Advocacy Notes: Myths about IEPs, 504s,
Higher Education Admissions
Myth #1. Students should be moved from an IEP to a 504 plan for senior year because it “looks better” when they apply to college.
Colleges don’t ask students applying for admissions whether or not they have a disability (they’re not allowed to), and students don’t have to tell them if they don’t want to. Therefore, IEP teams should not let a students’ plan to attend college change the kind of educational plan they’re on as seniors, or take their services away because they’re worried about how this might affect their chances of getting into college. Teams should also know that there is no reason to send students’ IEPs with their applications – colleges don’t ask for this. (Students will register for accommodations after they enroll at college, and they will send their documentation directly to the disability services office.)
Click here to read through the rest of the May 2020 Update
TOPIC: With our school districts and regionalized programs closed due to the COVID19 pandemic, how can I continue to serve my students via distance learning?
This is certainly an unprecedented time in our nation and in the world. For the first time since the passage of the IDEA, students across the United States are unable to leave their homes to attend school in person.
Click here to read through the rest of the Late April 2020 Update
Success in mainstream classrooms when you have a hearing loss is often a substantial challenge for our students. Even in 2016 the option of meeting the needs of students with disabilities in virtual school learning programs was considered. A letter from the US Department of Education defined a school’s responsibilities to students with disabilities enrolled in virtual learning settings. The letter affirmed that virtual schools must carry out the requirements of IDEA just as they must in physical schools.
Click here to read through the rest of the Early April Update
Advocacy Notes: Legal Requirements for Providing Services to Children with Disabilities During the Coronavirus Disease Outbreak
The CDC has issued guidance to help administrators of public and private childcare programs and K–12 schools plan for and prevent the spread of COVID-19 among students and staff. Many decisions have been made by governments and school districts to close school campuses. The US Department of Education
has provided an FAQ document to assist in understanding the legal responsibilities of schools to provide services under IDEA during this health crisis.
Click here to read through the rest of the Late March 2020 Update
Questions parents should ask when looking for an educational program to meet the needs of their child with hearing loss
Only 1 in every 100 students with IEPs has qualified to receive specialized support due to hearing loss or deafness. As a low incidence program, the unique access and educational needs of these students requires specialized knowledge in how to appropriately meet these student’s needs. Families often lack the information needed to make informed decisions about the appropriateness of a school’s suggested program, staff, accommodations and related service support. The following questions are designed to assist families in what to ask when learning about a potential educational placement.
Click here to read through the rest of the Early March 2020 Update
TOPIC: We seem to have so many different meetings that we are asked to attend with the school district. What is the purpose for are all of the different special education meetings? What is a Transition meeting?
Special Education Meetings for Necessary Communication
Many families know that they have an IEP meeting once a year. However, the variety of IEP meetings that and are held, when they can be held, and who can request an IEP is not always clear to families or teachers. One type of IEP meeting that can be confusing to many families is the Transition IEP, and the confusion is heightened by the fact that some school districts will use the transition IEP to change the Triennial IEP date.
Following are the various types of IEP meetings:
Amendment IEP which is any IEP meeting held between the annual IEP meetings and can be requested by either the district or the family at any time. One amendment meeting is the Transition IEP.
Click here to read through the rest of the Late February 2020 Update
Captioning in the Classroom
My child can’t keep up with what is said, but the school said that they wouldn’t provide captioning…
Why would captioning be needed? Hearing loss decreases the amount of speech that is perceived, especially in large group listening environments like classrooms. Even with the most up to date hearing technology, normal hearing – or 20:20 hearing – is not restored. This puts students who are hard of hearing at high risk for increasing gaps in vocabulary and challenges keeping up with what their abilities would predict them to be able to perform in school.
Click Here to read through the rest of the Early February 2020 Update
TOPIC: I’ve asked the school to check a student’s hearing aids and FM/RM system daily and they refuse.
Documenting Daily Amplification Use is Legally REQUIRED in the U.S.
Per IDEA Sec. 300.113. (a) Each public agency must ensure that hearing aids worn in school by children with hearing impairments, including deafness, are functioning properly. (b) (1) Each public agency must ensure that the external components of surgically implanted medical devices are functioning properly.
Click Here to read through the rest of the Late January 2020 Update
Progress in Light of Circumstances – A Right for Every Student
I don’t think my child is making progress in reading…
Our question from the field: At a recent IEP meeting it seemed as though my child who has both hearing loss and other learning issues hasn’t made any progress in learning to read in the last year. I KNOW he can learn. The school didn’t seem surprised nor did they suggest any changes in the program….
