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Developing Culturally Responsive Approaches to Serving Diverse Populations: A Resource Guide for Community-Based Organizations

(2017, March) | Useful to Parent Centers and other service providers who work with diverse populations.

As communities become more culturally and linguistically diverse, community-based service organizations (CBOs) are called to do more to reduce disparities in access and use of important social services. An important strategy is developing cultural competency—behaviors, attitudes, and policies that enable CBOs to work effectively in cross-cultural situations.

This 30-page resource guide identifies easily accessible resources on cultural competency that CBOs can use to become more responsive to the needs of their targeted populations, and to help attract funds to support their important work. Below we provide the Table of Contents for the guide, to give you an snapshot of the kinds of information and resources you’ll find within.

Find the guide online at:
http://www.hispanicresearchcenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Cultural-Competence-Guide.pdf

Producer of the Guide
The National Research Center on Hispanic Children and Families, a project funded by the Administration for Children and Families at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Guide’s Table of Contents
1. Defining and Understanding Cultural Competency
2. Choosing Interventions for Diverse Populations
3. Conducting a Needs Assessment
4. Measurement Considerations for Diverse Populations
5. Collaboration Through a Diversity Lens
6. Workforce Diversity—Organizational and Staffing Capabilities
7. Budgeting—The Cost of Responsiveness to Serving Diverse Populations

Table 1. Resources for defining and understanding cultural competency
Table 2. Resources addressing the understanding of diverse populations
Table 3. Resources for conducting a needs assessment
Table 4. Resources for measurement and measure considerations
Table 5. Resources for collaboration tools
Table 6. Resources for organizational and staffing capabilities
Table 7. Resources for budgeting

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Otras Leyes Importantes

Foto de la bandera de los EEUU.

Actualizado, marzo de 2017

 

Hay muchas leyes en los Estados Unidos relevantes a las personas con discapacidades. La más poderosa es el Acta para la Educación de Individuos con Discapacidades, conocido en inglés como “Individuals with Disabilities Education Act” o IDEA (por sus siglas). Esta es la ley de educación especial en el país. Si quiere aprender más sobre IDEA, explore los enlaces bajo nuestra página Sobre la Ley IDEA.

Esta página se enfoca en algunas otras leyes importantes y relevantes a las personas con discapacidades–especialmente las que pertenecen al campo de la educación y los derechos del individuo. Estas son:

  • ESSA | The Every Student Succeeds Act | La Ley Cada Estudiante Triunfa (anteriormente conocida como La Ley Que Ningún Niño Se Quede Atrás) | La ley federal para la educación general y pública
  • ADA | Americans with Disabilities Act | El Acta para los Norteamericanos con Discapacidades
  • Sección 504 | Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 | Una ley federal de derechos civiles diseñada para eliminar la discriminación
  • Leyes de los Derechos Civiles | No es una ley en sí mismo. Nuestros derechos civiles se deriven de múltiples leyes.

 

ESSA, the Every Student Succeeds Act (La Ley Cada Estudiante Triunfa)

Antes de su reauthorización por el Congreso en 2015, esta ley se conocía como NCLB (Que Ningún Niño Se Quede Atrás).

Sobre La Ley Cada Estudiante Triunfa (ESSA).
Resumen de las provisiones de la ley, del Departamento de Educación de EE.UU.
https://www2.ed.gov/espanol/essa/index.html

Que Ningún Niño se Quede Atrás ha llegado a su fin con la aprobación de la ley Cada Estudiante Triunfa.
Este blog fue escrito inmediatamente después de la reautorización de la ley en 2015. Describe los cambios y discute las cosas más importantes que necesita saber.
https://www.understood.org/es-mx/community-events/blogs/in-the-news/2015/12/10/no-child-left-behind-comes-to-an-end-with-the-passage-of-the-every-student-succeeds-act

Tres recursos de AFT, the American Federation of Teachers.

¿Cómo va a afectar la Nueva Ley ESEA/ESSA a las escuelas en su Estado?
(How will ESSA affect schools in your state?)
http://www.aft.org/sites/default/files/how_will_esea_essa_affect_spanish.pdf

Presentación: Puntos Claves de ESSA
(Presentation: Key Features of ESSA)
http://www.aft.org/sites/default/files/essa_ppt_121115_spanish.pdf

ESSA | Preguntas Más Frecuentes
(ESSA | FAQs)
http://www.aft.org/sites/default/files/essa_faq_spanish.pdf

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ADA: El Acta para los Norteamericanos con Discapacidades

El Acta de 1990 para Americanos con Discapacidades (ADA) considera ilegal la discriminación en contra de personas con discapacidades que satisfacen los criterios, o son calificadas para ser empleados. El ADA también prohíbe la discriminación de personas con discapacidades en servicios locales o gubernamentales, acomodaciones públicas, transporte y telecomunicaciones.

Conozca sus derechos y responsabilidades.
https://az-es.db101.org/az/situations/workandbenefits/rights/program2.htm

Servicios y apoyos del gobierno sobre el ADA.
http://www.ada.gov/infoline.htm
Si tiene preguntas acerca del ADA, llame a la línea de información ADA en el Departamento de Justicia de los Estados Unidos, en donde personal que habla español le atenderá: 1.800.514.0301 (Voz), 1.800.514.0383 (TTY).

También puede obtener muchas publicaciones sobre el ADA. Algunos ejemplos: ADA Preguntas y Respuestas (31 páginas), Una Guía a las Leyes y los Derechos de Personas con Discapacidades (21 páginas sobre las 11 leyes federales que protegen los derechos de las personas con discapacidades), Una Guía para las Personas con Discapacidades que Buscan Empleo (2 páginas). ¡Y hay mucho más!
http://www.ada.gov/publicat_spanish.htm

Varias publicaciones sobre el ADA.
http://www.southwestada.org/html/Spanish/index.htm

Centros de Cuidado Infantil y la ley ADA.
¿Necesita información sobre la ley ADA y los centros de cuidado infantil? ¿Quiere saber qué dice la ley ADA sobre cuándo los programas o centros deben admitir a niños con discapacidades?
http://www.childcarelaw.org/docs/Q%20&%20A%20ADA%20Spanish%202009%20Final%203-3-09.pdf

Preguntas y respuestas sobre el ADA.
http://www.ada.gov/adaqa02_spanish.htm

El ADA: Sus derechos como individuo discapacitado en el empleo.
Este folleto explica la sección del ADA que corresponde a la discriminación en el trabajo.
http://www.jan.wvu.edu/espanol/DerechosIndividuou.doc

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Sección 504 de la Ley de Rehabilitación de 1973

La Sección 504 de la Ley de Rehabilitación de 1973 es una ley de derechos civiles diseñada para eliminar la discriminación sobre la base de la discapacidad en cualquier programa o actividad que reciba asistencia financiera federal.

Hay diferencias significativas entre la Sección 504 e IDEA. La definición de una discapacidad es mucho más amplia bajo la Sección 504 que bajo IDEA. Todos los estudiantes de IDEA están cubiertos bajo la Sección 504, mientras que no todos los estudiantes de la Sección 504 están protegidos bajo IDEA. Como consequencia, cuando se determina que un estudiante no es elegible para servicios de educación especial bajo IDEA, es posible que será elegible bajo la Sección 504.

Para aprender más sobre esta ley poderosa, visite cualquier de estos recursos:

Sección 504 | Resumen muy breve del Departamento de Educación de EE.UU.
https://answers.ed.gov/link/portal/28022/28025/Article/734/Secci-n-504

¿Qué es la Sección 504?
http://www.mhas-la.org/assets/Ed020Sp.pdf

Programas de IEP y Planes 504: ¿Qué diferencias hay?
http://www.drcnh.org/IDEAv504Spanish.pdf

Entender el Plan 504.
https://www.understood.org/es-mx/school-learning/special-services/504-plan/understanding-504-plans

¿Qué son los planes 504? | De Univisión.
http://www.univision.com/noticias/educacion-especial/que-son-los-planes-504

¿Qué debe hacer si la escuela discrimina a su hijo con discapacidad?
http://abogados.lawinfo.com/recursos/ley-de-la-educacion/-qu-debo-hacer-si-la-escuela-discrimina-a-mi-.html

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Leyes que Nos Aseguran Ciertos Derechos Civiles

La Oficina Para Derechos Civiles (OCR, por sus siglas en inglés) del Departamento de Educación de los EE.UU. es un organismo que tiene como tarea hacer cumplir las leyes federales para asegurar que las instituciones educativas que reciben asistencia financiera federal no cometan acciones discriminatorias. Las leyes de derechos civiles representan un compromiso nacional de terminar con la discriminación en actividades o programas educativos. Esas leyes incluyen:

  • El Título VI de la Ley de Derechos Civiles de 1964 (prohíbe la discriminación por razones de raza, color y origen nacional);
  • El Título IX de las Enmiendas en la Educación de 1972 (prohíbe la discriminación por razones de sexo);
  • La Sección 504 de la Ley de Rehabilitación de 1973 (prohíbe la discriminación por razones de discapacidad);
  • La Ley de Discriminación por Edad de 1975 (prohíbe la discriminación por razones de edad); y
  • El Título II de la Ley de Estadounidenses con Discapacidades de 1990 (prohíbe la discriminación por discapacidad por parte de entidades públicas, entre las que se incluyen distritos escolares públicos, colegios y universidades públicos, escuelas vocacionales públicas, reciban o no asistencia financiera federal).

Las leyes de derechos civiles se aplican a la mayoría de las instituciones de educación del país, dado que la mayoría de esas instituciones reciben algún tipo de asistencia financiera federal. Esto significa que las leyes de derechos civiles abarcan:

  • casi 15,000 distritos escolares;
  • más de 4,100 colegios y universidades;
  • aproximadamente 5,000 instituciones que otorgan certificados por debajo del nivel de título asociado, como escuelas de capacitación para conductores de camiones y escuelas de cosmetología; y
  • miles de otras instituciones como bibliotecas, museos, centros de rehabilitación vocacionales e instituciones correccionales.

A continuación encontrará algunos enlaces relevantes a estas leyes y sus derechos civiles.

