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Visual Impairment, Including Blindness

Links updated, April 2017

Table of Contents

 
Photo of a 2-year-old boy covering one eye.

Julian’s Story

When Julian was almost two years old, he developed this adorable habit of closing one eye when he looked at you. It almost seemed as if he were winking. The possibility that Julian had a visual impairment didn’t initially occur to his parents, but when Julian’s left eye started crossing inward toward his nose…

Off they went to the eye doctor, who confirmed that, yes, Julian had a visual impairment—amblyopia, often called “lazy eye.” As the most common cause of vision problems in children, amblyopia is the medical term used when vision in one eye is reduced because that eye and the brain are not working together properly. (1)  Julian was also very farsighted, especially in the eye he’d taken to closing.

Soon Julian had a brand-new pair of durable glasses suited to his active two-year-old self. The eye doctor also put an eyepatch over Julian’s better eye, so that he would have to use the weaker eye and strengthen its communication with the brain. Otherwise, the eye doctor said, the brain would begin to ignore the images sent by the weaker eye, resulting in permanent vision problems in that eye.

Julian took good care of his glasses, but he didn’t take well to the patch, unfortunately. He ripped it off every time his parents put it on…and back on… and back on again. So today his eye still turns inward if he doesn’t wear his glasses.

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Visual Impairments in Children

Vision is one of our five senses. Being able to see gives us tremendous access to learning about the world around us—people’s faces and the subtleties of expression, what different things look like and how big they are, and the physical environments where we live and move, including approaching hazards.

When a child has a visual impairment, it is cause for immediate attention. That’s because so much learning typically occurs visually. When vision loss goes undetected, children are delayed in developing a wide range of skills. While they can do virtually all the activities and tasks that sighted children take for granted, children who are visually impaired often need to learn to do them in a different way or using different tools or materials. (2) Central to their learning will be touching, listening, smelling, tasting, moving, and using whatever vision they have. (3) The assistance of parents, family members, friends, caregivers, and educators can be indispensable in that process. More will be said about this in a moment.

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Types of Visual Impairment

Not all visual impairments are the same, although the umbrella term “visual impairment” may be used to describe generally the consequence of an eye condition or disorder.

The eye has different parts that work together to create our ability to see. When a part of the eye doesn’t work right or communicate well with the brain, vision is impaired.

To understand the particular visual impairment a child has, it’s helpful to understand the anatomy of the eye and the functions of its different parts. Rather than go into those details here, in this general fact sheet, we’re pleased to refer you to the experts for easy-to-understand explanations and diagrams of the visual system.

National Eye Institute |
Visit the Institute online for a diagram of the eye, what different parts are called, and what aspect of vision each part is responsible for.
https://www.nei.nih.gov/health/eyediagram

Most of us are familiar with visual impairments such as near-sightedness and far-sightedness. Less familiar visual impairments include:

  • strabismus, where the eyes look in different directions and do not focus simultaneously on a single point;
  • congenital cataracts, where the lens of the eye is cloudy;
  • retinopathy of prematurity, which may occur in premature babies when the light-sensitive retina hasn’t developed sufficiently before birth;
  • retinitis pigmentosa, a rare inherited disease that slowly destroys the retina;
  • coloboma, where a portion of the structure of the eye is missing;
  • optic nerve hypoplasia, which is caused by underdeveloped fibers in the optic nerve and which affects depth perception, sensitivity to light, and acuity of vision; and
  • cortical visual impairment (CVI), which is caused by damage to the part of the brain related to vision, not to the eyes themselves.

There are also numerous other eye conditions that can cause visual impairment. For a more comprehensive glossary of conditions, here are two resource pages you’ll find helpful:

American Foundation for the Blind
http://www.afb.org/info/living-with-vision-loss/eye-conditions/12

American Academy of Pediatrics
https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/eyes/pages/Specific-Eye-Problems.aspx

Because there are many different causes of visual impairment, the degree of impairment a child experiences can range from mild to severe (up to, and including, blindness). The degree of impairment will depend on:

  • the particular eye condition a child has;
  • what aspect of the visual system is affected (e.g., ability to detect light, shape, or color; ability to see things at a distance, up close, or peripherally); and
  • how much correction is possible through glasses, contacts, medicine, or surgery.

The term “blindness” does not necessarily mean that a child cannot see anything at all. A child who is considered legally blind may very well be able to see light, shapes, colors, and objects (albeit indistinctly). Having such residual vision can be a valuable asset for the child in learning, movement, and life.

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Signs of a Visual Impairment

It’s very important to diagnose and address visual impairment in children as soon as possible. Some vision screening may occur at birth, especially if the baby is born prematurely or there’s a family history of vision problems, but baby wellness visits as early as six months should also include basic vision screening to ensure that a little one’s eyes are developing and functioning as might be expected.

That said, common signs that a child may have a visual impairment include the following.

Eyes that don’t move together when following an object or a face

Crossed eyes, eyes that turn out or in, eyes that flutter from side to side or up and down, or eyes that do not seem to focus

Eyes that bulge, dance, or bounce in rapid rhythmic movements

Pupils that are unequal in size or that appear white instead of black

Repeated shutting or covering of one eye (as noticed with Julian)

Unusual degree of clumsiness, such as frequent bumping into things or knocking things over

Frequent squinting, blinking, eye-rubbing, or face crunching, especially when there’s no bright light present

Sitting too close to the TV or holding toys and books too close to the face

Avoiding tasks and activities that require good vision (4)

If any of these symptoms are present, parents will want to have their child’s eyes professionally examined. Early detection and treatment are very important to the child’s development.

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How Common are Visual Impairments?

