Special Ed Connection:Key points: · Take data before, after breaks to uncover regression-recoupment issues · Convene IEP meeting to discuss parents' ESY request · Alert parents to summer programs, camps available in community Follow 3 tips to respond to parents' requests for ESY services Holiday and winter breaks are fast approaching and now is the time to collect data to inform ESY decisions. Data collected before and after
school breaks helped the district in a recent Rhode Island case
appropriately determine that a student with ADHD, pervasive
developmental disorder, and behavioral difficulties did not need ESY
services. In East Providence School Department, 59 IDELR 240
(SEA RI 2012), the student's mother asserted that her child needed ESY
services to avoid behavioral regression. But the regression the mother
observed while the student was on breaks did not appear to jeopardize
the child's progress at school, the independent hearing officer noted. The student's occupational therapist
explained that the district considered the student's need for ESY by
looking at his progress after school vacations and long weekends. She
asserted that there was no evidence of regression. Moreover, the IHO noted, the student
was identified as having an average rate of learning and quickly adapted
to school. The mother claimed the student often became dysregulated and
did not want to attend school. However, district documentation
reflected teacher observations that the child regulated himself within a
few minutes of being in class and had mainstreamed himself with peers
without support. Finally, noting that none of the student's service
providers recommended ESY services, the IHO concluded the district's
decision could stand. "The family in the case was arguing
that the child needed ESY services because he was having problems at
home," said Sara Woolverton, director of special education for the Santa Monica-Malibu (Calif.) Unified School District. "I understand that families are in distress
and they are looking for whatever help they can get. But schools do
have to limit themselves to what the child needs for FAPE and look at
whether the child's problems are impacting him in the school
environment." Use data to drive ESY decisions,
sources say. When data do not indicate that a child needs ESY services,
talk to parents who are looking for help over the summer about what
other options are available. Consider these three tips:
1. Collect data before, after school breaks. Ask
staff to collect data a day or two before vacation and a day or two
after vacation to uncover regression-recoupment difficulties. "A
three-day vacation might not make a huge difference, but pay attention
to those one- or two-week vacations," said Woolverton. The key is to look at whether the
student has regressed so much over the school break that it takes longer
than the break itself for him to recoup the skill, said Woolverton. For
example: On Dec. 21, before the two-week holiday break, Sara was
reading 90 words per minute. On Jan. 7, when Sara returned from holiday
break, she was reading 85 words per minute. On Jan. 14, Sara was reading
90 words per minute. In this example, Sara would not have
regression-recoupment problems because she recouped her skills in an
amount of time that was shorter than the break, said Woolverton. Also, make sure to consider a child's behavioral problems when determining the need for ESY, said parent attorney Hope Kirsch ofKirsch-Goodwin & Kirsch PLLC in Scottsdale, Ariz. "ESY isn't just about
academics," she said. "I see more students who have
regression-recoupment difficulties with behavioral goals than academic
goals, mostly because school provides a very structured environment.
It's common for students to regress at home." The question IEP teams
must ask is: How quickly does the child recoup his skills, particularly
after long school breaks? Keep in mind that ESY services are
for children who need such services for FAPE. "Even if a child has a
difficult time at home during school breaks, if he recoups his skills
shortly upon returning to school and readapts to the school structure,
he likely won't qualify for ESY," said Kirsch.
2. Be sensitive to parents' requests. Parent
requests for ESY services can spike during hard economic times, said
Woolverton. "I think some of them want a place for their child to go,"
she said. Nonetheless, IEP teams should always meet to discuss a
parent's request for ESY services, even if staff members don't think
that the child will qualify, said Kirsch. "A lot of times, parents end up in my
office because there was a breakdown in communication or because they
have a feeling that school staff don't care about their child," she
said. Show parents that you respect them by convening an IEP meeting to
discuss an ESY request, using data to make informed decisions as a team,
and discussing their options if the student doesn't qualify for ESY,
3. Discuss other available options with families.
If the district determines that the child doesn't need ESY for FAPE and
believes that the parents are looking for help, talk with them about
other options that are available, sources say. "You have to take a firm stand on
what the district's limitations are. At the same time, be compassionate
and do your best to find resources for parents who do need something
additional," said Woolverton. Alert parents to any summer programs
that your district runs. "Our district runs a program that is fee-based,
but they don't charge more than it costs to run it," said Woolverton. There are also free or low-cost
summer camps and programs in many communities, said Woolverton. Explore
what's available in your area and share your findings with parents. Some
options may include summer camps; events hosted by park services,
community centers, and public libraries; and programs at local
universities. City park services and community centers often offer
activities and day camps that are little to no cost, she said. Public libraries often have story
hours and book clubs, or allow kids to come in and read or work on the
computer. "I don't recommend that parents leave their children
unsupervised if they are too young, so make sure you refer parents to
age-appropriate programs," said Woolverton. December 17, 2012
The Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) is a scholarship established to provide an education for "qualified students," and must include reading, grammar, mathematics, social studies and science. ESA 2013-2014 applications are now available. If you have a child with special needs and are interested in additional education options, assistance may be available through an Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA). The Empowerment Scholarship Account law went into effect on July 20, 2011.
