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Supporting Academic Success

Navigating Individualized Services in the Public School System


Plan for today

Issues that may increase academic
Levels of intervention
The process of referral and evaluation
Components of an Evaluation
Parental rights, disagreements and due
Eligible domains
Strategies for management and intervention


Child Abuse and Academic

Children with histories of trauma often have problems in school,
due to:

Disruptions in their living situation

Behavioral problems related to trauma
Cognitive problems related to trauma
A lack of developmental or academic support

These difficulties can lead to cognitive deficits or behavioral

problems which make it difficult to succeed academically.
In young children, we often see delays in social/emotional
functioning, language development, or fine and gross motor
A lack of language development often makes it difficult for the child to get
their needs met, which can exacerbate behavioral problems.



Individuals w/Disabilities Education

Special Education is mandated through the
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
(IDEA, re-authorized in 2004).
Congress enacted IDEA to provide students
with disabilities the right to a:
Free and appropriate public education (FAPE)
In the least restrictive environment (LRE)
Through the development and implementation of
an Individualized Education Program (IEP)


Addressing Developmental

Before the age of three, developmental delays are

addressed by Regional Centers through the Early Start
We often identify delays through the use of the ASQ, and refer
to Early Start to address delays
CATCH, Head Start or Therapeutic Preschools are also good
referral sources to support developmental success and
school readiness

After the age of three, these deficits are addressed

through school districts through the RTI or IEP process
(children remain eligible until 22).


When to explore a referral for


Young child demonstrates significant developmental

delays (ages 0-5)
Child demonstrates behavioral problems in the school
environment (ages 3+)
Child demonstrates problems in academic performance
(ages 5+)


Possible Interventions
Response to Intervention (RTI)
A special intervention(s) utilized to correct problems, and
hopefully prevent the need for further services
The childs lack of response to the intervention can be utilized
to argue for additional services

504 Plan
Special adaptions to the classroom setting, process of
instruction, or curriculum to assist students in learning

Individualized Education Program

An individualized plan for instruction
Sets specific goals
Outlines students placement and services


Evaluation and Eligibility Process


Components of an Assessment
Hearing and vision screening
Results of RTI Intervention (should include documentation of
progress monitoring)
Review of existing data;
Social/developmental history
Observation across settings, to assess academic, functional
and behavioral skills;
Communication evaluation
Educational evaluation;
Psychological evaluation, to include an intellectual
Behavioral/emotional evaluation which may include a
behavior/emotional skill rating.


IEP Eligibility Criteria

(A) Autism
(B) Deaf-blindness
(C) Deafness
(D) Hearing impairment
(E) Mental retardation
(F) Multiple disabilities
(G) Orthopedic impairment
(H) Other health impairment
(I) Serious emotional disturbance
(J) Specific learning disability


Other Health Impairment

Commonly used with children who have histories of
intra-uterine drug/alcohol exposure
Will often demonstrate problems with :

Affect regulation
Short-term memory/vigilance

Usually need documentation of exposure to qualify, such

as child welfare or medical records

IDEA also specifically mentions ADHD as a chronic

medical condition that may qualify under this


Serious Emotional Disturbance

Children with significant emotional/
behavioral problems that prevent them from
participating in school:
1) An inability to learn which cannot be explained by
intellectual, sensory, or health factors.
2) An inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal
relationships with peers or teachers.
3) Inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal
circumstances exhibited in several situations.
4) A general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression.
5) A tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears
associated with personal or school problems.
6) Being schizophrenic.


Specific Learning Disability

Difficulties accessing the curriculum
Can include learning disabilities, ADHD, or even
unexplainable failure to progress (as long as it
doesnt fit under a different domain)

A severe discrepancy between intelligence

and academic ability, or
Was defined as a 1.5 SD difference between
intelligence and academic performance
Also may be defined by a significant delay

Failure to progress under evidence-based



Determining Eligibility
The assessment generally results in:
A determination of IEP eligibility under one of the
14 domains, or
Eligibility for accommodations through a 504 plan

If the parent disagrees with the assessment

plan or eligibility determination, they can:
Request an additional evaluation be conducted at
public expense
An outside evaluator assesses the student, the school
district pays for it

Initiate the resolution process


The IEP Meeting

Attended by Sp.Ed. Teacher, Parents, and anyone else on the
team (regular Ed. teacher, speech therapist, psychologist,
occupational therapist).
All must attend, can only be excused if parent allows it.

The parent may also bring an advocate, such as the childs

Five Components:

Current Levels
Goals and Services



Special Day Class
Occupational Therapy
Adaptive Physical Education
Assistive Technology


Managing Problematic Behavior

Classroom/Behavioral Support Plan (BSP/CSP)
The team will develop a CSP to address behavioral difficulties in
the class
Interventions must be developed to replace maladaptive behavior
with alternative acceptable behaviors

Functional Analysis Assessment (FAA)

If the child demonstrates serious behaviors, or the CSP isnt
effective, and IEP meeting will be held to arrange a FAA, an
assessment by someone training in Functional Analysis

Behavioral Intervention Plan (BIP)

Developed following the FAA detailing interventions that will be
utilized to address behavioral problems or crisis


Resolution Process
Parents may disagree with . . .
Eligibility determination
Services offered
Placement decisions

If parents disagree . . .
1) They should first attempt to resolve their differences with
the team.
2) If they cant, a resolution meeting is held.
3) If issues persist, the parent may file a formal due process
complaint with the State Department of Education, which
will result in a court or hearing or mediation.