Very common, especially as we grow older. But there are many causes of visual impairments that have nothing to do with the aging process, and children certainly can be—and are—affected. In the U.S., there are approximately:

  • 455,462 children with vision difficulty (the term “vision difficulty” refers only to children who have serious difficulty seeing even when wearing glasses and those who are blind.) (5)
  • 42,000 children with a severe vision impairment (unable to see words and letters in ordinary newsprint) (6)
  • 61,739 children in educational settings who are legally blind (7)

Each year States must report to the U.S. Department of Education how many children with visual impairments received special education and related services in our schools under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the nation’s special education law. Data for the school year 2015-16 indicate that the following numbers of children were served in the U.S. and its outlying areas:

  • 2,799 children (ages 3-5) with visual impairment (8)
  • 24,944 children (ages 6-21) with visual impairment (9)

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Understanding How Children with Visual Impairments Learn

Children with visual impairments can certainly learn and do learn well, but they lack the easy access to visual learning that sighted children have. The enormous amount of learning that takes place via vision must now be achieved using other senses and methods.

Hands are a primary information-gathering tool for children with visual impairments. So are the senses of smell, touch, taste, and hearing. Until the child holds the “thing” to be learned and explores its dimensions—let us say, a stuffed animal, a dog, a salt shaker, or a CD player —he or she cannot grasp its details. That is why sensory learning is so powerful for children with visual impairment and why they need to have as many opportunities as possible to experience objects directly and sensorially.

Families, friends, and others can support sensorial learning in many ways.

“Mmmm. Do you smell dinner?” appeals to the child’s sense of smell.

“Listen to that bird singing outside” calls to the child’s hearing. You might also say, “That’s a robin,” which gives the child a name for the bird that sings the song he or she is hearing.

“Your clothes are so soft today” speaks to the child’s sense of touch and helps the child build a picture of the “whole” from the many details. (10)

Being able to see enables us to capture the “whole” of an object immediately. This isn’t so for children with a visual impairment. They cannot see the “whole,” they have to work from the details up to build an understanding of the whole.

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The Help Available under IDEA

If you suspect (or know) that your child has a visual impairment, you’ll be pleased to know there’s a lot of help available under IDEA—beginning with a free evaluation of your child. IDEA requires that all children suspected of having a disability be evaluated without cost to their parents to determine if they do have a disability and, because of the disability, need special services under IDEA. Those special services are:

Early intervention | A system of services to support infants and toddlers with disabilities (before their 3rd birthday) and their families.

Special education and related services | Services available through the public school system for school-aged children, including preschoolers (ages 3-21).

Visual impairment, including blindness, is one of the disabilities specifically mentioned and defined in IDEA. If a child meets the definition of visual impairment in IDEA as well as the State’s criteria (if any), then he or she is eligible to receive early intervention services or special education and related services under IDEA (depending on his or her age).

To identify the EI program in your neighborhood
Ask your child’s pediatrician for a referral. You can also call the local hospital’s maternity ward or pediatric ward, and ask for the contact information of the local early intervention program.

Accessing special education and related services
If your child is between 3 and 21 years of age, we recommend that you get in touch with your local public school system. Calling the public school in your neighborhood is an excellent place to start. The school should be able to tell you the next steps to having your child evaluated free of charge. If found eligible, your child can begin receiving services specially designed to address his or her educational needs and other needs associated with the disability.

Developing a written plan of services
In both cases—in early intervention for a baby or toddler with a visual impairment and in special education for a school-aged child, parents work together with program professionals to develop a plan of services the child will receive based on his or her needs. In early intervention, that plan is called the IFSP (individualized family service plan). In special education, the plan is called the IEP (individualized education program). Parents are part of the team that develops their child’s IFSP or IEP.

There’s a lot to know about early intervention for infants and toddlers with disabilities and about special education and related services for school-aged children. Find out more about these crucial services for eligible children with visual impairments, beginning at:

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How IDEA Defines Visual Impairment

IDEA provides the nation with definitions of many disabilities that can make children eligible for special education and related services in schools. Visual impairment is one such disability the law defines—as follows:

Visual impairment including blindness…

…means an impairment in vision that, even with correction, adversely affects a child’s educational performance. The term includes both partial sight and blindness. [§300.8(c)(13)]

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Working with the Medical Community

If you have a child with a visual impairment, you’ll probably find yourself dealing with a variety of eye care professionals who become involved to diagnose and address your child’s specific disability or eye condition. Wondering who these professionals might be, what qualifications they should have, and what kind of expertise they can bring to your child’s care?

Family Connect is an excellent source of this information. Family Connect is an online, multimedia community created by the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) and the National Association for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments (NAPVI). We suggest you download (or read online) Family Connect’s toolkit called Working with Medical Professionals. The toolkit is available online in English and Spanish, at:
http://www.familyconnect.org/info/after-the-diagnosis/working-with-medical-professionals/13

Need a glossary? |Becoming familiar with medical terminology relating to the visual system may also prove helpful, especially when talking to medical professionals and reading about your child’s impairment. If you’re baffled by the terms you hear, visit the Glossary of Eye Terminology, which lists common terms that eye doctors use when discussing symptoms, tests, treatments, surgery, diseases and conditions, and the anatomy of the eye. The glossary’s online at: http://www.eyeglossary.net/

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Adapting the Environment

Making adaptations to the environment where a child with a visual impairment lives, works, or plays makes evident sense, but it may be difficult for families, daycare providers, or school personnel to decide what kinds of adaptations are necessary to ensure the child’s safety while also encouraging his or her ability to do things independently.

