Does your child’s IEP include special education service hours, but you are unsure what exactly those services are?
This is a common concern my clients bring to me. Here’s the scenario: “Amy” has writing goals on her IEP. In middle school, she is assigned to a “co-taught” English class. Amy’s IEP may include all of the hours in English as “service” hours, or no hours of service at all. Both may be a problem. Amy’s parents ask the team, “what services is Amy getting to address her writing goal?” The answer from the team is “she is in co-taught English” This is NOT an acceptable answer. “Co-taught English” is a place and a course assignment, not a service.
“Co-Taught” classes are general education classes and are where the standard curriculum is taught to students with and without IEPs. The Maryland State Department of Education has said that “specialized instruction” is something in addition to the standard curriculum. They have also said that it is appropriate for the team to discuss and document any specific interventions that are being used.
It may be possible to get appropriate special education services inside co-taught English, because there may be opportunities for specialized instruction to be provided during that time, but that is probably not happening unless you can answer some basic questions:
Who (which staff person) is providing specialized instruction? How much specialized instruction (time)? Which days and times? What is the child missing during those times? Are staff using any specific curriculum, program or intervention? Is it one on one or in a group? If in a group, how many students are in the group? Do those students have similar needs and skill deficits? How are staff collecting progress data on IEP goals and objectives?
These questions also apply to elementary and high school students. If your team cannot or will not answer these questions, that’s cause for alarm.
If you need advice from an education lawyer or special education advocate, you can schedule a call HERE.
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