Guía sobre las leyes de derechos de discapacitados.
Una publicación del Departamento de Justicia de los Estados Unidos.
http://www.ada.gov/cguide_spanish.htm

Conozca sus derechos: información para personas con conocimiento limitado del inglés.
http://www.lep.gov/LEPKYR-Spanish.pdf

Derechos individuales y civiles.
https://www.justice.gov/espanol/temas/derechos-individuales-y-civiles

Protecciones federales contra la discriminación por origen nacional.
https://www.justice.gov/crt/protecciones-federales-contra-la-discriminacion-por-origen-nacional-1

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Derecho a Recibir una Explicación Completa Sobre Todas las Garantías Procesales

Link checked, March 2017
In English | En inglés

Al menos una vez al año, los padres de un niño con una discapacidad deben recibir de la escuela una explicación de todas las garantías procesales disponibles a ellos, como padres, bajo IDEA. Esta explicación se llama la “Notificación Sobre las Garantías ProceUn padre, leyendo la notificacion de la escuela.sales.” En está página, examinaremos el propósito y contenido de este aviso, los tiempos en qué Ud. lo recibirá, y otros aspectos de esta importante notificación.

_____________________________
 

¿Cuál es el propósito de la notificación sobre las garantías procesales?

El propósito de la notificación es simple:  informar a los padres completamente sobre las garantías procesales disponibles bajo IDEA. Estas representan sus derechos como padres y las protecciones que tienen, igual que a su hijo, bajo la ley y sus regulaciones.
 

¿Cuándo debe Ud. recibir esta notificación?

IDEA dice que las escuelas deben dársela a los padres solamente una vez durante el año escolar, excepto que también deben dar una copia a los padres—

  • en la referencia inicial o la petición de una evaluación por parte de los padres;
  • al recibir la primera queja Estatal (bajo §§300.151 hasta 300.153) y al recibir la primera queja de proceso debido (bajo §300.507) en un año escolar;
  • de acuerdo con los procedimientos de disciplina en §300.530(h); y
  • ante la solicitud de un padre.

Su distrito escolar local también puede colocar una copia actualizada de la notificación sobre las garantías procesales en su sitio Web, si éste existe.

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¿Qué debe contener la notificación sobre las garantías procesales?

La notificación sobre las garantías procesales debe incluir una explicación completa de todas las garantías procesales disponibles bajo IDEA relativas a—

Evaluaciones educativas independientes

Notificación previa por escrito

Consentimiento de los padres

Acceso a los expedientes educativos

Oportunidad para presentar y resolver quejas a través de los procedimientos de la queja de proceso debido y los de quejas Estatales, incluyendo: (a) el periodo de tiempo en el cual presentar una queja; (b) la oportunidad para la agencia de resolver la queja; y (c) la diferencia entre los procedimientos de la queja de proceso debido y los de quejas Estatales, incluyendo la jurisdicción de cada procedimiento, los temas que pueden surgir, los calendarios para hacer presentaciones y tomar decisiones, y los procedimientos relevantes

La disponibilidad de la mediación

La ubicación del niño durante el periodo en que cualquier queja de proceso debido esté pendiente

Procedimientos para estudiantes que estén sujetos a ubicación en un entorno educativo alternativo interino

Requisitos para la ubicación unilateral de los niños en escuelas privadas por parte de los padres a cargo público

Audiencias sobre las quejas de proceso debido, incluyendo los requisitos para revelar los resultados y recomendaciones de la evaluación;

Apelaciones a nivel Estatal (si es aplicable en el Estado)

Acciones civiles, incluyendo el periodo de tiempo en el cual presentar esas acciones

Los honorarios de los abogados [§300.504]

Además de contener esta información explícita, la notificación sobre las garantías procesales disponibles bajo IDEA debe estar escrita en lenguaje comprensible.

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¿Qué califica como “lenguaje comprensible?”

Bajo IDEA, La notificación sobre las garantías procesales (igual que la notificación previa por escrita) debe ser—

  • escrita en un lenguaje comprensible por el público en general; y
  • provista en la lengua materna del padre u otro modo de comunicación usado por el padre, a menos que claramente no sea factible hacerlo así. [§300.503(c)]

Si la lengua materna u otro modo de comunicación del padre no es un lenguaje escrito, la escuela debe tomar pasos para asegurar—

  • que la notificación se traduzca oralmente o por otro medio al padre en su lengua materna u otro modo de comunicación;
  • que el padre entienda el contenido de la notificación; y
  • que hay evidencia por escrito de que estos requisitos se han cumplido.

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¿Puede la escuela enviar la notificación sobre las garantías procesales por correo eletrónico?

Sí, a la discreción de los padres. IDEA dice que un padre de un niño con una discapacidad puede elegir recibir la notificación a través del correo electrónico, si la escuela hace disponible esa opción.

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¿Hay un ejemplo de una de estas notificaciones?

Sí, hay un modelo del formulario preparado por el Departamento de Educación de los EE.UU., pero sólo está disponible en inglés. El modelo del formulario está en línea, en:
http://idea-b.ed.gov/static/modelForms.html

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¿Qué debe hacer el padre si no entiende la notificación provista por la escuela?

Ud. puede ponerse en contacto con su Centro de Capacitación e Información para Padres (en inglés, parent training and information center, o PTI). Cada estado tiene al menos un PTI, y ellos típicamente ofrecen explicaciones, materiales informativos, y entrenamiento a los padres sobre sus derechos bajo IDEA.

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¿Quiere seguir leyendo sobre los derechos de los padres bajo IDEA?

Use estes enlaces para saltar al derecho de su interés. El derecho de los padres a:

Recibir una explicación completa sobre todas las garantías procesales disponibles bajo IDEA y los procedimientos Estatales para presentar quejas (Ud. está aquí ahorita)

Inspeccionar y revisar los expedientes educativos de su niño

Participar en reuniones relacionadas a la identificación, evaluación, y ubicación de su niño, y la provisión de una educación pública gratis y apropiada a su niño

Obtener una evaluación educativa independiente (IEE)

Recibir previa notificación por escrito sobre asuntos relacionados a la identificación, evaluación, o ubicación educacional de su niño, y la provisión de una educación pública gratis y apropiada a su niño

Dar o negar su consentimiento antes de que la escuela pueda tomar ciertas acciones en cuanto al niño

No estar de acuerdo con decisiones tomadas sobre estos asuntos

Resolver disputas, incluyendo el derecho de apelar determinaciones.

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Conducta | Comportamiento

Una chica joven, sonriente.Actualizado, marzo de 2017
Sobre la conducta en inglés | About behavior in English

 

CPIR se complace en conectarle con recursos de información en español que puede usar para aprender más sobre cómo tratar los desafíos de conducta. Es un asunto que preocupa muchas familias. Si su hijo manifiesta problemas de conducta en la escuela, es especialmente importante trabajar con la escuela:

  • para identificar dónde y en cuáles circunstancias los problemas ocurren; y
  • para diseñar un plan de intervención que incluye apoyos positivos de la conducta.

Hay muchas cosas que usted y la escuela pueden hacer, tanto juntos como individualmente. Para mayor información, siga leyendo.

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Educación Especial para Niños Especiales

Su niño, el cual recibe educación especial, tiene un Programa Educativo Individualizado (en inglés, Individualized Education Program, o IEP). Este es un plan escrito que describe el tipo de ayuda que su niño necesita en la escuela. Por ejemplo, si su niño tiene un problema del aprendizaje, su IEP podría describir la ayuda adicional que recibirá su niño en lectura. Si su niño tiene un impedimento visual, el IEP podría tratar los servicios necesarios para que su niño pueda aprender a moverse de una manera segura en la escuela y otros lugares.

El IEP también podría incluir planes para ayudar a mejorar problemas de conducta. Esto es verdad sin importar qué discapacidad tiene su niño.

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Tratando los Problemas de la Conducta

Igual que los niños sin discapacidad, muchos niños con discapacidades tienen problemas en controlar su conducta. Si su niño tiene problemas con la conducta en la escuela, hay muchas cosas que usted y la escuela pueden hacer. Las siguientes son algunas sugerencias.

Paso 1: Reúnese con la escuela
Es muy importante que usted y la escuela hablen sobre la conducta de su niño. Solicite que la escuela organice una reunión del equipo que escribió el IEP de su niño. (Usted es uno de los miembros de este equipo.) Como equipo, comparta observaciones sobre la conducta de su niño que causa problemas. Por ejemplo, hable sobre:

  • ¿Cuándo se comporta mal su niño?
  • ¿Qué hace? (En otras palabras, describa la mala conducta de su niño.)
  • ¿Dónde se comporta mal? ¿Sólo en algunas clases? ¿En todas las clases?
  • ¿En una sóla? ¿Usted, como padre, observa esta conducta en casa?

Las conductas desafiantes se exhiben de muchas maneras. Un niño puede negarse a hacer los deberes de la sala de clase, otro podría lanzar un libro a través de la sala, y otro podría morder o dar patadas.

A pesar de lo que su niño esté haciendo, es importante averiguar por qué su niño se comporta mal. De acuerdo con los expertos, las conductas problemáticas ocurren porque al final la persona obtiene algo que desea. La persona usualmente desea:

  • algo positivo—como atención extra o un objeto físico; o
  • escapar algo negativo—como, por ejemplo, una actividad aburrida o una tarea que es demasiado difícil.

Por lo tanto, es útil que las familias y las escuelas hablen sobre lo que ven cuando el niño se comporta mal. Considere estas preguntas:

  • ¿Cuándo se comporta mal su niño?
  • ¿Qué ocurre justo antes de la conducta, algo que pueda causarla?
  • ¿Qué ocurre justo después de la conducta? Esto podría reforzar la conducta—es decir, es probable que la conducta ocurra de nuevo.
  • ¿Qué está tratando de decir, obtener, o lograr por medio de la conducta?
  • ¿Está buscando algo positivo? ¿Hay algo negativo que desea evitar?

Considerando estas preguntas durante la reunión de IEP podrían ayudar al equipo del IEP en:

  • hablar sobre la conducta de su niño,
  • evitar culpa, e
  • identificar la razón por la cual su niño se comporta mal.