Two resources you can consult, depending on your role in the child’s life, are:

Family Connect | Adapting Your Home
http://www.familyconnect.org/info/browse-by-age/infants-and-toddlers/parenting-and-family-life-iandt/adapting-your-home/1235

IRIS Center | Offers a professional development module for teachers called Accommodations to the Physical Environment: Setting up a Classroom for Students with Visual Disabilities.
https://iris.peabody.vanderbilt.edu/module/v01-clearview/

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Educational Considerations

Children with visual impairments need to learn the same subjects and academic skills as their sighted peers, although they will probably do so in adapted ways. They must also learn an expanded set of skills that are distinctly vision-related, including learning how to:

  • move about safely and independently, which is known as orientation and mobility (O&M);
  • use assistive technologies designed for children with visual impairments;
  • use what residual vision they have effectively and efficiently; and
  • read and write in Braille, if determined appropriate by the IEP team of the child after a thorough evaluation. (11)

These are just some of the skills that need to be discussed by the student’s IEP team and included in the IEP, if the team decides that’s appropriate. Each of the above skill areas—and more—can be addressed under the umbrella of special education and related services for a child with a visual impairment.

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Tips for Teachers

—Learn as much as you can about the student’s specific visual impairment. What aspects of vision are affected, and how does that affect the student’s ability to move about the classroom, see the board, or read a textbook? Parents (and the student!) can be an excellent source of this information.

— Learn about the many instructional and classroom accommodations that truly help students with visual impairments learn. We’ve listed a few in the resource section. Strongly support the student by making sure that needed accommodations are provided for classwork, homework, and testing. These will help the student learn successfully.

—If you are not part of the student’s IEP team, ask for a copy of his or her IEP. The student’s educational goals will be listed there, as well as the services and classroom accommodations he or she is to receive.

Consult with others (e.g., special educators, the O&M specialist) who can help you identify strategies for teaching and supporting this student, ways to adapt the curriculum, and how to address the student’s IEP goals in your classroom.

—Find out if your state or school district has materials or resources available to help educators address the learning needs of children with visual impairments. It’s amazing how many do!

—Communicate with the student’s parents. Regularly share information about how the student is doing at school and at home.

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Tips for Parents

Learn as much as you can about your child’s specific visual impairment. The more you know, the more you can help yourself and your child.

—Understand that your child is receiving small bits of information at a time, not all at once through vision. Help your child explore new things with his or her senses and build up a concept of the “whole.” For example, your child might need to be shown a banana, help you peel it, feel the banana without its skin, have a bite of it, and then help you mash it in her bowl to understand the qualities of bananas and that bananas can be eaten in different ways. (12)

Encourage curiosity and explore new things and places often with your child. Give lots of opportunity to touch and investigate objects, ask questions, and hear explanations of what something is, where it comes from, and so on.

—Learn how to adapt your home, given the range and degree of your child’s visual impairment. Help your son or daughter explore the house and learn to navigate it safely.

—Encourage your child’s independence by letting him or her do things, rather than you doing them. Teach how to do a chore by using hands-on guidance, give lots of practice opportunities with feedback. Now, your child knows the skill, too.

Work with the early interventionists or school staff (depending on your child’s age) to build a solid individualized plan of services and supports that address your child’s unique developmental and educational needs.

Talk to other parents of children who have visual impairments similar to your child’s. They can be a great source of support and insight in the challenges and joys of raising a child with vision problems. Many of the organizations we’ve listed in the Resources section have state or local chapters you can contact. You can also visit Parent to Parent, which specializes in teaming new parents up with veteran parents of children with similar disabilities. P2P is online at: http://www.p2pusa.org/p2pusa/sitepages/p2p-home.aspx

Keep in touch with the professionals working with your child. Offer support. Demonstrate any assistive technology your child uses and provide any information teachers will need. Find out how you can augment your child’s learning at home.

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Resources of More Information

In alphabetical order, here’s a starter list of organizations providing info on visual impairments, including blindness. Explore the sites below and the wealth of material they offer to families, services providers, and educators. We also include helpful resources and accessible materials for those with visual impairments.

Organizations to Consult

American Council of the Blind
800.424.8666  | http://www.acb.org

American Foundation for the Blind
Find services in your state at the link below.
http://www.afb.org/directory.aspx

American Printing House for the Blind
800.223.1839  | http://www.aph.org/

Family Connect
http://www.familyconnect.org/parentsitehome.asp (English)
http://www.familyconnect.org/parentsitehome.asp?lang=esp (Spanish)

Foundation Fighting Blindness
800.683.5555 | 800.683.5551 (TTY)
Find your local chapter | http://www.blindness.org/local-chapters
http://www.blindness.org/ (English)
http://www.blindness.org/en-espanol (Spanish)

Lighthouse Guild
800.284.4422 | http://www.lighthouseguild.org/

National Braille Association
http://www.nationalbraille.org/

National Braille Press
888.965.8965 | http://www.nbp.org

National Federation of the Blind
http://www.nfb.org/

National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Library of Congress
http://www.loc.gov/nls/

National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health
http://www.nei.nih.gov/ (English)
https://www.nei.nih.gov/health/espanol (Spanish)

Prevent Blindness America
800.331.2020 | http://www.preventblindness.org

Accessible Materials

Bookshare | For those with print disabilities, including visual impairments or blindness. Offers free membership to qualified U.S. students and schools, and makes  more than 539,823 titles available digitally.
https://www.bookshare.org/

Learning Ally | For those cannot read standard print. Offers more than 80,000 digitally recorded textbooks and literature titles for download. Formerly Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic.
800.221.4792 | http://www.learningally.org/

LOUIS | Database of info on more than 421,789 titles in accessible formats, including braille, large print, sound recording, and electronic files.
http://louis.aph.org/catalog/CategoryInfo.aspx?cid=152

