Assistive Technology Device – any device, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain or improve the functional capabilities of a child with a disability. Does not include a medical device that is implanted. IDEA 300.5
Assistive Technology Service – any service that directly assists a child with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device. IDEA 300.6
Child Find – the district that you live in must identify all children that live there with disabilities including homeless children, children of the State and children attending the school system, either private or public schools. This is where many districts fail when they fail to identify children who are having difficulty with learning. When a child is registered with a disability they should start the special education identification process as soon as that child is registered, including getting the parents the laws and information they need in order to help their child be successful. The school is supposed to intervene and start helping that child immediately. Too many times this is not the process and the child suffers needlessly because the district fails to provide what the child needs immediately. Complaints can be filed on this if the district either failed to identify your child or failed to serve your child when you told them they were disabled. In Ohio the districts are supposed to even go door to door to find children that are disabled living in their district! This doesn’t happen but that is what the law says. IDEA 300.111
Complaint Management System – the system that allows a parent to complain to the State Education Agency (SEA) in order to keep that local district from discriminating against your disabled child. Formal complaints can be filed in writing. The complaint will be investigated in a timely manner and a judgement will be made either against or in favor of the school district once the evidence is gathered and evaluated by the state department. This type of complaint is not a Due Process Complaint system.
Confidentiality – Your child’s records are to be kept confidential, which means that no one except for personnel directly involved in your child’s education is to have access to your child’s records. This means that other parents, school secretaries, school personnel who do not work with your child directly, etc. may not see your child’s records. This also means that teachers and school personnel are not to discuss your child’s educational needs with anyone not directly in contact with your child. This prevents teachers in the break room from discussing your child with other teachers or support staff, like janitors, secretaries, other parents, etc. What happens in the meetings and in the classroom with your child is confidential as well as the records for your child’s education. The laws that protect your child’s records are IDEA and FERPA (Family Educational Rights Privacy Act). IDEA 300.610
Due Process Complaints – Formal complaint system, in which a Hearing Officer oversees the proceedings in which lawyers, witnesses, and testimonies are utilized. The laws say that a parent does not need a lawyer to present their case but it is my opinion that the parents need to have legal representation, either in the form of an advocate or a lawyer since the school district will have their lawyer present. I only use this as a last resort since it is very difficult to win at this level for the parent especially if they cannot afford an attorney. This process cannot take more than 45 days by law. IDEA 300.507-300-518
Evaluation – Procedures used to determine whether a child has a disability and the nature and extent of the special education and related services that the child needs. IDEA 300.15
Extended School Year – special education and related services that are provided to a child with a disability beyond the normal school year of the public agency that is in accordance with the IEP, at no cost to the parent, and keep the child from regressing in his education. This is used for children who have memory difficulties or get services such as therapies that lapses in time will negatively impact their learning or physical abilities to continue with their education in the fall. For example a child with problems in memorization would definitely need ESY services so that they would not forget the information they learned from the previous year, or a child that receives physical therapy for their legs so that they can remain mobile and participate in physical education with their class. IDEA 300.106
FAPE (Free Appropriate Public Education) – Special education and related services that are free, meet the standards of the state education association, are appropriate, and provided in conformity with an IEP. IDEA 300.17
IEP (Individualized Education Program) – a written statement for a child with a disability that is developed, reviewed and revised in accordance with 300.320-300.324 IDEA. This statement clearly defines the child’s present level of performance and gives the goals to meet his educational requirements. The IEP should state the goals, who is responsible for the goals, at what percentage the goals should be met, how it will be evaluated and the date of expected accomplishment. The IEP is a legal document and once signed the district has the responsibility to ensure its completion. IDEA 300.320-324