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Paso 2: Hable sobre servicios para ayudar a su niño
Si su niño no se comporta bien en la escuela, ésto probablemente está afectando su aprendizaje o el aprendizaje de los demás. Cuando ésto ocurre, el equipo del IEP debe hablar sobre servicios y apoyos para ayudar a su niño. De hecho, la ley nacional sobre educación especial lo requiere. La ley se conoce como El Acta para la Educación de Individuos con Discapacidades (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, o IDEA). Bajo IDEA, cuando un niño con discapacidades tiene problemas con la conducta, el equipo del IEP debe considerar maneras de tratar con aquella conducta.

Hay muchos servicios que la escuela puede proporcionar para ayudar. Estos incluyen:

  • la evaluación de su niño para encontrar la causa del problema de la conducta (ésta se conoce como evaluación funcional de la conducta);
  • incluyendo estrategias para la conducta e intervenciones en el IEP para tratar con la conducta de su niño;
  • escribir un plan para tratar con la conducta de su niño (éste se conoce como plan para intervenir con la conducta);
  • proporcionar servicios relacionados específicos (tales como servicios psicológicos, de asesoramiento o trabajo social) para tratar con las preocupaciones emocionales y de la conducta; y
  • proporcionar apoyos positivos de la conducta a su niño mientras esté en la escuela.

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Paso 3: Hable sobre apoyos positivos de la conducta para su niño
Los apoyos positivos de la conducta (PBS, “positive behavior supports”) son una manera effectiva de ayudar a las personas con conductas desafiantes. En lugar de usar castigos, las escuelas y padres trabajan juntos para corregir la conducta por medio de un enfoque positivo, considerado y respetuoso. PBS a veces requiere proporcionar al alumno una mayor selección o control sobre sus actividades. Siempre involucra enseñar al alumno maneras más apropiadas de comportarse. Las escuelas han encontrado que este enfoque disminuye dramáticamente las conductas problemáticas.

Hable con la escuela sobre el uso de apoyos positivos de la conducta para su niño. Si la escuela desea mayores informaciones sobre el tema, usted puede sugerir que visiten el siguiente sitio de la Web: www.pbis.org. Allí encontrarán mucha información útil sobre el tema.

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Paso 4: Trabajen juntos para tratar con los problemas
Trabajando juntos, usted y la escuela podrán encontrar maneras de mejorar la conducta de su niño. Mantenga la conversación abierta. Hable además con otros grupos, individuos y organizaciones. Hay mucho que aprender sobre las conductas desafiantes—y mucha información disponible. ¡Póngala a trabajar para el bien de su niño!

Paso 5: Comuníquese con su PTI
Cada estado tiene un centro PTI. El PTI es su Centro de Capacitación e Información para Padres (Parent Training and Information) center. Si la conducta de su niño está causando problemas en la escuela, podría ser útil comunicarse con el PTI de su estado. Ellos le pueden dar más información sobre cómo trabajar efectivamente con la escuela. Pueden también ayudarle a comunicarse con personas, agencias y recursos que pueden ayudar. Si su niño ha sido suspendido o expulsado de la escuela, el PTI es un recurso valiosísimo de información y asistencia.

Identifique su PTI en esta página:
http://www.parentcenterhub.org/find-your-center/

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Recursos en español

Información general sobre la disciplina en el hogar.
La publicación Disciplinando a su Hijo describe las estrategias adecuadas de disciplinar según la edad del niño: 0-2, 3-5,6-8,9-12 y de 13 años en adelante.

La disciplina.
Una hoja informativa de la American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

¿Como el temperamento afecta la forma en que su hijo se comporta?
Nueve características diferentes de temperamento afectan la manera en que su hijo se adapta a la escuela, a sus compañeros y al hogar.

Reforzando pequeños cambios en el comportamiento.
¿Está confundido sobre cómo controlar la conducta difícil de su hijo? Recuerde que cada paso que él tome hacia una mejor conducta, es un paso en la dirección correcta.

Cuando un niño pelea o muerde.
Otra de la American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Cuando su hijo dice “¡No!” Estrategias para manejar la resistencia.
Un experto explica cómo controlar la resistencia al identificar el propósito que dicha conducta tiene para el niño.

Cómo controlar sus emociones y conducta, independientemente de qué tan irrespetuoso sea su hijo.
Este artículo es un producto de Great Schools.

La conducta como una manera de comunicación.
¿Por qué el comportamiento desafiante y qué hacer al respecto? PBS ofrece varias publicaciones para padres de niños con discapacidades, incluyendo la publicación llamada Comportamiento Desafiante en los Niños.

Administrando estrategias para caracteristicas problematicas del temperamento.
¿Su hijo tiene características de temperamento extremo? Aprenda cómo puede ayudarlo a que modifique y controle sus características sensibles en diferentes circunstancias.

¿Busca una serie de artículos?
Las emociones y las conductas es una de las áreas bajo la cual el sitio KidsHealth ofrece información para padres.

Desórdenes de la conducta.
Una hoja informativa de la American Academy of Child and Adolscent Psychiatry.

Los niños con el desorden de desafío y oposición.
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State Complaint, in Detail

Picture of a magnifying glass and its shadow.

Links updated, March 2017

A state complaint is very much what it sounds like-–a letter you’d write to an official state agency to report an issue, conflict, or problem. Any organization of individual may file a state complaint (including those from another state). This makes state complaint an important mechanism for resolving disagreements between schools and others (such as parents or organizations).

There are other mechanisms for resolving disputes, and you can find out about those by returning to the menu “Resolving Disputes Between Parents and the School System.” Here, however, the process of state complaint will be thoroughly explained without again mentioning that other options exist by which individuals and organizations might register their disagreement with the school system and have it addressed.

To read IDEA’s exact words, visit IDEA’s regulations on state complaint.

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Who may file a state complaint?

A state complaint may be filed by an organization or individual, including an organization or individual from another state.

This is an important difference between state complaints and mediation and due process complaints. Those two dispute resolution options—due process complaints and mediation—require either the child’s parent or the public agency (e.g., the school system) to initiate the process. (Public agency is defined at §300.33).

The person who files a State complaint is referred to as the “complainant.” This term is used throughout this article, so remember it!

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Where does IDEA talk about state complaint?

The 2004 Amendments to the IDEA (by this, we mean the statute itself, as passed by Congress) and prior versions of that statute do not include State complaint procedures. Rather, it is IDEA’s final Part B regulations and their predecessors that have required each state to adopt written state complaint procedures consistent with IDEA’s provisions at §§300.151 through 300.153. These provisions will be excerpted at relevant points in this discussion.

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What written procedures is a state required to adopt?

Among other things, the written procedures that a state adopts must:

  • provide a way for individuals and organizations to file a state complaint with the State Education Agency (SEA); and
  • if the state so chooses, also provide a way for a complaint to be filed with the school system itself and have the school system’s decision on the complaint be reviewed by the SEA. [§300.151(a)]

These procedures must be widely disseminated to parents and other interested individuals, including parent training and information centers, protection and advocacy agencies, independent living centers, and other appropriate entities.

Because the SEA has a general supervisory obligation and authority for special education systems in the state, its procedures for resolving state complaints must include remedies when a failure to provide appropriate services is found. This includes:

  • corrective action appropriate to address the needs of the child (such as compensatory services or monetary reimbursement); and
  • how appropriate services for all children with disabilities will be provided in the future.

Thus, as the Department of Education has observed, state complaint procedures are directly under the control of the SEA, and provide parents and the school district “with mechanisms that allow them to resolve differences without having to resort to a more costly and cumbersome due process complaint, which by its nature, is litigious.” (71 Fed. Reg. 46606)

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What information must a state complaint include?

First, a state complaint must be signed and written. It must also include the content described at §300.153(b) (see IDEA’s regulations), which can be summarized as follows:

  • a statement that the school system has violated a requirement of Part B of IDEA;
  • the facts on which this statement is based;
  • the signature and contact information for the complainant.

If the alleged violation is with respect to a specific child, the complaint must also include:

  • the name and address of the child;
  • the name of the school the child is attending;
  • a description of the “nature of the problem of the child,” including facts related to the problem; and
  • a proposed resolution of the problem to the extent known and available to the party at the time the complaint is filed.

Each SEA must develop a model form to assist parents and other parties in filing a state complaint. However, the SEA or local educational agency (LEA) may not require the use of its model forms. The provision at §300.509(b) allows the complainant to use another form or document so long as the form or document includes the content required for filing a state complaint at §300.153(b).

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And the complaint is filed with the SEA?

Yes. But it’s also important to note that the complainant must also send a copy to the LEA or public agency (e.g., school system) serving the child at the same time the state complaint is filed with the SEA. This is a new provision, found at §300.153(d).

Why was this new provision added? As the Department of Education explains:

The purpose … is to ensure that the public agency involved has knowledge of the issues and an opportunity to resolve them directly with the complaining party at the earliest possible time. The sooner the LEA knows that a complaint is filed and the nature of the issue(s), the quicker the LEA can work directly with the complainant to resolve the complaint. (71 Fed. Reg. 46606)

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What happens if the complainant doesn’t include all required information?

This question arises because IDEA’s due process procedures specify what must occur if the SEA receives a due process complaint that is insufficient [see §300.508(d), “Sufficiency of complaint”]. Unlike due process, however, the Part B regulations governing the state complaint process do not even mention “sufficiency of complaint.”

The Department of Education (2009) addressed this issue directly in its Questions and Answers on Procedural Safeguards and Due Process Procedures for Parents and Children with Disabilities, saying:

[W]hen an SEA receives a complaint that is not signed or does not include contact information, the SEA may choose to dismiss the complaint. In general, an SEA should adopt proper notice procedures for such situations. For example, an SEA could provide notice indicating that the complaint will be dismissed for not meeting the content requirements or that the complaint will not be investigated and timelines not commence until the missing content is provided. (p. 2)

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What is the SEA’s obligation when it receives a state complaint?