The special education pendulum has swung away from segregated settings where students with special needs minimally mixed with ‘regular’ students in the 1980s to the current full inclusion model, where direct 1:1 instructional services are becoming increasingly rare. Students with hearing loss are already at high risk for ‘academic slippage’ due to their inability to completely access classroom communication without appropriate accommodations and supports. The move from pull-out services to provide intensive teaching in reading, language, and self-advocacy, places our students at even higher risk for developing increasing academic delays over time.
Click Here to read through the rest of the Early January 2020 Update
The special education pendulum has swung away from segregated settings where students with special needs minimally mixed with ‘regular’ students in the 1980s to the current full inclusion model, where direct 1:1 instructional services are becoming rare. Students with hearing loss are already at high risk for ‘academic slippage’ due to their inability to completely access classroom communication without appropriate accommodations and supports. The move from pull-out services to provide intensive teaching in reading, language, and self-advocacy, places our students at even higher risk for developing increasing academic delays over time.
Click here to read through the rest of the December 2019 Update
What program is most appropriate for
a preschooler with cochlear implants?
While this question needs to be answered on an individual basis, a 2004 court case provides important insights into what an appropriate program is – and is not.
Click here to read through the rest of the Early November Update
My student is being bullied
but the school isn’t taking it seriously!
Question from the field: My student is being bullied but the school isn’t taking the situation seriously. What can I do?
Students with hearing loss often struggle in social situations due to a variety of situations. They may not have the level of language sophistication as their peers. They may mis-hear or misunderstand, or they may have a lack of access to what is being said by their peers. All of these can lead to bullying and teasing by peers including systemic bullying. It is critical that the school administration and staff understand your concerns.
Click here to read through the rest of the Late October 2019 Update
Why Should the Ling Sound Test be done at school?
Question from the field: Can you please clarify the reason for the LING sound test. Why do families want us to do this at school, and how can we implement this without stressing out the general education teachers?
The Ling Sounds let us know how our students are both accessing and discriminating sounds across the speech spectrum. The purpose of conducting this listening check is not for us to check the student’s personal listening abilities, and it is not a time for us to work on their auditory skills or IEP goals.
Click here to read through the rest of the Late September 2019 Update
What are the key things that classroom teachers need to know in order to support my students?
Question from the field:
I have students whose IEPs call for staff inservice training prior to school starting or within the first couple of weeks. Some use hearing aids and others use cochlear implants, but they are all placed in general education classrooms. Knowing that the general education teachers have limited time, what are the key things that they need to know in order to support my students?
Click here to read through the rest of the Early September Update
Hearing loss/deafness is a low incidence disability that requires specialists in the field to assess, plan and provide appropriate instructional programs. Yet, in some schools, the DHH specialist is told they cannot advocate for their students. This is primarily due to resistance to funding the extra costs to providing appropriate supports and services to students with hearing loss.
Click here to read the rest of the August 2019 Update
Question from the field
: We are a small school district and only offer an ASL interpreter for students with hearing loss, but more and more students are now using spoken language. Are there interpreting services or supports that we need to offer these students who do not use ASL?
Depending on a student’s mode of communication, there are various options available for providing access in the educational setting. For the students who are receiving access to spoken language earlier and have better hearing technology, ASL is often not their primary language.
Click here to read through the rest of the Late April 2019 Update
Question from the field
: I have a student whose IEP calls for an FM system. However, the system is not in place, and we are more than half way through the school year. What can I do as the teacher of the deaf to help get this student their system?
Why FM/DM Systems?
Many districts are now referring to FM/DM equipment as HATS, or Hearing Assistive Technology Systems. The use of HATS in the educational setting not only provides better access to the linguistic information, but as a result can help with development of speech and language skills, increase incidental learning, and can help with social skills in the classroom.
Click here to read through the rest of the Early April Update
Question from the field
: We keep going around and around in the IEP process, not agreeing. What are our options?
We have had 4 amendment meetings since our daughter’s last IEP meeting. We are not in agreement, and at every meeting we seem to be going in circles. We have heard about due process, but don’t want the district to be mad at us. What happens in due process?
While the idea of due process or taking legal action can be scary for many families, and is not what anyone, either the family or the district wants, it can often have very positive results for the child, the family, and the district. If the team is continuing to have IEP meetings and getting no further in the process, then taking the conversation to the administration outside of the IEP meeting can lead to open, honest, and productive discussions.
Click here to continue reading the rest of the Early March 2019 Update