National Center on Accessible Educational Materials (AEM) | Excellent info for educators and families on getting AEM for students with visual impairments, blindness, or other print disabilities.
http://aem.cast.org/

Other Helpful Resources

Resources for Living | Entire section of NFB’s website that includes state and local connections for areas of life such as: aids and appliances, Braille, closed circuit TVs, guide dog schools, low vision, and technology.
http://www.nfb.org/living

Education for Students with Blindness or Visual Impairment | Entire section of Perkins School for the Blind’s website.
http://www.perkinselearning.org/scout/education-blind-visually-impaired

Are You the Parent of a Blind Child?
http://www.acb.org/node/392

AEM Navigator
The  AEM Navigator is an interactive tool that facilitates the process of decision-making around accessible instructional materials for an individual student.
http://aem.cast.org/navigating/aem-navigator.html#.WOPpYzvyuUk

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References

1 | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2015, September). Common eye disorders: Amblyopia. Atlanta, GA: Author. Online at:
https://www.cdc.gov/visionhealth/basics/ced/index.html

2 | American Foundation for the Blind. (n.d.). Accommodations and modifications at a glance: Educational accommodations for students who are blind or visually impaired. Retrieved April 4, 2017 from the Family Connect website:
http://www.familyconnect.org/info/education/know-your-rights/accommodations-and-modifications-at-a-glance/235

3 | American Foundation for the Blind. (n.d.). What’s different about the way visually impaired children learn? Retrieved April 4, 2017 from the Family Connect website:  http://www.familyconnect.org/info/browse-by-age/infants-and-toddlers/education-iandt/whats-different-about-the-way-visually-impaired-children-learn/1235

4 | American Optometric Association. (n.d.). Preschool vision: 2 to 5 years of age. St. Louis, MO: Author. Online at: http://www.aoa.org/patients-and-public/good-vision-throughout-life/childrens-vision/preschool-vision-2-to-5-years-of-age?sso=y

5 | American Foundation for the Blind. (2017, January). Children and youth with vision loss. New York: Author. Online at: http://www.afb.org/info/blindness-statistics/children-and-youth/children-and-youth-with-vision-loss/235

6 | Lighthouse International. (n.d.). Prevalence of visual impairment. No longer available online.

7 | American Foundation for the Blind. (2017, January). Children and youth with vision loss. New York: Author. Online at: http://www.afb.org/info/blindness-statistics/children-and-youth/children-and-youth-with-vision-loss/235

8 | U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs. (2016, July). Table 1-2. Number of children ages 3 through 5 served under IDEA, Part B, by disability category and state: 2015-2016. Online at: https://www2.ed.gov/programs/osepidea/618-data/static-tables/2015-2016/part-b/child-count-and-educational-environment/1516-bchildcountandedenvironment-2.xlsx

9 | U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs. (2016, July). Table 1-3. Number of students ages 6 through 21 served under IDEA, Part B, by disability category and state:2015-2016. Online at: https://www2.ed.gov/programs/osepidea/618-data/static-tables/2015-2016/part-b/child-count-and-educational-environment/1516-bchildcountandedenvironment-3.xlsx

10 | American Foundation for the Blind. (n.d.). Promoting your baby’s growth and development. Retrieved April 4, 2017 from the Family Connect website: http://www.familyconnect.org/info/browse-by-age/infants-and-toddlers/growth-and-development-iandt/promoting-your-babys-growth-and-development/1235

11 | American Foundation for the Blind. (n.d.). The expanded core curriculum. Retrieved April 4, 2017  from the Family Connect website:
http://www.familyconnect.org/info/education/know-your-rights/expanded-core-curriculum/235

12 | American Foundation for the Blind. (2011). What’s different about the way visually impaired children learn? Retrieved April 4, 2017  from the Family Connect website:
http://www.familyconnect.org/info/browse-by-age/infants-and-toddlers/education-iandt/whats-different-about-the-way-visually-impaired-children-learn/1235

 

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Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD)

A smiling boy with a backpack.Disability Fact Sheet 19 (FS19)
Links updated, April 2017

En español | In Spanish
See fact sheets on other disabilities

__________________________________________________________

Mario’s Story

Mario is 10 years old. When he was 7, his family learned he had AD/HD. At the time, he was driving everyone crazy. At school, he couldn’t stay in his seat or keep quiet. At home, he didn’t finish his homework or his chores. He did scary things, too, like climb out of his window onto the roof and run across the street without looking.

Things are much better now. Mario was tested by a trained professional to find out what he does well and what gives him trouble. His parents and teachers came up with ways to help him at school. Mario has trouble sitting still, so now he does some of his work standing up. He’s also the student who tidies up the room and washes the chalkboard. His teachers break down his lessons into several parts. Then they have him do each part one at a time. This helps Mario keep his attention on his work.

At home, things have changed, too. Now his parents know why he’s so active. They are careful to praise him when he does something well. They even have a reward program to encourage good behavior. He earns “good job points” that they post on a wall chart. After earning 10 points he gets to choose something fun he’d like to do. Having a child with AD/HD is still a challenge, but things are looking better.

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What is AD/HD?

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD) is a condition that can make it hard for a person to sit still, control behavior, and pay attention. These difficulties usually begin before the person is 7 years old. However, these behaviors may not be noticed until the child is older.

Doctors do not know just what causes AD/HD. However, researchers who study the brain are coming closer to understanding what may cause AD/HD. They believe that some people with AD/HD do not have enough of certain chemicals (called neurotransmitters) in their brain. These chemicals help the brain control behavior.