The SEA must ensure that state complaints are resolved within 60 days from the date the complaint is filed (unless an extension of the timeline is permitted). Here’s a rundown of the basic steps involved in resolving a State complaint.

The SEA must carry out an independent on-site investigation, if the SEA determines that an investigation is necessary.

The SEA must give the complainant the opportunity to submit additional information about the complaint, either orally or in writing.

The SEA must provide the public agency with the opportunity to respond to the state complaint.

The SEA must review all relevant information, make an independent determination on the complaint, and issue a written decision to the complainant.

The SEA must have procedures to ensure effective implementation of the SEA’s final decision. [§300.152(a) and (b)(2)]

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Is there a time limit for filing a state complaint?

Yes, indeed, there is–and it’s different now than in earlier reauthorizations of the law and their regulations. Now:

The complaint must allege a violation that occurred not more than one year prior to the date that the complaint is received…[§300.153(c)]

Previously, complaints could be be filed for alleged violations that occurred up to three years prior to the date the complaint was received. The “one-year timeline is reasonable,” the Department explains, “will assist in smooth implementation of the State complaint procedures… [and will] help ensure that problems are raised and addressed promptly” (71 Fed. Reg. 46606).

The Department also points out that states may choose to accept and resolve complaints outside the one-year timeline, just as they are free to add additional protections in other areas that are not inconsistent with IDEA’s requirements.

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How soon must the SEA resolve a State complaint?

As mentioned earlier, the SEA must resolve the state complaint within 60 days after the complaint is filed. The specific activities associated with resolving the complaint must take place within that time limit. This includes:

  • conducting an independent on-site investigation, if the SEA determines that an investigation is necessary;
  • giving the complainant the opportunity to submit additional information, either orally or in writing;
  • providing the public agency with the opportunity to respond to the complaint;
  • having the SEA or the public agency responsible for resolving the complaint review all relevant information and make an independent determination; and
  • issuing a final decision on the allegations in the state complaint.

The SEA’s complaint procedures must permit that 60-day timeline to be extended, only if exceptional circumstances exist or if the parent and the public agency agree to extend the time to engage in mediation (or other alternative means of dispute resolution, if available).

If the complaint is filed by an individual or organization other than the parent, the timeline may also be extended through agreement between the public agency and the other individual or organization filing a complaint if mediation (or other alternative means of dispute resolution) is available to the individual or organization under State procedures [§300.152(b)(1)(ii)].

This means that the fact that the parties agree to use mediation is not sufficient by itself to warrant an extension of the 60-day timeline. The complainant and the public agency must also agree to extend the timeline as a result of the decision to use mediation.

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Must a State complaint be investigated if it’s resolved through mediation?

If the State complaint procedures allege violations specific to a child and those violations were addressed in a settlement agreement resulting from mediation, the SEA may determine that the settlement agreement has resolved the violation and inform the complainant. If the state complaint alleges violations that may be systemic and involve many children, the state must resolve those allegations through its state complaint resolution process.

A bit of an explanation: An agreement reached through mediation is legally binding. Such an agreement is enforceable in an appropriate state or federal court and is not subject to the SEA’s approval. This is one reason why the Department of Education encourages parties to resolve complaints “at the local level without the need for the SEA to intervene” (71 Fed. Reg. 46605).

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What happens if a state complaint and a due process complaint are filed to resolve the same issue?

According to IDEA’s regulations, the SEA must set aside any part of the state complaint that is being addressed in the due process hearing until the conclusion of the hearing. But any issue in the state complaint that is not a part of the due process hearing action must be resolved using the time limit and state complaint procedures described above. These requirements are stated at §300.152(c)(1).

Oh, and one more thing: Under §300.152(c)(2), if an issue included in a state complaint has previously been decided in a due process hearing that involved the same parties, the due process decision is binding on that issue, and the SEA must inform the complainant to that effect.

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Can the SEA’s decision be appealed?

IDEA neither prohibits nor requires that a state’s state complaint procedures include a way to appeal the SEA’s decision on a state complaint. The Department observes that “States are in the best position to determine what, if any, appeals process is necessary to meet each State’s needs, consistent with State law” (71 Fed. Reg. 46607).

Regardless of the state’s policies regarding appeal of the SEA’s final decision, the Department makes sure to point out (Id.), after that decision is issued, a party who disagrees with it (and has the right to request a due process hearing) may initiate a due process hearing, given the following two conditions:

  • that the subject of the State complaint involves an issue about which a due process hearing can be filed, and
  • the two-year statute of limitations for due process hearings (or other time limit imposed by State law) has not expired.

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Final Words: What’s Changed?

We’d like to take one last moment to reiterate and summarize the changes IDEA 2004 has brought to the procedures it requires states to adopt for filing and resolving state complaints. These include:

  • a new requirement to forward a copy of the State complaint to the public agency serving the child;
  • new content requirements for complaints; and
  • a revised time limit for filing complaints.

These changes are all noteworthy and, together, will hopefully provide public agencies, parents, and others with streamlined and effective state complaint processes for resolving disputes.

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References

Assistance to States for the Education of Children with Disabilities and Preschool Grants for Children with Disabilities, Final Rule, 71 Fed. Reg. 46540 (August 14, 2006) (codified at 34 C.F.R. pt.300). Available online at: http://idea.ed.gov

U.S. Department of Education. (2009, June). Questions and answers on procedural safeguards and due process procedures for parents and children with disabilities (rev.). Washington, DC: Author. Available online at: http://idea-b.ed.gov/explore/view/p/,root,dynamic,QaCorner,6,.html

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The discussion above is adapted primarily from a module within the Building the Legacy training curriculum on IDEA developed by NICHCY–specifically, Module 18, Options for Dispute Resolution.

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Buzz from the Hub | March 2017, Issue 1

Buzz from the Hub, March 2017, Issue 1
Clocks
Theme: It’s That Time of Year Again!

What we can control is our readiness.
~Dan Quinn.

Every year spring rolls into town, bringing with it the need for IEP reviews and planning ahead for summer. This issue of the Buzz from the Hub connects you with resources that can help the families you serve plan ahead and be ready for all the action in the coming months.

All our best to you, as always,

The CPIR Team | Debra, Lisa, Jessica, and Myriam

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Requesting a Meeting to Review Your Child’s IEP
In many school systems, spring is the time of year to hold IEP meetings and develop student plans for the coming school year. Parents don’t have to wait for the school to call an IEP meeting. This short article from CPIR discusses the reasons why parents might request a meeting at any time to review and/or revise their child’s IEP. A sample letter or email that parents might write is included. Also available in Spanish.
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Services Beyond the School Year for Students with IEPs
Some students in special education are eligible for Extended School Year (ESY) services. Who’s eligible, and how is eligibility determined? Find out more in this article from Great Schools, which includes action tips for parents.

Need an explanation of ESY in other languages? Try these resources.

In Spanish | From understood.org

From Montgomery County Public Schools, MD | Explanations of ESY are available in English, Spanish, Amharic, Chinese, French, Korean, and Vietnamese. Scroll down the page to find links to each of these languages.

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Summer Fun Camp Directory
Visit the Federation for Children with Special Needs, where you’ll find links to over 200 camp websites serving children with disabilities, as well as a useful guide called Summer Planning for Children with Special Needs.

Parents might also appreciate the following materials on summer camps.

Checklist: Questions to Ask When Evaluating Summer Camps
(There’s a Spanish version, too: Lista de Verificación: Preguntas para Evaluar Campamentos de Verano)

Discover Camp: Considerations for Sending Your Child with a Disability to Camp for the First Time | From the National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability

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Survey Item Bank for Parent Centers Has Launched!
The Survey Item Bank is a collection of more than 150 ready-to-use questions that Parent Centers can use when evaluating their own activities. Includes pre/post questions, items you can use with focus groups or to conduct a needs assessment, and more. Easy search interface, too!
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Logo of the Center for Center for Parent Information and Resources

The CPIR hopes that you’ve found useful and relevant resources listed in this month’s Buzz from the Hub. Please feel free to write to the editor, Lisa Küpper, at lkupper@fhi360.org to suggest the types of resources you’d like to see in the future. CPIR is listening! Your input is extremely valuable to helping us to craft newsletters that support your work with families.

Debra, Myriam, Jessica, and Lisa
The CPIR Team

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This eNewsletter from the CPIR is copyright-free.
We encourage you to share it with others.

Center for Parent Information and Resources
c/o SPAN, Inc.
35 Halsey St., Fourth Floor
Newark, NJ 07102
http://www.parentcenterhub.org/

Subscribe to the Buzz from the Hub.
See past issues of the Buzz.
____________________________________________________________

Publication of this eNewsletter is made possible through Cooperative Agreement H328R130014 between OSEP and the Statewide Parent Advocacy Network (SPAN). The contents do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Department of Education, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government or by the Center for Parent Information and Resources.

Down Syndrome

A young girl with Down syndrome stands on the balance beam in gym class.Links updated, March 2017

In This Publication…

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Definition

Down syndrome is the most common and readily identifiable chromosomal condition associated with intellectual disabilities. It is caused by a chromosomal abnormality: for some unknown reason, an accident in cell development results in 47 instead of the usual 46 chromosomes. This extra chromosome changes the orderly development of the body and brain. In most cases, the diagnosis of Down syndrome is made according to results from a chromosome test administered shortly after birth.

Just as in the normal population, there is a wide variation in mental abilities, behavior, and developmental progress in individuals with Down syndrome. Their level of intellectual disability may range from mild to severe, with the majority functioning in the mild to moderate range.

Because children with Down syndrome differ in ability, it’s important that families and members of the intervention team place  few limitations on potential capabilities and possible achievements. Each child with Down syndrome has his or her own talents and unique capacities, and it’s important to recognize these and reinforce them. As the Family Doctor website states:

In many important ways, children who have Down syndrome are very much the same as other children. They have the same moods and emotions, and they like to learn new things, to play and enjoy life. You can help your child by providing as many chances as possible for him or her to do these things. Read to your child and play with him or her, just as you would any other child. Help your child to have positive experiences with new people and places. (1)

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Incidence of  Down Syndrome

Nearly 6,000 babies are born with Down syndrome in the United States each year. (2)  This means that 1 in every 700 babies is born with this condition. (3) Although parents of any age may have a child with Down syndrome, 80% are born to women under the age of 35. (4)

Down syndrome is not a disease, nor is it contagious. Its most common forms usually do not occur more than once in a family.

