Individualized Education Programs

The Problems with Quarterly IEP Measurements

Whether it is a functional or an academic goal, waiting a quarter is waiting too long, because the goal might need to be adjusted sooner. Why not assess whether the goal needs narrowing or expanding as soon as possible?

I’ve never understood why Individualized Education Programs (IEP) include goals for quarterly measurements. As a parent, if my kids failed to do their chores for a week, I wouldn’t wait until the end of the quarter to assess the situation. Why wait an entire quarter to address a problem that’s clearly getting worse? Why not assess sooner and narrow the goal until it can be expanded in full—or expand the goal if the student achieves the goal sooner than expected?

Students Must Meet These Requirements to Qualify for Special Education

Your child is struggling in school. You suspect he or she might need special education.

Are your child’s struggles and your gut feeling enough for your child to qualify for special education?

No. However, your gut feeling and your child’s struggles shouldn’t be discounted either.

Failing Grades Are Not A Prerequisite For Special Education Evaluations

Failing grades are not a prerequisite for special education evaluation and/or IEPs or 504s.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) states that child find must include “Children who are suspected of being a child with a disability under §300.8 and in need of special education, even though they are advancing from grade to grade”. (Emphasis added. See 34 CFR 300.111(c)(1).)


Dear VDOE: Is it Okay for Compliance Specialist to Judge, Joke at the Expense of Parent Advocating for Her Child?

Yesterday I shared comments from a Virginia Department of Education staff member, which appear in a Letter of Findings (LOF) to which she contributed.

Here’s another curious comment that appears in the same document:

“This is my justification for the length of the narrative in this case—they made me do it!! ? I wanted to separate the three categories of requests that Parent had initiated las summer — IEP, ESY, Reevaluation, Reading inventory testing. Sheesh. It shows the confusing atmosphere that FFX handled professionally. She was making lots of FFX staff work, sometimes in conflict with others. Please edit and make it better, ML.”

Are Parents Members of IEP Teams and Eligibility Teams? Yes!

Parents are full members of IEP teams and eligibility teams. Their roles as members are not limited to basic participation and/or providing input. Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) mandates full membership on the teams, not just a seat at the table.

Parents have key roles in evaluations preceding eligibility determinations, in the actual eligibility determinations, and in IEP development following determinations. For evaluations, as one example, members must draw upon information from various sources, including parent input. This doesn’t mean schools simply have to consider parent input and then decide if they’ll use it or not. They are required to draw from parent input.

In this article, you’ll find federal regulations (as well as Viriginia regs for those in the area), that define and guarantee parents’ rights.

Compensatory Education, Part II: Beware of Timelines

During what time period will compensatory education be provided? One year? Five weeks? Three months? Until all of it is provided?

When compensatory education is proposed, you might face a school district that wants to provide it within a set period of time. Consider, instead, asking that it be provided until each minute owed has been provided in full.


Compensatory Education, Part I: What is Compensatory Education?

The United States Department of Education defines compensatory services as services that “are required to remedy any educational or other deficits that result from the student with a disability not receiving the evaluations or services to which they were entitled.” This could include a school’s failure to provide appropriate and/or timely initial evaluations, re-evaluations, and/or services.

In its fact sheet, titled “Providing Students with Disabilities Free Appropriate Public Education During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Addressing the Need for Compensatory Services Under Section 504,” USDOE Office for Civil Rights ( cited 34 C.F.R. § 104.6(a) and Barnes v. Gorman, 536 U.S. 181, 189 (2002) in support of the above definition.

Assistive Technology

IEP Teams Must Consider Assistive Technology Devices and Services

Pursuant to 34 C.F.R. § 300.324(a)(2)(v), IEP teams must consider assistive technology devices and services when they are developing a child’s IEP.

34 C.F.R. § 300.324(a)(2)(v) specifically states:

(a) Development of IEP—

(2) Consideration of special factors.

The IEP Team must—

(v) Consider whether the child needs assistive technology devices and services.

Schools are Required to Provide Access to Education Records Prior to IEP Meetings

Parents have the right to access their child’s education record in advance of IEP meetings.

This access is key to ensuring parents are able to meaningfully participate during IEP meetings and provide informed consent (or refusal) to a school’s proposal/s.

Access to education records, meaningful participation, and informed consent are three rights afforded to parents under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

Sample State Complaint: Noncompliance of Evaluation Timeline and FAPE

The is a complaint that was submitted to the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE).

VDOE found Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) in noncompliance.

VDOE’s Letter of Findings, in which it stated FCPS’s noncompliance is included, following the complaint.

It’s the Law: Assistive Technology Devices and Services

Both IDEA and Section 504 guarantee a Free Appropriate Education (FAPE).

This includes assistive technology devices and services. Examples include:

* A laptop that 1) scans worksheets, which the student can then type on (because typing might be easier than writing), and 2) can be used to take pictures of the front board, notes, or any other information the child needs.

* A computer with a screen reader, to help with literacy

* Access to Learning Ally and other sources for audiobooks

* Noise-cancelling head-phones

*Voice-recognition software
If your child needs assistive technology devices or services, under both IDEA and Section 504, your child has the right to be provided them.