Parents and teachers do not cause AD/HD. Still, there are many things that both parents and teachers can do to help a child with AD/HD.

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How Common is AD/HD?

As many as 5 out of every 100 children in school may have AD/HD. Boys are three times more likely than girls to have AD/HD.

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What Are the Signs of AD/HD?

There are three main signs, or symptoms, of AD/HD. These are:

  • problems with paying attention,
  • being very active (called hyperactivity), and
  • acting before thinking (called impulsivity).

More information about these symptoms is listed in a book called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), which is published by the American Psychiatric Association (2000). Based on these symptoms, three types of AD/HD have been found:

  • inattentive type, where the person can’t seem to get focuesd or stay focused on a task or activity;
  • hyperactive-impulsive type, where the person is very active and often acts without thinking; and
  • combined type, where the person is inattentive, impulsive, and too active

Inattentive type. Many children with AD/HD have problems paying attention. Children with the inattentive type of AD/HD often:

  • do not pay close attention to details;
  • can’t stay focused on play or school work;
  • don’t follow through on instructions or finish school work or chores
  • can’t seem to organize tasks and activities;
  • get distracted easily; and
  • lose things such as toys, school work, and books. (APA, 2000, pp.85-86)

Hyperactive-impulsive type. Being too active is probably the most visible sign of AD/HD. The hyperactive child is “always on the go.” (As he or she gets older, the level of activity may go down.) These children also act before thinking (called impulsivity). For example, they may run across the road without looking or climb to the top of very tall trees. They may be surprised to find themselves in a dangerous situation. They may have no idea of how to get out of the situation.

Hyperactivity and impulsivity tend to go together. Children with the hyperactive-impulsive type of AD/HD often may:

  • figet and squirm;
  • get out of their chairs when they’re not supposed to;
  • run around or climb constantly;
  • have trouble playing quietly;
  • talk too much;
  • blurt out answers before questions have been completed;
  • have trouble waiting their turn;
  • interrupt others when they’re talking; and
  • butt in on the games others are playing. (APA, 2000, p. 86)

Combined type. Children with the combined type of AD/HD have symptoms of both of the types described above. They have problems with paying attention, with hyperactivity, and with controlling their impulses.

Of course, from time to time, all children are inattentive, impulsive, and too active. With children who have AD/HD, these behaviors are the rule, not the exception.

These behaviors can cause a child to have real problems at home, at school, and with friends. As a result, many children with AD/HD will feel anxious, unsure of themselves, and depressed. These feelings are not symptoms of AD/HD. They come from having problems again and again at home and in school.

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How Do You Know if a Child Has AD/HD?

When a child shows signs of AD/HD, he or she needs to be evaluated by a trained professional. This person may work for the school system or may be a professional in private practice. A complete evaluation is the only way to know for sure if the child has AD/HD. It is also important to:

  • rule out other reasons for the child’s behavior, and
  • find out if the child has other disabilities along with AD/HD

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What About Treatment?

 There is no quick treatment for AD/HD. However, the symptoms of AD/HD can be managed. It’s important that the child’s family and teachers:

  • find out more about AD/HD;
  • learn how to help the child manage his or her behavior;
  • create an educational program that fits the child’s individual needs;
  • and provide medication, if parents and the doctor feel that this would help the child.

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What About School?

School can be hard for children with AD/HD. Success in school often means being able to pay attention and control behavior and impulse. These are the areas where children with AD/HD have trouble.

There are many ways the school can help students with AD/HD. Some students may be eligible to receive special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). AD/HD is specifically mentioned under IDEA’s disability category of “Other Health Impairment” (OHI). We’ve included the IDEA’s definition of OHI below and provide information on OHI in a separate fact sheet.

Despite the fact that AD/HD is specifically mentioned in IDEA’s definition of OHI, some students with AD/HD may not be found eligible for services under IDEA. The AD/HD must affect educational performance. (To learn more about the eligibility process under IDEA, read Evaluating Children for Disability, looking specifically for the section on determining eligibility and what to do if you don’t agree with the determination.) If a student is found not eligible for services under IDEA, he or she may be eligible for services under a different law, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

Regardless of the eligibility determination (yes or no), the school and the child’s parents need to meet and talk about what special help the student needs. Most students with AD/HD are helped by supports or changes in the classroom (called adaptations). Some common changes that help students with AD/HD are listed under “Tips for Teachers” below.  Much additional info is available from the organizations listed under “Additional Resources” at the end of this fact sheet.
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IDEA’s Definition of “Other Health Impairment”

 Many students with ADHD may qualify for special education services under the “Other Health Impairment” category within the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). IDEA defines “other health impairment” as…

…having limited strength, vitality, or alertness, including a heightened alertness to environmental stimuli, that results in limited alertness with respect to the educational environment, that—

(a) is due to chronic or acute health problems such as asthma, attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, diabetes, epilepsy, a heart condition, hemophilia, lead poisoning, leukemia, nephritis, rheumatic fever, sickle cell anemia, and Tourette syndrome; and

(b) adversely affects a child’s educational performance.  [34 Code of Federal Regulations §300.8(c)(10)]

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Tips for Parents

Learn about AD/HD. The more you know, the more you can help yourself and your child. The organizations listed under “Additional Information” (at the end of this fact sheet) can help you learn more about the disability.

Praise your child when he or she does well. Build your child’s abilities. Talk about and encourage his or her strengths and talents.

Be clear, be consistent, be positive. Set clear rules for your child. Tell your child what he or she should do, not just what he shouldn’t do. Be clear about what will happen if your child does not follow the rules. Have a reward program for good behavior. Praise your child when he or she shows the behaviors you like.

