Monday, May 2, 2016

Understanding First Steps

MissionTo assure that all Indiana families with infants and toddlers experiencing developmental delays or disabilities have access to early intervention services close to home when they need them. This is accomplished through the implementation of a comprehensive, coordinated statewide system of System Points of Entry (SPOE) and Local Planning and Coordinating Councils (LPCC) providing early intervention services called First Steps.
Additional Information
Indiana's First Steps system is a family-centered, locally-based, coordinated system that provides early intervention services to infants and young children with disabilities or who are developmentally vulnerable.
First Steps brings together families and professionals from education, health and social service agencies. By coordinating locally available services, First Steps is working to give Indiana's children and their families the widest possible array of early intervention resources.
Families who are eligible to participate in Indiana’s First Steps System include children ages birth to three years, who are experiencing developmental delays and/or have a diagnosed condition that has a high probability of resulting in developmental delay.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Transition IEP #sped

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. 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. 

When the CCC is going to make decisions about the student’s goals for what s/he will do after high school or about what the student needs in order to meet those goals, the student must be invited to the CCC meeting. The parent(s) decides if the student will attend the CCC meeting until the student legally becomes an adult (turns 18 years of age). If the student does not attend the meeting, someone from the school must talk to the student to gather information on the student’s likes and what he/she would like to do after high school. 

In order to develop an appropriate Transition IEP for the student, the school must collect data and information on the student that can be used to help plan for his/her life after high school. The collection of data on the student’s postsecondary expectations is referred to as age appropriate transition assessments. Age appropriate transition assessments are used to: identify the student’s strengths, preferences, and needs; assist in identifying appropriate postsecondary goals related to training, education, employment, and (if appropriate) independent living skills. They also help identify transition services needed to assist the student in reaching his/her postsecondary goals. Age appropriate transition assessments can be an informal assessment, such as an interview with the student, or a formal assessment, such as a verbal or written test on career readiness. The CCC must use all of the information from the age appropriate assessments when developing the student’s Transition IEP. 

ADDITIONAL COMPONENTS OF A TRANSITION IEP

A Transition IEP is very similar to the IEP for younger students, but the main focus is to prepare the student for accomplishing his/her personal goals for when s/he leaves high school. In addition to the things that must be included in any IEP (see the section on Individualized Education Programs), a Transition IEP includes: 
• Information from age appropriate transition assessments on the student’s strengths, preferences, and interests; 
• Measurable postsecondary goals (goals for “after high school”) related to training, education, employment, and (if appropriate) independent living skills; 
• Annual goals which are reasonably designed to enable the student to meet their postsecondary goals; 
• Courses of study (e.g., classes) that the student needs to take while in high school to reach his/her postsecondary goals; 
• Documentation of whether the student will work on a high school diploma or a certificate of completion; 
• The transition services needed to help him/her reach the postsecondary goals; 
• The names of the individuals or agencies who will provide the transition services; and 
• Documentation that the CCC reviewed information and provided information to the parent(s) on the kinds of adult services available through the state or local community, if appropriate.  

Friday, April 29, 2016

Share your Voice and VOTE

The Indiana primary election takes place on Tuesday, May 3, 6am-6pm, local time.  As noted in previous updates, many races are contested this cycle. View the list of candidates by political party and district.  Verify your polling place, and remember to take your photo ID. Registered voters may select either ballot in Indiana.

The Indianapolis Star offers information; simply enter your address to find your ballot and candidate info. The League of Women Voters offers nonpartisan voter information as well. Enter your address to build your ballot.

If you are a person with a disability, and you are unable to cast your vote privately and independently on primary election day, May 3rd, contact IPAS at 800-622-4845. When you are prompted, enter extension #466. Leave a message with your name, phone number and issue. Your call will be returned promptly.

Changing the IEP #sped

If the CCC makes changes to a student’s IEP, the school must provide the parent(s) with written notice before it can implement the changes. This written notice must also inform the parent(s) of what steps they may take should the parent(s) disagree with the proposed changes.

Once parental consent to begin services is given the student’s parent(s) should always be included in decisions by the CCC. However, written consent from the parent(s) is not required to revise the IEP. After communicating with the parent(s) about the IEP changes being made, the school has to provide the parent(s) with written notice before it can implement any of the proposed changes. This written notice must also inform the parent(s) of what steps they may take, should the parent(s) disagree with the proposed changes.