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Characteristics of Down Syndrome

There are over 50 clinical signs of Down syndrome, but it is rare to find all or even most of them in one person. Every child with Down syndrome is different.  Some common characteristics include:

  • Poor muscle tone;
  • Slanting eyes with folds of skin at the inner corners (called epicanthal folds);
  • Hyperflexibility (excessive ability to extend the joints);
  • Short, broad hands with a single crease across the palm on one or both hands;
  • Broad feet with short toes;
  • Flat bridge of the nose;
  • Short, low-set ears; and
  • Short neck and small head;
  • Small oral cavity; and/or
  • Short, high-pitched cries in infancy.

Individuals with Down syndrome are usually smaller than their nondisabled peers, and their physical as well as intellectual development is slower.

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Help for Babies and Toddlers

When a baby is born with Down syndrome, his or her parents should know that there’s a lot of help available—and immediately. Shortly after the diagnosis of Down syndrome is confirmed, parents will want to get in touch with the early intervention system in their community.

Early intervention is a system of services designed to help infants and toddlers with disabilities (before their 3rd birthday) and their families. It’s mandated by federal law—the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the nation’s special education law. Staff work with the child’s family to develop what is known as an Individualized Family Services Plan, or IFSP. The IFSP will describe the child’s unique needs as well as the services he or she will receive to address those needs. The IFSP will also emphasize the unique needs of the family, so that parents and other family members will know how to help their young child with Down syndrome. Early intervention services may be provided on a sliding-fee basis, meaning that the costs to the family will depend upon their income.

To identify the EI program in your neighborhood:

  • Ask your child’s pediatrician for a referral.
  • Call the local hospital’s maternity ward or pediatric ward, and ask for the contact information of the local early intervention program.

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Help for School-Aged Children

Just as IDEA requires that early intervention be made available to babies and toddlers with disabilities, it requires that special education and related services be made available free of charge to every eligible child with a disability, including preschoolers (ages 3-21). These services are specially designed to address the child’s individual needs associated with the disability—in this case, Down syndrome.

There is a lot to know about the special education process, much of which you can learn at here at the Center for Parent Information and Resources, which offers a wide range of publications on the topic. To begin, however, and access special education services for a school-aged child in your area, get in touch with your local public school system. Calling the elementary school in your neighborhood is an excellent place to start.

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Health Considerations

Besides having a distinct physical appearance, children with Down syndrome frequently have specific health-related problems. A lowered resistance to infection makes these children more prone to respiratory problems. Visual problems such as crossed eyes and far- or nearsightedness are common in individuals with Down syndrome, as are mild to moderate hearing loss and speech difficulty.  Approximately one third of babies born with Down syndrome have heart defects, most of which are now successfully correctable. Some individuals are born with gastrointestinal tract problems that can be surgically corrected.

Some people with Down syndrome also may have a condition known as Atlantoaxial Instability, a misalignment of the top two vertebrae of the neck. This condition makes these individuals more prone to injury if they participate in activities which overextend or flex the neck. Parents are urged to have their child examined by a physician to determine whether or not their child should be restricted from sports and activities which place stress on the neck. Although this misalignment is a potentially serious condition, proper diagnosis can help prevent serious injury.

Children with Down syndrome may have a tendency to become obese as they grow older. Besides having negative social implications, this weight gain threatens these individuals’ health and longevity. A supervised diet and exercise program may help reduce this problem.

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Educating Children with Down Syndrome

When a child with Down syndrome reaches school age (after the 3rd birthday), the public school system becomes responsible for educating the child and for addressing the child’s unique needs related to his or her disability. Parents and school personnel will work together to develop what is known as an Individualized Education Program (IEP) for the child.

The IEP is similar to an IFSP in that it describes the child’s unique needs and the services that will be provided to meet those needs. The IEP will include annual goals for learning and much more. CPIR offers a great deal of information about the process for developing an IEP—especially the parent’s guide called Developing Your Child’s IEP—all of which can help parents learn how to participate effectively in their child’s education.

Much information is also available for teachers to learn more about effective teaching practices for children with Down syndrome. It’s important for teachers to take into consideration the degree of intellectual disability involved, the child’s talents and interests, and the supports and services he or she needs, as specified in the IEP. Generally speaking, teachers will find it more effective to emphasize concrete concepts with a student who has Down syndrome, instead of abstract ideas. Teaching skills in a step-by-step fashion with frequent reinforcement and consistent feedback has proven successful. Other suggestions for teachers are given toward the end of this fact sheet.

Today, the majority of children with Down syndrome are educated in the regular classroom, alongside their peers without disabilities. This is in keeping with the inclusion movement of the last decade and the requirements of IDEA, which states that each school system must ensure that:

Special classes, separate schooling, or other removal of children with disabilities from the regular educational environment occurs only if the nature or severity of the disability is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily. (5)

Equally clear is this requirement of IDEA:

A child with a disability [may not be] removed from education in age-appropriate regular classrooms solely because of needed modifications in the general education curriculum. (6)

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For High School Students with Down Syndrome

While the student is still in secondary school, parents, the IEP team, and the student himself (or herself!) will need to plan for the future and the student’s life as an adult. This involves considering, for example, issues such as employment (with or without supports), independent living and self-care skills, the possibility of higher education or vocational training, and how to connect with adult service systems. Under IDEA, the process of planning for transition to adulthood should begin no later than the student’s 16th birthday. (7) For adolescents with Down syndrome, it’s usually important to begin earlier than that.

Adult life for individuals with Down syndrome has changed noticeably from just two decades ago. Opportunities to live and work independently in the community have greatly expanded for those with Down syndrome. This owes much to the more inclusive and comprehensive education IDEA promotes and to improved public attitudes towards disability. Today, there’s a nationwide network of independent living centers, as well as apartments that are group-shared and supervised for those who need this level of support. Training, education, and assistance are also available  to eligible adults with Down syndrome through service systems such as Vocational Rehabilitation and Social Security.  Adult life holds many opportunities for those with Down syndrome, so it’s important to plan ahead with optimism and vigor.

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Tips for Parents

Learn about Down syndrome. The more you know, the more you can help yourself and your child. See the list of organizations below.

Love and play with your child. Treat your son or daughter as you would a child without disabilities. Take your child places, read together, have fun.

Encourage your child to be independent. For example, help your son or daughter learn self-care skills such as getting dressed, grooming, and doing laundry.

Give your child chores. Keep in mind his or her age, mental capacity, attention span, and abilities. Divide tasks into small steps. Explain what your child is supposed to do, step by step, until the chore is done. Demonstrate. Offer help when it’s needed and praise when things go well.

Work with the professionals who are working with your child. Participate in team meetings where your child’s education or program is being planned, share your unique knowledge of who your son or daughter is, advocate that the program address your child’s needs.

Find out what your child is learning at school. Look for ways to apply it at home. For example, if the teacher is reviewing concepts of money, take your child to the supermarket with you to help keep track of what money you’re spending.

Look for social opportunities in the community (such as Scouts) or activities offered through the department of sports and leisure. Joining in and taking part will help your child develop social skills and have fun.

Talk with other parents whose children have Down syndrome. They can be a fountain of practical advice and emotional support. Visit the websites of the organizations listed below to see if they have a parent group nearby.

Be patient, be hopeful. Your child, like every child, has a whole lifetime to learn and grow.

Take pleasure in your beautiful one. He—she—is a treasure. Learn from your child, too. Those with Down syndrome  have a special light within—let it shine.

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Tips for Teachers

Learn as much as possible about Down sydrome. The organizations mentioned in this fact sheet can help you identify techniques and specific strategies to support the student’s learning. We’ve included some additional suggestions below.

This may seem obvious, but sometimes the appearance of Down syndrome can give the mistaken impression that the child cannot learn. Focus on the individual child and learn firsthand what needs and capabilities he or she has.

Realize that you can make a big difference in this student’s life! Use the student’s abilities and interests to involve and motivate. Give lots of opportunities for the student to be successful.

Talk candidly with your student’s parents. They’re experts and can tell you a great deal about their daughter’s or son’s special needs and abilities.

Work with the student’s parents and other school personnel to develop and implement a special educational plan (IEP) that addresses the individual needs of the student. Share information on a regular basis with parents about how things are going for the student at home and in school.

If you’re not part of the student’s IEP team, ask for a copy of this important document. The student’s educational goals will be listed there, as will the services and accommodations that he or she is supposed to receive, including in your class.

Talk to specialists in your school (for example, special educators), as necessary. They can help you identify methods that are effective for teaching a student with disabilities, ways to adapt the curriculum, and how to address the student’s IEP goals in the classroom.

Be as concrete as possible with the student. Demonstrate what you want to see happen instead of giving only verbal instructions. When you share concrete information verbally, also show a photograph. Give the student practical materials and experiences and the opportunity to touch and examine objects.

Divide new tasks and large tasks into smaller steps. Demonstrate the steps. Have the student do the steps, one by one. Offer help when necessary.

Give the student immediate, concrete feedback.

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Organizations

National Down Syndrome Society
1.800.221.4602 | www.ndss.org/ (English)
http://www.ndss.org/Resources/NDSS-en-Espanol/ (Spanish)
NDSS offers authoritative information about Down syndrome, including a 48-page downloadable parent booket called A Promising Future Together: A Guide for New Parents of Children with Down Syndrome.that’s available in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Russian, and simplified Chinese.

National Down Syndrome Congress
1.800.232.6372 | www.ndsccenter.org (English)
http://www.ndsccenter.org/bienvenidos/ (Spanish)
NDSC is also an authoritative source of information on Down syndrome, offering such resources as its New Parent Package, a collection of materials refined over years to provide new and expectant parents with an initial understanding of the challenges— and joys—of raising a child with Down syndrome.