Learn about strategies for managing your child’s behavior. These include valuable techniques such as: charting, having a reward program, ignoring behaviors, natural consequences, logical consequences, and time-out. Using these strategies will lead to more positive behaviors and cut down on problem behaviors. You can read about these techniques in many books. See “Resources” at the end of this publication.

Talk with your doctor about whether medication will help your child.

Pay attention to your child’s mental health (and your own!). Be open to counseling. It can help you deal with the challenges of raising a child with AD/HD. It can help your child deal with frustration, feel better about himself or herself, and learn more about social skills.

Talk to other parents whose children have AD/HD. Parents can share practical advice and emotional support. Call your state’s Parent Center to find out how to find parent groups near you.

Meet with the school and develop an educational plan to address your child’s needs. Both you and your child’s teachers should get a written copy of this plan.

Keep in touch with your child’s teacher. Tell the teacher how your child is doing at home. Ask how your child is doing in school. Offer support.

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Tips for Teachers

Learn more about AD/HD. The resources and organizations listed under “Additional Information” (at the end of this fact sheet) can help you identify specific techniques and strategies to support the student educationally. We’ve listed some strategies below.

Figure out what specific things are hard for the student. For example, one student with AD/HD may have trouble starting a task, while another may have trouble ending one task and starting the next. Each student needs different help.

Post rules, schedules, and assignments. Clear rules and routines will help a student with AD/HD. Have set times for specific tasks. Call attention to changes in the schedule.

Show the student how to use an assignment book and a daily schedule. Also teach study skills and learning strategies, and reinforce these regularly.

Help the student channel his or her physical activity (e.g., let the student do some work standing up or at the board). Provide regularly scheduled breaks.

Make sure directions are given step by step, and that the student is following the directions. Give directions both verbally and in writing. Many students with AD/HD also benefit from doing the steps as separate tasks.

Let the student do work on a computer.

Work together with the student’s parents to create and implement an educational plan tailored to meet the student’s needs. Regularly share information about how the student is doing at home and at school.

Have high expectations for the student, but be willing to try new ways of doing things. Be patient. Maximize the student’s chances for success.

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Additional Resources

CHADD | Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
Find loads of info on ADD and AD/HD. Find a local chapter of CHADD.
301.306.7070 | Info available in English and in Spanish.
http://www.chadd.org

National Resource Center on AD/HD
A service of CHADD.
1.800.233.4050 | Info available in English and in Spanish.
http://www.chadd.org/NRC.aspx

Attention Deficit Disorder Association
1.800.939.1019 | info@add.org
https://add.org/

For Parents

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
From the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), this extensive resource pages defines AD/HD; describes its signs, symptoms, and risk factors; discusses treatment and therapies; and connects you with multimedia and federal resources.
https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder-adhd/index.shtml

HealthyChildren.org on ADHD.
Scads of materials on ADHD in English and Spanish from this service of the American Academy of Pediatrics, including the article Understanding ADHD: Information for Parents.
https://www.healthychildren.org/English/health-issues/conditions/adhd/Pages/default.aspx

Information from the CDC.
https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/adhd/facts.html

If your child is having trouble at school, where do you start?
The resources listed on this page from CHADD will provide parents with a good background in the services and/or accommodations that may be available to their child. Every public school should also provide parents with information about local procedures and policies governing ADHD and support available through the school.
http://www.chadd.org/advocacy/education.aspx

For Schools

Teachers Guide to ADHD in the Classroom.
This guide focuses on what educators need to know about teaching kids with ADHD: how it affects children in the classroom — girls as well as boys — and how  teachers can help kids with the disorder succeed in school.
https://childmind.org/guide/a-teachers-guide-to-adhd-in-the-classroom/

Teaching Children with ADHD: Instructional Strategies and Practices.
From the U.S. Department of Education.
https://www2.ed.gov/rschstat/research/pubs/adhd/adhd-teaching_pg2.html

Teaching Students with ADHD: A Help Guide.
https://www.helpguide.org/articles/add-adhd/teaching-students-with-adhd-attention-deficit-disorder.htm

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Buzz from the Hub | March 2017, Issue 2

Mom and her two sonsBuzz from the Hub, March 2017, Issue 2

Theme: Serving Our Diverse Communities

This issue of the Buzz from the Hub emphasizes resources that help us build strong communities and understand the communities we serve. Connect with new resources in the disability field, new websites to explore, and newly updated materials on the Hub to share with your Spanish-speaking families.

We hope these resources will support the great work you continue to do with families from all walks of life.

The CPIR Team | Debra, Lisa, Jessica, Myriam, and Ana-Maria

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See past issues of the Buzz.

Resources to Serve Our Communities

Building Community, Building Hope
Developed for service providers, the Prevention Resource Guide highlights strategies to strengthen families by promoting key protective factors that prevent child abuse and neglect. It also includes tip sheets in both English and Spanish that you can share with parents.

Videos: Best Practices in Parent, Family, and Community Engagement
The Office of Head Start has released this Best Practices video series to support Head Start programs’ efforts to engage families and communities. The 7 videos in the series highlight examples of innovative approaches to engagement that foster strong relationships with families and lead to positive outcomes for children and their families.

Tribal Sovereignty: 2 from NAPTAC
Speaking of cultural awareness and the communities we serve… if your Parent Center works with Native Americans or Alaska Natives, new briefs from NAPTAC are must-reads. Tribal Sovereignty and Treaty Making lays the historical foundation, and Tribal Sovereignty and Outreach to Native Families offers important perspectives on how sovereignty can impact Parent Center outreach to tribal communities.

