Special programs is a child-centered program added to the regular school program to meet the needs of students with disabilities. A full continuum of special education services is available within the district. Students who qualify for a specific disability listed in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) are uniquely entitled to special education services. IDEA describes the disabilities covered under the legislation as well the specific responsibilities of school districts to students who qualify as disabled under IDEA. With regard to IDEA a free appropriate public education means an education at public expense, under public supervision, that meets the state’s education standards and complies with the Child’s IEP. Services can include instruction in the classroom, at home, in hospitals and institutions. Learning disabilities cover a wide spectrum of disorders ranging from mild to severe. They can include mental, physical, behavioral and emotional disabilities. Special education refers to a range of educational and social services provided by the public school system and other educational institutions to individuals with disabilities who are between three and 21 years of age.
Special Programs is responsible for providing district-wide direction and support services for students who qualify for special education services, qualify for Section 504 protections, our English Language Learners, and students who are at risk of dropping out of school.
Also included in the umbrella of special programs services are programs that serve students who are economically disadvantaged, homeless, pregnant, or receiving homebound services.
These programs are governed by State Compensatory Education, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The foundation of today’s special education law was passed in 1975 and enacted in 1977. This was Public Law 94-142, The Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975.
Although each of these programs has a unique mission, function, goal, and objectives; all, have the distinction of looking at each student as an individual within the context of the educational setting and providing support services to ensure graduation.
Who Is Eligible?
To receive special education services, students with disabilities must be at least three years old but under twenty-two years old. Hearing impaired and visually impaired students may receive these services from birth and as long as they have not reached their twenty-second birthday by September 1 of the year of enrollment.
In order for a child to qualify for special education services, they must be found to have one of the 13 categories of special education and it must adversely affect their educational performance.
· Emotional Disturbance
· Hearing Impairment
· Intellectually Challenged
· Multiple Disabilities
· Orthopedic Impairment
· Other Health Impaired
· Specific Learning Disability
· Speech or Language Impairment
· Traumatic Brain Injury
· Visual Impairment
Students who are eligible for special education and related services are provided these services as determined by the Admission, Review and Dismissal (ARD) Committee and detailed in the Individual Education Plan (IEP).
What should a parent do if they suspect their child may have a disability?
First and most important is to talk to your child's teacher. Express your concerns and get the teachers opinion on your child's learning needs. If after consulting with teacher(s) and you believe your child may qualify for special education services, request in writing to have your child assessed. The results of the assessment will determine if your child is eligible for services.
What happens if my child is not eligible for special education services?
If the ARD (Admission, Review, Dismissal Committee) decides that your child is not eligible for special education services, the school system must tell you this in writing and explain why your child has been found "not eligible." Under the IDEA, you must also be given information about what you can do if you disagree with this decision.
Read the information the school system gives you. Make sure it includes information about how to challenge the school system's decision. If that information is not in the materials the school gives you, ask the school for it.
What happens if my child is eligible for special education services?
The next step is to write what is known as an Individualized Education Program – usually called an IEP. After a child is found eligible, a meeting must be held within 30 days to develop to the IEP.
An Individualized Education Program (IEP) is a written statement of the educational program designed to meet a child's individual needs. Every child who receives special education services must have an IEP.
The IEP has two general purposes:
· to set reasonable learning goals for your child
· to state the services that the school district will provide for your child
How can you help in the development of the IEP?
The purpose of the IEP meeting is to develop your child's Individualized Education Program. You can prepare for this meeting by:
· making a list of your child's strengths and weaknesses
· talking to teachers and/or therapists about your child
· visiting your child's class and perhaps other classes that may be helpful
· talking to your child about his or her feelings toward school
It is a good idea to write down what you think your child can accomplish during the school year. It also helps to make notes about what you would like to say during the meeting.
What happens during an ARD meeting?
During the ARD meeting, the different members of the ARD Committee share their thoughts and suggestions. If this is the first ARD meeting after your child's evaluation, the team may go over the evaluation results, so your child's strengths and needs will be clear. These results will help the team decide what special help your child needs in school.
Remember that you are a very important part of the ARD Committee. You know your child better than anyone. Don't be shy about speaking up, even though there may be a lot of other people at the meeting. Share what you know about your child and what you wish others to know.
After the various team members (including you, the parent) have shared their thoughts and concerns about your child, the group will have a better idea of your child's strengths and needs. This will allow the team to discuss and decide on:
· the educational and other goals that are appropriate for your child; and
· the type of special education services your child needs.
The ARD Committee will also talk about the related services your child may need to benefit from his or her special education. Depending on the needs of your child and the services to be provided, your child's IEP could be carried out:
· in regular classes
· in special classes (where all the students are receiving special education services)
· in special schools
· at home
· in hospitals and institutions
· in other settings
What is Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE)?