Resource of Special Note
Woodbine House publishes an impressive collection of low-cost books and DVDs on Down syndrome, including a Parent’s Guide (in English and Spanish) and materials for teachers. Call 1.800.843.7323 or visit: www.woodbinehouse.com/Down-Syndrome.29.0.0.2.htm

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References

1 Family Doctor. (2005).  Down syndrome: How to know if your child has Down syndrome. This article is no longer available, but you can read the 2014 article on Down syndrome, at: https://familydoctor.org/condition/down-syndrome/

2 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2016). Facts about Down syndrome. Atlanta, GA: Author. Available online at:
https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/birthdefects/downsyndrome.html

3 Ibid.

4 National Down Syndrome Congress. (n.d.). New and expectant parents. Available online at: http://www.ndsccenter.org/new-and-expectant-parents/

5 Section 300.114(a)(2)(ii) of IDEA.

6 Section 300.116(e) of IDEA.

7 Section 300.320(b) of IDEA, Transition services.

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Síndrome de Down

Hoja Informativa Sobre Discapacidades
Una joven con el sindrome de Down. A young girl with Down syndrome stands on the balance beam in gym class.Recursos actualizados, marzo de 2017

En inglés | In English

En esta publicación

 

Definición

El síndrome de Down es la más común y fácil de reconocer de todas las condiciones asociadas con la discapacidad intelectual.

  • Esta condición (antes conocida como retraso mental) es el resultado de una anormalidad de los cromosomas: por alguna razón inexplicable una desviación en el desarrollo de las células resulta en la producción de 47 cromosomas en lugar de las 46 que se consideran normales.
  • El cromosoma adicional cambia totalmente el desarrollo ordenado del cuerpo y cerebro.
  • En la mayor parte de los casos, el diagnóstico del síndrome de Down se hace de acuerdo a los resultados de una prueba de cromosomas que es suministrada poco después del nacimiento del niño.

Tal como en la población normal, hay gran variedad en cuanto al nivel de las habilidades mentales, comportamiento, y el desarrollo de los individuos con síndrome de Down. Aunque el grado de discapacidad intelectual puede variar entre leve y severo, la mayor parte de los individuos con síndrome de Down caen bajo la categoría de leve a moderado.

Como resultado, necesitarán más ayuda para aprender algunas destrezas. Pero tendrán sus propios talentos también y es importante reconocerlos y reenforzarlos. Las familias y los proveedores de servicios no deben imponer limitaciones en cuanto a las capacidades de cualquier individuo.

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Incidencia

Cada año en los Estados Unidos, nacen casi 6,000 niños con síndrome de Down. (1) Se podría decir que uno en cada 700 niños nace con esta condición. (2) Los padres de cualquier edad pueden tener un niño con síndrome de Down. Aunque no importa si los padres sean jóvenes o mayores, 80% de los niños con el síndrome nacen a las mujeres menor de los 35 años de edad. (3) Las formas más comunes del síndrome generalmente no ocurren más de una sola vez por familia.

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Características

Hay más de 50 síntomas reconocidos del síndrome de Down, pero es raro encontrar una persona con todos o una gran cantidad de éstos. Cada bebé con síndrome de Down es diferente. Algunos nacen con pocos de los rasgos listados abajo y otros con más. Algunas de estas características pueden incluir:

  • Falta de tono muscular;
  • Ojos alargados, con el cutis pliegado en el rabillo del ojo;
  • Hiperflexibilidad (la habilidad de extender excesivamente las coyunturas);
  • Manos chicas y anchas con una sola arruga en la palma de una o ambas manos;
  • Pies anchos con los dedos cortos;
  • El puente de la nariz plano;
  • Orejas pequeñas, en la parte inferior de la cabeza;
  • Cuello corto y cabeza pequeña.

Los individuos con síndrome de Down típicamente son más pequeños que sus compañeros sin el síndrome, y su desarrollo físico e intelectual es más lento.

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Los Primeros Pasos

Poco después de ser confirmado el diagnóstico del síndrome de Down, los padres deben ser dirigidos a un programa de desarrollo infantil e intervención temprana. Estos programas proveen a los padres instrucción especial con el fin de que ellos aprendan la mejor forma de enseñar a su niño el lenguaje, medios de aprendizaje, formas de ayudarse a sí mismos, formas de comportamiento social, y ejercicios especiales para el desarrollo motriz. Como dice el sitio Family Doctor:

En muchas formas importantes los niños que tienen síndrome de Down son muy parecidos a los demás niños. Tienen los mismos temperamentos y emociones, les gusta aprender cosas nuevas, jugar y disfrutar la vida. Usted puede ayudar a su niño proporcionándole tantas oportunidades como sea posible para que él o ella haga estas cosas. Léale a su niño y juegue con él o ella tal y como lo haría con cualquier otro niño. Ayude a que su niño tenga experiencias positivas con personas nuevas y en lugares nuevos. (4)

Los estudios han demostrado que mientras mayor la estimulación durante las primeras etapas del desarrollo del niño, es mayor la probabilidad de que el niño llegue a desarrollarse dentro de las máximas posibilidades. Se ha comprobado que la educación contínua, la actitud positiva del público, y un ambiente estimulante dentro del hogar toman parte en promover el desarrollo completo del niño.

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Problemas de Salud

Aparte de un distintivo aspecto físico, los niños con síndrome de Down frecuentemente experimentan problemas relacionados a la salud. Por causa de la baja resistencia, estos niños son más propensos a los problemas respiratorios. Los problemas visuales, tales como los ojos cruzados y la miopía, son comunes en los niños con síndrome de Down, al igual que la deficiencia del habla y del oído.

Aproximadamente una tercera parte de los bebes que tienen síndrome de Down tienen además defectos en el corazón, la mayoría de los cuales pueden ser corregidos. Algunos individuos nacen con problemas gastro intestinales que también pueden ser corregidos, por medio de la intervención quirúrgica.

Algunas personas con síndrome de Down también pueden tener una condición conocida como Inestabilidad Atlantoaxial (Atlantoaxial Instability), una desalineación de las primeras dos vértebras del cuello. Esta condición causa que estos individuos sean más propensos a las heridas si participan en actividades durante los cuales pueden extender demasiado o encorvar el cuello. A los padres se les pide una examinación médica en este respecto, para determinar si al niño se le debe prohibir los deportes y actividades que puedan dañar el cuello. A pesar de que esta desalineación puede ser una condición seria, un diagnóstico correcto podría ayudar en la prevención de las heridas serias.

En muchos casos los niños con síndrome de Down son propensos a subir de peso con el tiempo. Además de las implicaciones sociales, este aumento de peso amenaza la salud y longevidad de estos individuos. Una dieta controlada y un programa de ejercicio podrían presentar una solución a este problema.

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Acerca de la Educación

Para cada niño de edad escolar, los padres y el personal escolar trabajan juntos para desarrollar un programa educativo individualizado (conocido como el IEP, por sus siglas en inglés) para el niño. El IEP incluye metas anuales, los servicios que el niño recibirá como parte de su educación especial, y mucho más. Nuestro centro ofrece mucha información sobre el proceso de desarrollar el IEP, incluyendo muchas páginas sobre el IEP, que les pueden ayudar a los padres a participar efectivamente en la educación de su niño.

También hay mucha información disponible a los maestros del niño sobre maneras efectivas de enseñarle, tomando en cuenta el nivel de su retraso intectual, sus propios talentos e intereses, y los apoyos y servicios que necesita, conforme a su IEP. Hoy en día la mayoría de los niños con el síndrome de Down se educan en la sala de clases regular, junto con sus pares sin discapacidades. Bajo IDEA, cada escuela debe asegurar que:

Las clases especiales, la enseñanza separada u otra remoción de niños con discapacidades del ambiente educacional regular ocurra sólo cuando la naturaleza o severidad de la discapacidad es tal que la educación en salas de clase regulares no puede ser lograda satisfactoria-mente con el uso de auxilios y servicios suplementarios. (5)

Igualmente claro es este requisito de IDEA:

“No se retirará a un niño con una discapacidad de clases regulares de educación apropiadas para su edad solamente a causa de modificaciones necesarias en el currículo educativo general.” (6)

En general, es más efectivo poner énfasis en los conceptos concretos en lugar de en las ideas abstractas. Se ha comprobado que los programas de enseñanza con mayor éxito son los que están estructurados por etapas y con frecuentes alabanzas para el niño. Otras sugerencias para los maestros se listan a continuación, después de algunos consejos para los padres.

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Consejos para Padres

Aprenda más sobre el síndrome de Down. Mientras más sabe, más puede ayudarse a sí mismo y a su niño. Vea la lista de organizaciones que se encuentra al final de esta publicación.

Anime a su niño a ser independiente. Por ejemplo, ayúdele a aprender las destrezas para el cuidado diario tales como vestirse, comer sólo, usar el baño, y afeitarse.

Déle tareas a su niño. Tenga en mente su edad, su capacidad para mantener atención, y sus habilidades. Divida la tareas en pasos pequeños. Explíquele lo que debe hacer, paso por paso, hasta que termine el trabajo. Demuestre cómo hacer el trabajo. Ayúdele cuando necesite ayuda. Elogie a su niño cuando le vaya bien.

Averigüe cuáles son las destrezas que está aprendiendo su niño en la escuela. Busque maneras de aplicar aquellas destrezas en casa. Por ejemplo, si el maestro está repasando una lección sobre el dinero, lleve su niño al supermercado. Ayúdele a contar el dinero para pagar la cuenta. Ayúdele a contar el cambio.

Busque oportunidades dentro de su comunidad para actividades sociales tales como los Boy Scouts o Girl Scouts y actividades en el centro de recreo y deportes. Esto ayudará a su niño a desarrollar destrezas sociales y divertirse.

Hable con otros padres cuyos niños tienen el síndrome. Los padres pueden compartir consejos prácticos y apoyo emocional. Visite los sitios Web de las organizaciones listadas en esta página para ver si tienen grupos para los padres cercano.

Reúnase con la escuela y desarrolle un plan educacional para tratar las necesidades de su niño. Manténgase en contacto con los maestros de su niño. Ofrezca apoyo. Averigüe cómo puede apoyar el aprendizaje escolar de su niño en casa.