Resilience Tools Can Help Military Kids Develop Self-Advocacy
The Branch has identified some cool tools for military children to help them grow essential self-advocacy skills. They’re aimed at children ages 4 through middle school. These free tools were created to promote resilience and the ability to adapt to adverse circumstances or trauma.

7 Special Needs Parenting Podcasts Worth Listening To
For busy parents, podcasts are one easy way to keep informed, because podcasts can be downloaded and listened to at any time. Here’s a list of 7 podcasts that Friendship Circle recommends for parents of children with physical, developmental, emotional, or intellectual needs.

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What’s New to Know About?

CPIR’s updated several pages on the Hub that we thought you’d like to know about. These include:

Otras Leyes Importantes (Other Important Laws)
Connect Spanish-speaking families with info on ESSA, the ADA, Section 504, and other civil rights law.

Down Syndrome Fact Sheet in English and Spanish

Conducta/Comportamiento (Behavior)

Newly Launched!

National Center on Improving Literacy
NCIL has just launched its website. The center is funded to provide technical assistance to families to improve literacy outcomes for children in pre-K through grade 12 with (or at risk of) literacy-related disabilities, including dyslexia. Lots of tools and resources are available, and more are on their way. Check it out, at:
http://improvingliteracy.org/

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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, Lisa, and Ana-Maria 
The CPIR Team

____________________________________________________________

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.

Audiencia de Proceso Legal Debido

Foto de la bandera de los EEUU con la maceta de juez encima.Actualizado, abril de 2017

En inglés | In English

 

Al fin, llegamos a una exploración de la audiencia de proceso legal debido—sin duda, uno de los mecanismos más formales y legales bajo IDEA para resolver una disputa entre padre y escuela.

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Antes de la Audiencia de Proceso Legal Debido

El proceso de conseguir una audiencia de proceso legal debido consiste de ciertos pasos.

  • Se solicita una audiencia a través de presentar una queja de proceso debido, en consistencia con los procedimientos ya descritos en nuestra página Queja de Proceso Debido.
  • Con la presentación de la queja, empieza un periodo de resolución de 30 días, en el cual los padres y el sistema escolar tratan de resolver su disputa, usando la mediación o la reunión de resolución.
  • Si no pueden resolver su disputa en este periodo de 30 diías, puede ocurrir la audiencia de proceso legal debido.
  • Con la expiración del periodo de resolucion, hay una fecha límite de 45 días para llegar a una decisión final en la audiencia de proceso legal debido.

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Descripción de la Audiencia en Breve

La audiencia de proceso legal debido tiene las siguientes características:

  • Es bien formal. Puede ser también costoso.
  • Las dos partes en la disputa (la escuela y los padres de un niño con una discapacidad) presentan evidencia ante un oficial imparcial (el oficial de audiencia).
  • El oficial  de audiencia toma la decisión de cómo se resolverá la disputa.
  • Cada audiencia en las que se dan discusiones orales deben ser llevada a cabo a una hora y en un lugar razonablemente conveniente para los padres y el niño involucrados.
  • Por lo menos cinco días laborales antes de la audiencia, cada parte debe divulgar a todas las demás partes todas las evaluaciones completadas a dicha fecha y las recomendaciones correspondientes.
  • Cualquier parte de la audiencia tiene el derecho de ser representada por un abogado.
  • Cualquier parte de la audiencia tiene ciertos derecho claves (descritos a continuación).
  • La decisión tomada en una audiencia es final, excepto que cualquier parte involucrada en la audiencia puede apelar la decisión bajo las provisiones de IDEA.

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La Audiencia de Proceso Legal Debido, Más de Cerca

Las audiencias de proceso legal debido son bastante complejas. Es difícil explicarlas en una manera simple, porque siempre hay excepciones a las fechas límites y las decisiones de cualquier parte en la disputa pueden afectar el proceso y las fechas límites. Al leer lo siguiente, tenga en mente que sí es un proceso complicado y que hay muchas partes entrelazadas. Como con cualquier cosa legal, puede ser importante tener un defensor o abogado para ayudarle entender sus opciones y derechos, las reglas aplicables y las políticas locales y Estatales.

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Entendiendo el Sistema de Proceso Legal Debido Estatal

Para empezar, le ayudaría a Ud. conocer cómo se organiza el sistema de proceso debido en su Estado. Es una de las dos maneras siguientes:

  • un sistema de un nivel; o
  • un sistema de dos niveles.

En un sistema de un nivel, la entidad responsable de conducir las audiencias es la agencia educacional Estatal (la SEA, por sus siglas en inglés) u otra agencia pública Estatal. Si hay una apelación de la decisión en una audiencia, se hace la apelación directamente a la corte. Casi 57% de los distritos escolares en los EE.UU. usan un sistema de un nivel.

En un sistema de dos niveles, la agencia educacional local (la LEA, por sus siglas en inglés) es responsable de llevar a cabo las audiencias. Si hay una apelación de la decisión en una audiencia, se hace la apelación a la SEA. La SEA dirige una revisión imparcial de la decisión y hace una determinación. Cualquier apelación de esta determinación se hace a la corte. Casi 43% en los EE.UU. usan un sistema de dos niveles.

Hay diferencias en las fechas límites y el derecho de apelar entre estos dos sistemas. Entonces, es importante saber cuál de los dos sistema se usa en su Estado. Ud. puede identificarlo a través de la notificación sobre las garantías procesales que le provee el sistema escolar cada año. La notificación indicará el tipo de sistema usado en el Estado y identificará la agencia responsable de llevar a cabo las audiencias de proceso legal debido (p. ej., la LEA, la SEA u otra agencia Estatal).