IEP Team – The IEP team consists of the parents of the child, the child’s regular teacher, special education teachers and support staff, such at the Occupational Therapist (OT), Physical Therapist (PT), Vision and mobility specialists, Speech and Language Therapist, transition service participants, any person the parents wish to bring with them to the meetings, such as an advocate or lawyer, grandparents, siblings, friends, etc. and any other personnel who have special expertise regarding the child. The child may also be included, but it may be more pertinent to have them at the meetings once transition services are started for the child. There also needs to be the person who is authorized to allocate funds and resources for the school district in attendance. This person is usually the Special Education Director although at times it could be the Superintendent, Special Education Supervisors, Psychologist, Principal, etc, depending on who the district allocated for that responsibility. The parent should always make sure this person is in attendance before proceeding with the meeting, without this person the meeting should not take place. IDEA 300:321
LEA (Local Education Association) – This is a fancy name for your home school district. IDEA 300.28
LRE (Least Restrictive Environment) – Each public agency must ensure that children with disabiltites are ecucated with children who are non-disabled and that special classes, separate schooling, or other removal of children with diabilites from the regular educational environment occurs only if the nature or severity of the disabiltity is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily. This means that disabled children should be served in the regular classroom with the other children as much as possible. However many times disabled children need smaller classrooms with special assistance in order to succeed. IDEA 300.114
Prior Notice/Content of Notice – This is written notice that informs the parents of the district’s proposal or refusal to initiate or change the identification, evaluation or educational placement of your child. In other words if you request an evaluation or a change to the IEP and the district refuses to do this then they must provide you with written notice as to why they are refusing to evaluate or change the IEP. Also if they try to initiate a change or evaluation they must first notify you of this action. If they do not do this you may file a complaint against the district. IDEA 300.503
Procedural Safeguards – the assurances by the State that your child will be served appropriately and according to the law. The safeguards are laws that protect your child from discrimination and the complaint management system.
Records Access – You have the right to inspect and examine all your child’s records when you request without undue delay, especially before an IEP meeting. You also have the right to have copies of all your child’s records when requested ‘without undue delay’. The district may charge you for the copies unless that charge would cause you an ‘undue financial burden’ and then they may not charge you for them. I would not expect any charge higher than .10 a page. Most districts don’t charge for this. I suggest parents inspect records at least once a year.(See Sample Documents, Records Request) The records should also have a sheet in them telling who has had access to those records in the past. These records are confidential and should be kept under lock and key until you request them. IDEA 300.501
Related Services – transportation and such developmental, corrective, and other supportive services as are required to assist a child with a disability to benefit from special education and includes speech-language pathology and audiology services, interpreting services, psychological services, physical and occupational therapy, recreation , including therapeutic recreation, early identification and assessment of disabilities in children, counseling services, including rehabilitation counseling, orientation and mobility services, and medical services for diagnostic or evaluation purposes. Related services also include school health services and school nurse services, social work services in school and parent counseling, and training. This has a limitation, on surgically implanted devices, such as pacemakers, cochlear implant, etc. IDEA 300.34
Secondary School – High School.
Special Education – specifically designed instruction, at not cost to the parents, to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability including instruction conducted in the classroom, home, hospitals and institutions and other settings. It includes the following: Speech and Language pathology services and other related services, travel training, vocational education. IDEA 300.39
SEA – State Educational Agency
Supplementary Aids and Services – aids, services and other supports that are provided in regular education classes, other education-related settings, and in extracurricular and nonacademic settings to enable children with disabilities to be educated with non-disabled children to the maximum extent appropriate in accordance with 300.114-300.116. IDEA 300.42
Transition Services – services that help a child move from school to post school activities, such as college, employment, independent living and community participation. Planning for transition should begin when the child enters high school. You start by helping the child to identify what they want to do when they graduate. If that goal is college then you start planning what courses the child needs to take in order to get into college. They will also need to have activities of daily living so they can survive in a dorm or apartment. They will need to know how to access public transportation. They will need to be self advocates and those skills have to be taught. If employment is the goal then they will need to procure training for the employment, and perhaps adaptation of the work site. Many districts do evaluations for aptitude testing to see where the child’s interests lie for the transition services planning. The IEP should reflect the goals of the student for transition and the steps it will take to reach that goal. IDEA 300.43
Transportation – Travel to and from school and between schools; travel in and around school buildings; and specialized equipment (such as special or adapted buses, lifts and ramps), if required to provide special transportation for a child with a disability. IDEA 300.34