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Consejos para Maestros

Aprenda lo que más pueda sobre el síndrome de Down. Las organizaciones mencionadas en esta publicación le ayudarán a identificar técnicas y estrategias específicas para apoyar educacionalmente al alumno. Más abajo hemos incluído algunas otras estrategias.

¡Reconozca que usted puede hacer una gran diferencia en la vida de este alumno! Averigüe cuáles son las potencialidades e intereses del alumno y concéntrese en ellas. Proporcione oportunidades para el éxito.

Si usted no forma parte del equipo del IEP, solicite una copia del IEP. Las metas educacionales del alumno estarán contenidas en éste, al igual que los servicios y acomodaciones que él o ella debe recibir. Hable con especialistas en su escuela (por ejemplo, maestros de educación especial), como sea necesario. Ellos le pueden ayudar a identificar métodos efectivos de enseñar a este alumno, maneras de adaptar el currículo, y cómo tratar con las metas del IEP en la sala de clases.

Sea tan concreto como sea posible. Demuestre lo que desea decir en lugar de sólo dar instrucciones verbales. En lugar de relatar información verbalmente, muestre una foto. Y en lugar de sólo presentar una foto, proporcione al alumno materiales y experiencias prácticos y la oportunidad de probar cosas.

Divida tareas nuevas y más largas en pasos más pequeños. Demuestre los pasos. Haga que el alumno realice los pasos, uno por uno. Proporcione ayuda como sea necesario.

Proporcione al alumno comentarios inmediatos.

Enséñele al alumno destrezas de la vida tales como aquéllas para la vida diaria, sociales, conciencia y exploración ocupacional, como sea apropiado. Haga que el alumno participe en actividades en grupos o en organizaciones.

Trabaje junto con los padres del niño y otro personal escolar para crear e implementar un plan educacional especial para cumplir con las necesidades del alumno. Comparta información en una forma regular sobre cómo le va al alumno en la escuela y en casa.

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Más Allá de la Educación

Cuando el individuo todavía está matriculado en la escuela secundaria, los padres, el equipo del IEP, y el estudiante mismo deben darse atención a prepararse para el futuro y la vida adulta—considerando, por ejemplo, asuntos como el empleo (con o sin apoyos), la vivienda independiente y las destrezas de autosuficiencia, la posibilidad de más educación o entrenamiento vocacional, y cómo enlazarse con los sistemas de servicios para los adultos. Bajo IDEA, el proceso de planificar para la transición debe empezar al menos cuando el estudiante alcanza a los 16 años de edad. (7) Para los adolescentes con el síndrome de Down, generalmente es importante comenzar más temprano.

La mayor aceptación de las personas con discapacidades, por parte del público, además de mayores oportunidades para que estas personas adultas puedan vivir y trabajar en forma independiente en la comunidad, ha resultado en muchas más posibilidades para los adultos con síndrome de Down.

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Referencias

1 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2016). Facts about Down syndrome. Atlanta, GA: Author. Online at:  https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/birthdefects/downsyndrome.html

2 Ibid.

3 National Down Syndrome Congress. (n.d.). New and expectant parents. Available online at: http://www.ndsccenter.org/new-and-expectant-parents/

4  Family Doctor. (2005). Síndrome de Down: Cómo saber si su niño tiene síndrome de Down.  Este recurso no está disponible ahora, pero puede leer el nuevo artículo en:
https://es.familydoctor.org/condicion/sindrome-de-down/

5  Sección 300.114(a)(2)(ii) de IDEA.

6  Sección 300.116(e) de IDEA.

7  Sección 300.320(b) de IDEA, Servicios de transición.

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Organizaciones

National Down Syndrome Society en español sirve como fuente de información sobre la discapacidad, y puede responder a sus preguntas a través de su número gratuito 1.800.221.4602 | http://www.ndss.org/Resources/NDSS-en-Espanol/

National Down Syndrome Congress en español | 1.800.232.6372 |
http://www.ndsccenter.org/bienvenidos/

National Association for Down Syndrome en español |
http://www.nads.org/about-us/quienes-somos/

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Otros Recursos

Bebés con Síndrome de Down: Nueva guía para padres (3ra edición). Cuesta menos de $20. Para mayor información: www.woodbinehouse.com/book_reviews.asp_Q_product_id_E_978-1-890627-99-7

Canal Down21 es un portal de referencia para el síndrome de Down | http://www.down21.org/

Síndrome de Down. | De la Biblioteca de Salud |
http://nacersano.marchofdimes.org/complicaciones/sindrome-de-down.aspx

Síndrome de Down: Cuidando a un bebé que tiene síndrome de Down.
https://es.familydoctor.org/sindrome-de-down-como-cuidar-a-un-bebe-que-tiene-sindrome-de-down/

Video de 3 minutos | Síndrome de Down  | www.youtube.com/watch?v=nevsdGf6-Ac

Video de 5 minutos | Síndrome de Down: ¿Cuántos tipos hay? |  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQqp4keooBw

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Special Education

Links updated, March 2017
This info in Spanish | Esta información en español

The IEP must also contain a statement of the special education and related services and supplementary aids and services to be provided to the child, or on behalf of the child. That’s three separate, distinct, and critical elements–special education, related services, and supplementary aids and services–and each is worthy of a book on its own.

Don’t worry! We won’t write a book-length article about any of these, but we will split up the discussion of each into separate articles. Here, the focus will be on special education.

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IDEA’s Exact Words

A young girl student gets individualized help from the teacher to complete classwork.

Special education is individualized to address a student’s needs.

It’s helpful to see IDEA’s full requirement for specifying a child’s special education in his or her IEP. This appears at §300.320(a)(4) and stipulates that each child’s IEP must contain:

(4) A statement of the special education and related services and supplementary aids and services, based on peer-reviewed research to the extent practicable, to be provided to the child, or on behalf of the child, and a statement of the program modifications or supports for school personnel that will be provided to enable the child—

(i) To advance appropriately toward attaining the annual goals;

(ii) To be involved in and make progress in the general education curriculum in accordance with paragraph (a)(1) of this section, and to participate in extracurricular and other nonacademic activities; and

(iii) To be educated and participate with other children with disabilities and nondisabled children in the activities described in this section… [§300.320(a)(4)] In its entirety, this provision is the heart and soul, meat and potatoes, bricks and mortar (choose your analogy!) of the IEP. When taken off paper and operationalized in school, it becomes the education that a child with a disability receives. The part we’ve put in bold is the focus of this article, but you’ll want to read the next two articles as well, so you can integrate the information here about special education with what’s presented separately about related services and supplementary aids and services.

 
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Special Education, in Brief

Special education is instruction that is specially designed to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability. This means education that is individually developed to address a specific child’s needs that result from his or her disability. Since each child is unique, it is difficult to give an overall example of special education. It is individualized for each child.

Some students may be working at the pre-kindergarten grade level, others at the first, second, or third grade level. There may be students whose special education focuses primarily on speech and language development, cognitive development, or needs related to a physical or learning disability. Special education for any student can consist of:

  • an individualized curriculum that is different from that of same-age, nondisabled peers (for example, teaching a blind student to read and write using Braille);
  • the same (general) curriculum as that for nondisabled peers, with adaptations or modifications made for the student (for example, teaching 3rd grade math but including the use of counting tools and assistive technology for the student); and
  • a combination of these elements.

It is also important to remember that the education, services, and supports outlined in a child’s IEP do not necessarily cover that child’s entire education. The IEP only addresses those educational needs resulting from the child’s disability. If a child needs special education support throughout the school day, for all activities, the IEP will cover all these needs. If the child doesn’t need special education support in one or more areas (for example, physical education, music, or science), then the IEP will not include these subjects. The child accesses them through the general curriculum/ class, with no additional special education services.

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Adaptations and Modifications

The individualization of instruction is an important part of special education. Instruction and schoolwork are tailored to the needs of the child. Sometimes a student may need to have changes made in class work or routines because of his or her disability. Modifications can be made to:

  • what a child is taught, and/or
  • how a child works at school.

Sometimes people get confused about what it means to have a modification and what it means to have an accommodation. Usually a modification means a change in what is being taught to or expected from the student. Making an assignment easier so the student is not doing the same level of work as other students is an example of a modification. An accommodation is a change that helps a student overcome or work around the disability. Allowing a student who has trouble writing to give his answers orally is an example of an accommodation. This student is still expected to know the same material and answer the same questions as fully as the other students, but he doesn’t have to write his answers to show that he knows the information.

What is most important to know about modifications and accommodations is that both are meant to help a child to learn. For example:

Jack is an 8th grade student who has learning disabilities in reading and writing. He is in a regular 8th grade class that is team-taught by a general education teacher and a special education teacher. Modifications and accommodations provided for Jack’s daily school routine (and when he takes state or district-wide tests) include the following:

    1. Jack will have shorter reading and writing assignments.
    2. Jack’s textbooks will be based upon the 8th grade curriculum but at his independent reading level (4th grade).
    3. Jack will have test questions read/explained to him, when he asks.

Modifications or accommodations are most often made in the following areas:

Scheduling. For example:

  • giving the student extra time to complete assignments or tests
  • breaking up testing over several days

Setting. For example:

  • working in a small group
  • working one-on-one with the teacher

Materials. For example:

  • providing audiotaped lectures or books
  • giving copies of teacher’s lecture notes
  • using large print books, Braille, or books on CD (digital text)

Instruction. For example:

  • reducing the difficulty of assignments
  • reducing the reading level
  • using a student/peer tutor

Student Response. For example:

  • allowing answers to be given orally or dictated
  • using a word processor for written work
  • using sign language, a communication device, Braille, or native language if it is not English.

 
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Where is special education provided?

Special education instruction can be provided in a number of settings, such as: in the classroom, in the home, in hospitals and institutions, and in other settings (§300.26). Schools must ensure that a continuum of alternative placements is available to meet the needs of children with disabilities. This continuum must include the placements just mentioned (instruction in regular classes, special classes, special schools, home instruction, and instruction in hospitals and institutions). Unless a child’s IEP requires some other arrangement, the child must be educated in the school he or she would attend if he or she did not have a disability [§300.552(c)].

