Galt Advocacy Special Education

 Frequently Asked Questions

Q – What is an Individual Education Plan (IEP)?

A – A legal document that details the personalized learning needs and goals for a child with a disability as defined by law when the child attends a K-12 grade educational institution that receives public funding.

IEPs are required under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) for every child receiving special education services.

Q – What are the 13 IDEA categories? 

A – autism;  deaf-blindness; deafness; emotional disturbance;  hearing impairment; intellectual disability; multiple disabilities; orthopedic impairment; other health impairment; specific learning disability; speech or language impairment; traumatic brain injury; or visual impairment

Q – What is the process of an IEP?

A – The basic IEP process is: Referral, evaluation, eligibility, IEP, placement, instruction, and annual review. Evaluations must be conducted within 60 days of receiving parental consent for the evaluation.

Q – How do I know if my child needs an IEP?

A – When children are struggling, they express it in their behaviors. It’s their own way of crying out for help.

You will begin to see that he/she are having a hard time reading, writing, comprehending basic information and two step instructions at grade level. State test will also indicate the child is struggling in school.

Factors that will take place to determine if your child will need an IEP:

  • The teacher has tried alternate strategies.
  • The disability becomes more obvious as the school work increases in difficulty.
  • 1 of the 13 IDEA categories fits the description of your child’s performance in school..
  • You have ruled out other causes..

Q – How do I ask the school and teacher for an IEP?

A-It is always recommended to request an IEP in writing to your child’s teacher. The parent and teacher can ask for the child to be evaluated for special education. You must suspect a learning disability in your child to request an evaluation so they can receive supportive services and avoid for the process to be delayed.

Q – What is the difference between an accommodation and a modification?

A – An accommodation changes how a student learns. A modification changes what they are expected to learn.

Q – How do I know if my child is making progress towards IEP goals?

A – When the iep process is approached in the following way, and goals are written this way, you can monitor your child’s school work to make sure he is progressing toward these goals, knowing that they are based on grade-level and state content standards.

  • Comprehensive Evaluation: should include assessments tailored to the problems for which the child was referred for evaluation. The evaluation should identify specific points where a child’s learning processes break down, and how that impacts his classroom learning.
  • Explicitly stated present levels of performance: should provide you baseline data in very specific terms about what your child can and cannot do in a particular academic or functional area.
  • Appropriate measurable goals and benchmarks: Annual goals and benchmarks in your child’s IEP should be measurable and linked to your child’s present levels of performance, as well as to your state’s academic content standards. (Note: “Benchmarks” are measurable steps toward a child’s IEP goals. Although IDEA 2004 eliminated the legal requirement for benchmarks, regular progress reports are still mandated by law, and many schools continue to use the term “benchmarks.”)
  • Continuous progress monitoring: scientifically based practice that is used both to assess a child’s academic performance, and to evaluate the effectiveness of instruction. Academic performance is measured weekly or monthly. Progress toward meeting the child’s goals is measured by comparing expected rates to actual rates of learning. Instructional techniques are adjusted to meet individual learning needs based on these measurements.

 Q – When is it appropriate to seek a Due process?

A – A due process is used to resolve disagreements relating to the identification, evaluation, educational placement or provision of a free, appropriate public education (FAPE) to a child who needs or is suspected of needing special education and related services. Considerable preparation is needed to present a case adequately. 

Q – What do I need to do to prepare for a due process hearing?

A – Parties should be prepared to do the following for a hearing:

  • Gather and submit evidence.
  • Choose whether to hire or consult with an attorney. A person who is not represented by an attorney may be referred to as appearing “pro se.” This is a Latin term that means the person represents himself or herself in the legal proceeding.
  • Question and cross examine witnesses.
  • For civil rights violations, research California Department of Education’s site. It’s full of helpful information. And it’s free!
  • It’s very important to be informed about your local school and state’s education system. I advise most parents to research the school. What is the school curriculum? What is the schools specialty- math, literature, arts? What are the average test scores (this one says a lot about a school)! Graduation percent? Can the school provide the services needed for my child with learning disabilities to succeed? Go to that PTA and school board meeting, Look into other parent’s opinions and comments on the school.

For civil rights violations, research California Department of Education’s site.
It’s full of helpful information. And it’s free!

Website support
There is plenty of useful information on the web which parents can access without needing to pay for a membership – explaining IEP’s, 504 plans, parents rights. For example, if your child is facing discrimination based on their disability, race, skin color and/or economic status, the ACLU has a great site with information on your child’s educational rights. Here are just a few of the sites that can be invaluable to you.

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Galt Advocacy
1160 North Dutton Avenue, Suite 200