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Derechos de Audiencia

Cada parte involucrada en una audiencia de proceso legal debido tiene ciertos derechos en la audiencia (y en cualquier apelación) bajo §300.512 de IDEA. Estos incluyen el derecho de:

  • Ser acompañada y aconsejada por un abogado y por individuos con un conocimiento o entrenamiento especial sobre los problemas de los niños con discapacidades;
  • Presentar evidencias y confrontar, interrogar y obligar la asistencia de testigos;
  • Prohibir la introducción de cualquier evidencia en la audiencia que no haya sido divulgada a la otra parte por lo menos cinco días laborales antes de la audiencia;
  • Obtener un registro literal por escrito o, a opción de los padres, en formato electrónico de la audiencia; y
  • Obtener por escrito o, a opción de los padres, en formato electrónico las determinaciones de hechos y decisiones.

Los padres del niño también tienen algunos derechos adicionales:

  • Derecho de tener su niño (el sujeto de la audiencia) presente;
  • Derecho de abrir la audiencia al público; y
  • Derecho de tener el registro de la audiencia y las determinaciones de hechos y decisiones provistas sin costo alguno para ellos.

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Calificaciones de los Oficiales de Audiencia

La imparcialidad del oficial de audiencia es sumamente importante. Como mínimo, un oficial de audiencia no debe ser—

  • un empleado de la SEA o la LEA involucrada en la educación o el cuidado del niño;
  • una persona que tenga un interés personal o profesional que esté en conflicto con la objetividad de la persona en la audiencia. [§300.511(c)]

Una persona que por lo demás califica para dirigir una audiencia no es un empleado de la agencia solamente porque la agencia le paga para servir como oficial de audiencia.

El oficial debe estar bien informado sobre IDEA, las regulaciones Estatales y Federales pertinentes, y las interpretaciones legales de IDEA por las cortes Federales y Estatales. También debe poseer:

  • el conocimiento y la habilidad de dirigir audiencias de acuerdo a la práctica legal estandarizada y apropiada; y
  • el conocimiento y la habilidad para presentar y escribir decisiones de acuerdo a la práctica legal estandarizada y apropiada.

Cada agencia responsable de llevar a cabo las audiencias de proceso legal debido debe mantener una lista de las personas que sirven como oficiales de audiencia. La lista debe incluir una declaración de las calificaciones de cada una de esas personas.

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Fechas Límites

La agencia pública responsable de conducir las audiencias de proceso legal debido en su Estado debe asegurar que, no más tarde de 45 días después de la expiración del periodo de resolución de 30 días (o durante cualquier periodo de tiempo ajustado):

  • Se llega a una decisión final en la audiencia; y
  • Se envía una copia de la decisión a cada una de las partes. [§300.515]

A petición de cualquiera de las partes, un oficial de audiencia puede conceder extensiones específicas de tiempo más allá de los periodos establecidos.

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La Base de la Decisión del Oficial de Audienia

La determinación de un oficial de audiencia de si un niño recibe FAPE (una educación pública gratis y apropiada) debe estar basada en fundamentos sustantivos. Esto es un término legal, con su propio sentido.

En contraste, hay audiencias en las cual se alegue la violación de un procedimiento. En éstas, un oficial de audiencia puede declarar que un niño no recibió una FAPE solamente si las insuficiencias del proceso—

  • impidieron el derecho del niño a una FAPE;
  • impidieron significantemente la oportunidad del padre de participar en la toma de decisiones del proceso con relación a la provisión de una FAPE al niño del padre; o
  • causaron la privación de beneficio educativo. [§300.513(a)]

Es interesante que IDEA hace un contraste entre fundamentos substantivos y una violación de un procedimiento. Una decisión sobre FAPE debe estar basada en fundamentos substantivos. Pero de vez en cuando hay audiencias sobre asuntos relacionados a una violación de procedimiento—algo técnico, digamos. En tal caso, las regulaciones de IDEA requieren que el oficial de audiencia evalúe la magnitud de las consecuencias de la violación técnica (no la violación misma) antes de que el oficial pueda determinar que el niño no ha recibido una FAPE.

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Sobre la Decisión del Oficial de Audiencia

Una decisión tomada en una audiencia es final, excepto que cualquier parte involucrada en la audiencia puede apelar la decisión bajo las provisiones de IDEA.

En consistencia con las garantías procesales de IDEA, el sistema escolar debe implementar la decisión del oficial de la audiencia lo pronto posible. Además, después de borrar cualquier información que permita la identificación personal, debe—

  • Transmitir las determinaciones y decisiones de la audiencia al panel consejero del Estado; y
  • Hacer esas determinaciones y decisiones disponibles al público. [§300.513(d)(2)]

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Estatus del Niño Durante los Procedimientos

Con excepción de ciertas circunstancias disciplinarias, durante la pendencia de cualquier procedimiento judicial o administrativo relacionado con una queja de proceso debido o una audiencia de proceso legal debido, a menos que el Estado o la LEA y los padres del niño lo acuerden de otra manera, el niño involucrado en la queja debe permanecer en su ubicación educativa actual. (§300.518)

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Apelación de la Decisión del Oficial de Audiencia

¿Qué pasa si cualquiera de las partes (padres o sistema escolar) no está de acuerdo con la decisión del ofiical de audiencia y quiere apelarla? ¿Es posible?

Sí, se puede apelar la decisión del oficial de audiencia. Pero cómo y por dónde dependerían en qué tipo de sistema (de un nivel o de dos niveles) tiene el Estado.  Ud. puede aprender más sobre el proceso de apelación en nuestra página Apelación y Acción Civil.

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¿Necesita los detalles de otro mecanismo? Use los enlaces a continuación.

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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.

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¿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.
Otra hoja informativa de la American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

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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.
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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.