If the CCC has completed its annual review and/or revision of the IEP and the parent(s) and school agree to change the IEP without having the whole CCC getting together, the parent(s) and school personnel can change the IEP without getting together for an actual meeting. The school may ask that the agreement to change the IEP without the CCC meeting be put in writing or signed off on by the parent(s). Any changes to the IEP that the parent(s) and school agree to must also be put in writing (written into the student’s IEP).

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Written Notice and the IEP #sped

In addition to providing the parent(s) with a copy of the IEP, the school must also provide the parent(s) with a written notice that: 
• Describes what the school is proposing or refusing to offer. For example, if the parent(s) asked for 30 minutes of speech therapy two times a week, but the school wants to provide 30 minutes one time per week, the written notice would say that the school is proposing speech therapy for 30 minutes each week and is refusing the request for 60 minutes of speech therapy each week; 
• Describes all of the information the school used in decision-making; 
• Explains why the school made its decision(s); 
• Describes any other options the CCC considered; • Describes any other factors that are relevant to the school’s proposal or refusal; 
• Explains that the parent(s) has protection under the procedural safeguards and how to obtain a copy of the safeguards; 
• Explains what action the parent(s) can take if they disagree with what the school wants to do [applies only to IEPs written after the parent(s) consented to the initial IEP]; 
• Explains that if the parent(s) takes any actions to disagree with the IEP within the timeline, the school must continue to implement the student’s current IEP (rather than the proposed IEP); and 
• Provides a list of resources for the parent(s) to contact if they want help in understanding the notice or other special education rules. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

After The IEP is Developed #sped

Once an IEP has been developed, the school must provide a copy of the IEP at no cost to the parent(s) within 10 business days of the date of the CCC meeting. The school may also give the IEP to the parent(s) at the end of the meeting, or it may mail the IEP to the parent(s) at a later date as long as the parent(s) receives the IEP no later than 10 business days after the CCC meeting. 

Parental consent (written permission) must be obtained for the school to provide special education services for the first time. Once the parent(s) has given consent for the school to provide special education services, the school must continue to provide special education services included in the current IEP unless the parent(s) revokes (withdraws) their consent for services. 

Once parental consent to begin services is given the student’s parent(s) should always be included in decisions by the CCC. However, written consent from the parent(s) is not required to revise the IEP. After communicating with the parent(s) about the IEP changes being made, the school has to provide the parent(s) with written notice before it can implement any of the proposed changes. This written notice must also inform the parent(s) of what steps they may take, should the parent(s) disagree with the proposed changes 

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

POSITIVE BEHAVIORAL INTERVENTIONS, STRATEGIES, AND SUPPORTS #sped

One thing the CCC must consider is whether the student has any behaviors that interfere with the student’s learning or the learning of other students. If the student has these behaviors, the CCC is required to consider ways to address those behaviors, using positive behavioral interventions, strategies, and supports, planned interventions designed to prevent identified behaviors from occurring. 

Regardless of the student’s disability, if s/he has problems learning because of continuing behavioral problems or if the student’s behavior is disruptive to other students, the CCC must consider whether specific interventions are needed to help the student learn new behaviors or skills. Any needed interventions must be included in the student’s IEP and should be consistently implemented wherever and whenever the behaviors occur.

Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) – A process where data is collected and used to identify both a pattern of behavior and the reason or purpose of the behavior for the particular student. An FBA may be assembled based on existing data for the student or may involve getting written parental consent to collect new assessment data.

After collecting data on behaviors and identifying the likely reason they are occurring, the CCC develops strategies and supports to address the behaviors. For some students, a simple intervention of moving the student’s desk to the front of the classroom may make a difference. For other students, the interventions may be more involved. 

The CCC should also consider whether any personnel working with the student will require training in order to implement the strategies and supports suggested. The CCC may develop a behavioral intervention plan (BIP) to address behavior or may address behaviors through goals and objectives that are a part of the student’s IEP. Remember that the BIP is a plan that is developed and agreed upon by the CCC and integrated in the student’s IEP. 

At minimum, the BIP describes: • The student’s behavior, • Why the behavior occurs, • The positive interventions, strategies and supports that may be necessary to address the behavior and make sure that interventions are consistently implemented across different settings, • Any supports or technical assistance for staff that may be necessary to ensure the plan is supported and implemented, and • The skills that will be taught and monitored in order to change the student’s behavior, if applicable.