Special education instruction must be provided to students with disabilities in what is known as the least restrictive environment, or LRE. IDEA includes provisions that ensure that children with disabilities are educated with nondisabled children, to the maximum extent appropriate. Each state must also ensure that special classes, separate schooling, or other removal of children with disabilities from the regular educational environment occurs only if the nature or severity of the disability is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily [§300.550(b)(2)].
 
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The Long Story on Special Education

Of course, there’s much more to special education than the short summary above. For those of you that want the nitty-gritty, detailed, full picture of special education, here it comes. Keep reading.

Defining special education

Special education. Sometimes, when the term is used, it means “special education” as defined by IDEA at §300.39, and other times it’s a reference to the field at large—teachers, offices, knowledge base, professional practice, the system.

However, when IDEA uses the term, its meaning is never mixed or ambiguous. Every single time “special education” is used in the law and the final Part B regulations, its meaning is the same—the definition below.

§300.39  Special education.

(a) General. (1) Special education means specially designed instruction, at no cost to the parents, to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability, including—

(i) Instruction conducted in the classroom, in the home, in hospitals and institutions, and in other settings; and

(ii) Instruction in physical education.

(2) Special education includes each of the following, if the services otherwise meet the requirements of paragraph (a)(1) of this section—

(i) Speech-language pathology services, or any other related service, if the service is considered special education rather than a related service under State standards;

(ii) Travel training; and

(iii) Vocational education.

And that’s just the “general” part of the definition! The next part is called “individual special education terms defined,” where the definition goes on to define:

  • at no cost;
  • physical education;
  • specially designed instruction;
  • travel training; and
  • vocational education.

Happily, the 20 opening words of special education’s definition—specially designed instruction, at no cost to the parents, to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability—contain the core of the term’s meaning. You’ll see we’ve used those 20 words in the short story of special education. The 362 other words in the definition (which includes the definitions of the individual terms), while still very critical, add detail to that core and further clarify it.

When an abbreviated definition of the term special education is called for, you’re most likely to hear its core: “Special education is specially designed instruction, at no cost to the parents, to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability.

In the definition’s full form, examples roll out and take away gray areas about the some of the scope and substance of special education. Special education can be, for example:

  • travel training (which has its own definition);
  • vocational education (also defined on its own); and
  • services that may be listed in IDEA as a related service but that a state may consider as special education—which makes them “special education” in that state.

As you can see from IDEA’s definition of special education, it can also occur in a variety of settings: in the classroom, in a home, in a hospital or institution, and in other settings. This is why you might also hear that “special education is not a place.” It’s not. Where it is provided for a specific child with a disability will depend on that child’s unique needs as determined by the group of individuals (which includes the parents) that makes the placement decision.
 
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So what does “specially designed instruction” mean?

Given the importance of “specially designed instruction” in the core of special education’s definition, it’s useful to take a closer look at how that term is defined:

(3) Specially designed instruction means adapting, as appropriate to the needs of an eligible child under this part, the content, methodology, or delivery of instruction—

(i) To address the unique needs of the child that result from the child’s disability; and

(ii) To ensure access of the child to the general curriculum, so that the child can meet the educational standards within the jurisdiction of the public agency that apply to all children. [§300.39(b)(3)]

Thus, as part of designing the instruction to fit the needs of a specific child, adaptations may be made in the content, methodology, or delivery of instruction. This is a strong point of pride within the special education field and a considerable accomplishment that’s come from 30 years of practice: the individualization of instruction.

As the provisions above show, adaptations can take many forms in response to the child’s needs; the field is replete with guidance on this critical part of special education. You’ll find a wealth of connections to that guidance here at CPIR. Visit us often and see what you find!
 
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What’s peer-reviewed research?

Time for another definition–not more from “special education” but, rather, from where this article began–the statement of special education that’s required in the IEP. If you look back up, you’ll see that the special education a child receives must be “based on peer-reviewed research to the extent practicable” [§300.320(a)(4)].  What might that mean?

With the passage of the 2004 Amendments to IDEA, some new terms and concepts became part of the IEP process. One such is peer-reviewed research. The term is not formally defined in the IDEA, but the Department of Education’s discussion in the Analysis of Comments and Changes may be helpful in understanding the term’s general meaning and why no formal definition was included in the regulations:

Peer-reviewed research” generally refers to research that is reviewed by qualified and independent reviewers to ensure that the quality of the information meets the standards of the field before the research is published. However, there is no single definition of “peer reviewed research”’ because the review process varies depending on the type of information to be reviewed. (71 Fed. Reg. at 46664)

The term is used in conjunction with the phrase “to the extent practicable.” To better understand what this means and how IEP teams are to apply peer-reviewed research in their selection of services to be provided to a child with a disability, you may find the Department of Education’s comments helpful.

States, school districts, and school personnel must…select and use methods that research has shown to be effective, to the extent that methods based on peer-reviewed research are available. This does not mean that the service with the greatest body of research is the service necessarily required for a child to receive FAPE. Likewise, there is nothing in the Act to suggest that the failure of a public agency to provide services based on peer-reviewed research would automatically result in a denial of FAPE. The final decision about the special education and related services, and supplementary aids and services that are to be provided to a child must be made by the child’s IEP Team based on the child’s individual needs. (71 Fed. Reg. at 46665)

 
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The role of states in determining what special education is

This discussion of special education as a term brings to mind how it is also a process, a system. IDEA may define the term and establish rigorous standards for its implementation, but how special education unfolds in schools is very much a state and local matter. Education is traditionally a state responsibility, with each state vested with the authority to determine its own policies within the parameters of federal requirements. This is one reason why it’s so critical to know your state’s specific special education policies and requirements.

So—–where to look for that information?

The best place is to connect with the agency responsible in your state for overseeing special education in the state. That is most likely your state’s Department of Education—or Department of Special Education. Names will vary from state to state, of course. You can connect with the responsible agency in your state in a number of ways, beginning with…

  • NASDSE, the National Association of State Directors of Special Education. Visit NASDSE and consult their “Meet the Directors” interactive map. There, you’ll not only find the name of your state’s Special Education Director, but you’ll find the website address of the agency in charge. Most states provide links to the state’s special education regulations and policies on their website, though you may have to hunt around to find them! NASDSE’s map is online at:
    http://www.nasdse.org/MeettheDirectors/tabid/60/Default.aspx

 
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Summary

Obviously, the statement required by §300.320(a)(4) is one of the most critical components in a child’s IEP. Like the statement of annual goals, it arises out of, and is directly connected to, the “present levels” statement, where the child’s current performance levels and needs are described. This is why a well-crafted “present levels” statement is so pivotal when developing a child’s IEP.

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Would you like to read about another component of the IEP?

If so, use the links below to jump there quickly.
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Present Levels
How is the child currently doing in school? How does the disability affect his or her performance in class? This type of information is captured in the “present levels” statement in the IEP.

Annual Goals
Once a child’s needs are identified, the IEP team works to develop appropriate goals to address those needs. Annual goal describe what the child is expected to do or learn within a 12-month period.

Benchmarks or Short-Term Objectives
Benchmarks or short-term objectives are required only for children with disabilities who take alternate assessments aligned to alternate achievement standards. If you’re wondering what that means, this article will tell you!

Measuring and Reporting Progress
Each child’s IEP must also contain a description of how his or her progress toward meeting the annual goals will be measured and when it will be reported to parents. Learn more about how to write this statement in this short article.

Special Education (You’re here)
The IEP must contain a statement of the special education and related services and supplementary aids and services to be provided to the child, or on behalf of the child. This article focuses on the first element: a statement of the special education that will be provided for the child.

Related Services
To help a child with a disability benefit from special education, he or she may also need extra help in one area or another, such as speaking or moving. This additional help is called related services. Find out all about these critical services here.

Supplementary Aids and Services
Supplementary aids and services are intended to improve children’s access to learning and their participation across the spectrum of academic, extracurricular, and nonacademic activities and settings. The IEP team must determine what supplementary aids and services a child will need and specify them in the IEP.

Program Modifications for School Personnel
Also part of the IEP is identifying the program modifications or supports for school personnel that will be provided. Read more here.

Extent of Nonparticipation
The IEP must also include an explanation of the extent, if any, to which the child will not participate with nondisabled children in the regular class and in other school settings and activities. Read how this connects to IDEA’s foundational principle of LRE.

Accommodations in Assessment
IDEA requires that students with disabilities take part in state or districtwide assessments. The IEP team must decide if the student needs accommodations in testing or another type of assessment entirely. In this component of the IEP, the team documents how the student will participate.

Service Delivery
When will the child begin to receive services? Where? How often? How long will a “session” last? Pesky details, but important to include in the IEP!

Transition Planning
Beginning no later than a student’s 16th birthday (and younger, if appropriate), the IEP must contain transition-related plans designed to help the student prepare for life after secondary school.

Age of Majority
Beginning at least one year before the student reaches the age of majority, the IEP must include a statement that the student has been told about the rights (if any) that will transfer to him or her at age of majority. What is “age of majority” and what does this statement in the IEP look like?

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Effective Strategies in Dropout Prevention

Useful to: Parent Centers and state personnel involved in SSIP work and the implementation of evidence-based practices for systems change.

Students report a variety of reasons for dropping out of school; therefore, the solutions are multidimensional. The National Dropout Prevention Center has identified 15 effective strategies that have the most positive impact on the dropout rate.

Visit the National Dropout Prevention Center to learn what the 15 effective strategies are, as well as find a multitude of helpful resources on dropout prevention.
http://dropoutprevention.org/effective-strategies/

About the Dropout Prevention Strategies
These strategies appear to be independent, but actually work well together and frequently overlap. The greatest results will be had when school districts develop a program improvement plan that encompasses most or all of these strategies. These strategies have been implemented successfully at all education levels and environments throughout the nation and are divided into four general categories: school and community perspective, early interventions, basic core strategies, and making the most of instruction.