Free Appropriate Public Education, or FAPE, is an educational right of children with disabilities in the United States that is guaranteed by the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Under Section 504, FAPE is defined as “the provision of regular or special education and related aids and services that are designed to meet individual needs of handicapped persons as well as the needs of non-handicapped persons are met and based on adherence to procedural safeguards outlined in the law. ” Under the IDEA, FAPE is defined as an educational program that is individualized to a specific child, designed to meet that child's unique needs, provides access to the general curriculum, meets the grade-level standards established by the state, and from which the child receives educational benefit. The United States Department of Education issues regulations that define and govern the provision of FAPE.
To provide FAPE to a child with a disability, schools must provide students with an education, including specialized instruction and related services that prepares the child for further education, employment, and independent living.
What is Least Restrictive Environment?
By law, schools are required to provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment that is appropriate to the individual student's needs.
"Least restrictive environment" (LRE) means that a student who has a disability should have the opportunity to be educated with non-disabled peers, to the greatest extent appropriate. They should have access to the general education curriculum, or any other program that non-disabled peers would be able to access. The student should be provided with supplementary aids and services necessary to achieve educational goals if placed in a setting with non-disabled peers. Academically, a resource room may be available within the school for specialized instruction, with typically no more than two hours per day of services for a student with learning disabilities. Should the nature or severity of his or her disability prevent the student from achieving these goals in a regular education setting, then the student would be placed in a more restrictive environment, such as a special school, classroom within the current school, or a hospital program. Generally, the less opportunity a student has to interact and learn with non-disabled peers, the more the placement is considered to be restricted.
Full and Individual Evaluations
Appropriate evaluations are administered and the data collected are used in determining eligibility for special education services and developing the Individual Education Plan (IEP).
Special Education Instruction
The instructional arrangements and settings for teaching students with disabilities include mainstreamed (instruction in regular classrooms with special education support), resource classroom, self-contained class, vocational adjustment class, homebound and speech therapy.
These support services are intended to enable students with disabilities to benefit from special education and include occupational and physical therapy, music therapy, orientation and mobility training, visual therapy, school health services, transportation and counseling.
School staff, other agencies, parents and students participate in a set of activities beginning by age 16, designed within an outcome-oriented process. These activities promote movement from school to post-secondary education, vocational training, employment, independent living and/or community participation.
Speech Therapy is provided to students with speech/language impairments through a variety of delivery models including individual, small group and collaborative therapy.
Pre-School Program for Children with Disabilities (PPCD)
This program is housed at Little Cypress Elementary and provides services for three, four and five year old children with varied disabilities. The students are usually served collaboratively in a large classroom with pre-k students. The program is staffed by a special education teacher and pre-k teacher assisted by paraprofessionals.
Career and Technology Education Department
Vocational education for students with disabilities is provided through the Career and Technology Education Department at LCM High School. It is also provided in the community with the support of a Vocational Adjustment Coordinator.
OCARC Sheltered Workshop
This site provides a realistic job training environment to prepare students with more severe disabilities with the work skills needed to become competitively employed.
Learning in Functional Environments (L.I.F.E. SKILLS)
These classes are designed for students with mild to severe mental retardation, autism and other cognative disabilities for the purpose of teaching practical/functional skills in realistic environments.
Extended School Year Services
If determined aprropriate by a student's ARD committee, services are provided during the summer to prevent regression of skills mastered during the school year.
Training for parents and adult stuendts is offered annually on such topics as identification of students, the ARD process and state assessment. Parents are notified by letter of training opportunities.
Parents of students with disabilities in LCM that are interested in other opportunities for training on special education topics, should consider visiting the website of the educational service center in Beaumont, www.esc5.net, and select "Workshops" Under the Texas logo, select the link "Sign up for a membership!" Enter all the required information (marked with red asterisks). Choose Region 5 from the region dropdown menu. For "District," scroll to our district name. For "Campus/Building," enter the abbreviation for the campus your child attends (LCE, LCI, LCJH, LCMHS, MMS, MVE). For "Assignment," scroll and select "Parent" or "Other." Once you have been notified that your account is set up, you can view information about upcoming workshops. If you are interested in attending any of these training sessions, please contact us so that we can discuss assisting you with the registration fee. If you do not have access to the internet and would like to attend training, contact us and we will help you locate information about possible workshops that may be helpful for you and your child.
For more information about these training opportunities, please contact the LCM Special Programs Office (409-883-6970). We look forward to seeing you.
Parents are strongly encouraged to become active participants in the development of their child's individual education plan through ARD committee meetings, scheduled campus activities, transition planning, and training sessions presented by the Special Programs Department.
Special Education Legal Framework
College Resources for Students with Disabilities
Phone: 409-883-6970 Address 6579 FM 1130 Orange, Tx 77632 Fax: 409-883-8027