a child with a disability to
access a FAPE for a child, the parent(s) must:
• Give written consent for educational evaluations of the student;
• Participate as a member of the CCC in developing and revising the student’s
• Give written consent for the school to implement the student’s initial IEP;
• Partner with school personnel as the student’s advocate to identify and
ensure appropriate special education and related services; and
• Ensure the IEP is designed to meet the student’s unique educational needs in
the LRE appropriate for the child.

3. Individualized Education Program (IEP) – The written plan that describes
how the student will participate in the general education curriculum (if appropriate) and identifies the special education and related services that the school will provide to the student. Once the IEP is developed, the CCC must review the IEP at least one time each year and make changes to the IEP as needed.

Entry Way/ This is where we enter this majestic house! It is here in the entry, we are welcomed, assessed and told where to go ! There are 13 small bedrooms, each very cozy with an attached bathroom where accommodations and modifications can be used as we prepare for the school days! Below are the 13 bedrooms with baths ( supportive services)

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
• Blind or Low Vision (BLV)
• Cognitive Disability (CD)
• Deaf or Hard of Hearing (DHH)
• Deaf-Blind (DB)
• Developmental Delay (DD) (early childhood only)
• Emotional Disability (ED)
• Language or Speech Impairment (LSI)
• Multiple Disabilities (MD)
• Other Health Impairment (OHI)
• Orthopedic Impairment (OI)
• Specific Learning Disability (SLD)
• Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI

Transition IEP ( We’re getting ready to pull out soon our own!) This space is the home of the Transition Individualized Education Plan. It is here where we begin to load the car, make sure we have everything ready for our upcoming journey into a time where our support and services change because we are leaving this house and moving into our own apartment!

1. For students who will be turning 14 or entering into the 9th grade (or earlier if determined necessary by the CCC), the case conference committee (CCC) develops a Transition IEP to help the student begin working on the skills the student needs to meet his/her goals for after high school.
2. Transition goals may include:
• Going to school at a university, community college, or vocational/technical school,
• Participating in on-the-job training,
• Getting a specific job or exploring specific career options,
• Applying for adult services from a state or community agency, and/or
• Living independently.

Pool House

Service Plan for students who attend non-public schools
The pool house is a very important space and place in this mansion. It is here that students who do not attend public schools, by law can acquire services in a couple of ways. The public school corporation in this non-public school area can provide a service plan for children and adolescents who need the support and services for their learning!

1. A nonpublic school student with a disability receives special education and related services from the public school in accordance with a service plan. A service plan is similar to an IEP, but does not contain all of the components of an IEP. A service plan includes:
• The student’s present levels of educational performance,
• Measurable annual goals related to the services that will be provided,
• The special education and related services that will be provided,
• Information on whether the student will participate in statewide or districtwide
testing (e.g., ISTEP) and any accommodations the student will use during the test(s)
if it is applicable,
• Projected dates of when services will begin and end, as well as the length and
frequency of services to be provided.

2. Information on how the student’s progress toward the annual goals will be measured and how/when the school will inform the parent(s) of the progress.

3. Services to Students in Nonpublic Schools
Students generally receive a different level of service under a service plan than a student receives under an individualized education program (IEP). The full array of services available that are part of a free appropriate public education (FAPE) under an IEP are not required to be made available as part of a service plan. For example, the length and frequency of the services may be less than the student would receive through an IEP or the service plan may provide consultative services in the nonpublic school where, were the student enrolled in a public school program the services may be more direct. If the public school decides to provide the services at a location other than the nonpublic school, it must provide transportation for the student to and from the location.

I hope you have enjoyed this brief tour of a very famous mansion that is continually being remodeled and updated. There are many smaller rooms, (but no less important), and there are modifications and accommodations being made all the time!

Now we move outside for a bit of the extras!


Garden- is filled with beautiful flowers and plants that are very differentiated depending on the sunlight, soil, shade and nourishment these plants need. This is called the “Garden of Rti” It is here, where we begin to see which flowers and plants are ready to be cut and taken inside or left alone. All will require different levels of intervention and we tend to this garden until the needs of the flowers have been met.

1. It is here we begin to assess how our children are struggling with academics or challenged behaviorally. We have three tiers that provide different levels, intensity and frequency of instruction. It is through this process, we determine who is left to continue to grow at their own rate with added supports and resources or who needs to come inside for a while for specific nurturing.

2. As part of early intervening services, many schools are utilizing a systematic process referred to as response to intervention (RtI). The RtI process utilizes screening and periodic monitoring of progress of all students. Through this process students identified as needing additional educational or behavioral assistance are provided help through interventions to support each student’s unique needs for success. Students who do not make adequate educational gains with the supports are provided more structured and intensive supports with progress monitoring. If students are still in need of support, a referral for special education evaluation may be the next step.
3. It is important for the parent(s) to know that the RtI process is useful with any student who is not making sufficient educational gains in the core curriculum. Parental permission is not required as part of the RtI process. However, the parent(s) must be sent written notice if a student requires an intervention that is not provided to all students in the general education classroom.

The written notice for RtI services provided to each student’s parent(s)
must describe:
• The amount and type of data that will be collected regarding the
student’s progress and the general education services to be provided;
• The timeframe for which the data will be collected and reported to the
• The evidence-based strategies that will be used to increase the student’s
rate of learning to grade level;
• The parental right to request an educational evaluation to determine
eligibility for special education; and an explanation that:
In the event the student fails to make adequate progress after an
appropriate period of time, as determined by the school and the
parent(s), the school will request an educational evaluation.
In this case, the school will provide the parent(s) with written notice and
request written parental consent before an educational evaluation will
be conducted.

If the parent(s) give consent for an educational evaluation, the school
has 20 school days from the date it receives written parental consent to
conduct the evaluation and convene the CCC meeting (rather than the
50 school days for other initial educational evaluations)

Added Extras (We will discuss these on the next tour!)
BIP (part of the IEP)

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