A qualified student must be an Arizona resident who is identified as having a disability either by a Section 504 Plan or deemed eligible to receive special education services by a school district. Also, your child must have done one of the following:
Attended public school full-time for the first 100 days during the prior school year
Received a scholarship from a Student Tuition Organization that receives contributions to provide scholarships to students with disabilities pursuant to ARS 43-1505
Received an Empowerment Scholarship Account in the prior year
Prior to receipt of funding, parents must agree to provide an education in at least reading, grammar, mathematics, social studies and science. Furthermore, parents must not enroll the child in a school district or charter school, and release the school district from all obligations to educate the qualified student. Finally, parents must agree not to accept a scholarship from a School Tuition Organization. Upon completion of the application and other required forms, the state treasurer will deposit 90% of the state support level each individual student would have received into an Empowerment Scholarship Account. The amount varies by student and school district.
ESA funds can be used for the following:
Tuition and fees at a private school
An online learning program serving preschool through secondary school students
Educational therapies or services from a licensed or accredited practitioner
Fees for standardized testing, Advanced Placement exams, or any exam related to postsecondary admissions
Contributions to a qualified College Saving Plan (529 Plan)
Tuition or fees at an eligible postsecondary institution
Bank fees charged for the management of the ESA
ESA 2013-2014 New Applicants
ESA staff will begin accepting applications for the 2013-2014 school year beginning January 1-May 1, 2013. (Do not submit your application until January 1, 2013.)
ESA enrollment for 2013-2014 school year will only be offered one time.
The application process time is January 1-May 1, 2013 by 3pm.
The sooner that you submit your application along with required documents, the sooner ESA Staff will send out your Award Letter with the total award amount for 2013-2014 school year and your quarterly disbursement.
Visit http://www.azed.gov/esa/ for the information you need to determine if your child is qualified for the ESA and how to apply.
The American Pscychiatirc Assocation (APA) does not include Asperger's syndrome in its most recent edition of the psychiatrist's "bible," the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM-5.
The DSM is the manual that doctors use to diagnose patients with mental disorders. DSM-5 is the first major rewrite to the DSM in nearly 20 years.
The familiar "Asperger's," along with some similar disorders, will be lumped together under autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Other changes include entries for new disorders such as "hoarding disorder" or "disruptive mood dysregulation disorder (DMDD)," the latter characterized by abnormally bad and frequent temper tantrums. "Dyslexia" and other learning disorders remain.
Bring a Brown Bag Lunch & Please Join Us!
Guest Presenters: Hope N. Kirsch, Esq. & Lori Kirsch-Goodwin, Esq.
The presentation will begin with an overview of the federal special education law, “Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act” (IDEA), state law and notable case law decisions interpreting the legislation.
The presentation will also address:
• The rights of students with special needs in public and charter schools
• Whether a student is entitled to IDEIA protections at private schools
• Requirements of FAPE (free and appropriate public education)
• LRE (least restrictive environments)
• Evaluations and reevaluations
• The IEP itself
• Timeline and discipline procedures
• Other laws (No Child Left Behind, FERPA)
Helpful hints will also be provided that most parents do not know about and schools might not clearly inform the parents about. When: Monday, December 10, 2012
12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Campus for Exceptional Children
300 N. 18th Street
Phoenix, AZ 85006
Cost:$15 per person Arizona Autism Coalition Parent Members: You are eligible for a 20% discount using a discount code provided by the Coalition. For more information about the Coalition and this discount program, please visit their website at www.azautism.org or contact them via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For purchase order payments, please send P.O. to email@example.com.
The mother of a seven-year-old boy in
Phoenix, Arizona secretly videotaped the padded room in her son's school
after he had been left there for the better part of a school day. She
says she later learned he had been held in the room 17 times – though
the school disputes that number, saying he was there three times.
"I was disgusted," said Leslie Noyes, the boy's mother. "There was one
time that I know he was placed in the room a little after 10 a.m. He was
there until the school day ended at 3:30 p.m. They brought him lunch in
there. He ate it on the floor. He had urinated on the floor. They
wouldn't let him out to use the bathroom."
Read ABC TV's investigative report of the dangers of restraint and seclusion.