+ Central Ohio IDA Conference in 2006: The New IDEA Law

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(Posted in 2006

On Wednesday, November 15, 2006, the Central Ohio Branch of the International Dyslexia Association (COBIDA) held a membership meeting; non-members also attended.  (By the way, any member of the International Dyslexia Assosciation [IDA] at the national level is automatically a member of the local branch.)   If you are NOT a member, join us now!  (www.interdys.org).

After electing board members and enacting bylaws, two speakers made powerful presentations.

From a Parent: Advice to Parents  

Diane Graves, the mother of a teenage daughter who has overcome severe challenges, spoke about “Lessons Learned” as she and her family negotiated pitfalls and joys through the years.  Her advice:

Plan – write ideas and information on paper; and collect other relevant paper: the reports, the IEPs.  Educate yourself: go online to the websites of IDA (www.interdys.org) , Schwab Learning (www.schwablearning.org) (www.sparktop.org) , LDOnline (www.ldonline.org), Wrightslaw (www.wrightslaw.com) , and check out www.ld.org, where a booklet about the IDEA law is available online.  Avail yourself of community resources: local support groups, the Ohio Coalition (www.OCECD.org), and COSERRC – the Central Ohio Special Education Regional Resource Center – (www.COSERRC.org) .  In addition, she says, don’t be afraid to contact your local state legislators; they can be found at www.legislature.state.oh.us.

Graves and other Hilliard Ohio parents of children facing challenges in school began a support group for themselves called PALS of Hilliard (palsofhilliard@msn.com).  Through this email list, she lets  parents know about meetings, events of interest, legislation that needs support.   They occasionally hold coffee get-togethers.  Other local groups might do the same thing. 

THE LAW  (The new IDEA Regulations) 

Judith C Saltzman, of Hickman and Lowder Co LPA, a Cleveland law firm, has years of expertise in education and disability law.  Her subject was the newly enacted version of IDEA  regulations. 

The new IDEA is not all that different from the previous version, she says, except for certain changes in the disciplinary sections.  She touched on various aspects of the law and answered questions from parents who needed guidance as they deal with school systems, trying to ensure their children are properly tested and served.

The IDEA law, promulgated by the US Department of Education, is supposed to ensure that disabled children have free, appropriate public education that prepares them for further education, employment, and individual living; it demands that schools use “effective, research-based” programs when teaching children.  Interestingly, the regulations now stipulate that not just book-learning must be addressed: social skills and other aspects of the child’s situation must be part of any IEP.   

The regulations are printed in the Code of Federal Regulations  (34 CFR Part 300).  It is a thick collection of many pages.  For information, call the US Government Printing Office at 1-866-512-1800.  The cost is $33.00.  It can also be downloaded at www.edpubs.org/webstore/Content/search.asp.

In Ohio, state law and federal law are not yet in sync; the new state regulations are not expected until 2008.  (State laws can grant more, but not fewer, rights, than federal law.)  [ NOTE: This post was writtien in 2006.]

An interesting factor of the IDEA law is “Child-Find”.  School districts must include children suspected of being a child with a disability

even though they have not failed or been retained and are advancing from grade to grade.  (34 CFR 300.111 and 300.101) 

This would cover social skill deficits and Asperger’s.  It means children need not wait until they have failed repeatedly (as in the old days) to receive services.

MFE (Multi-Factored Evaluation) 

The basis for an IEP is the “Multi-Factored Evaluation” (MFE).  Multi-factored means the child must be evaluated not just for phonics-related reading skills, but  for multiple academics-based skills, as well as all areas related to suspected disability – health, vision, hearing, social and emotionl skills, intelligence, communicative status and motor abilities.  [34 CFR 300.304 (c) (6)]

RTI (Response to Intervention) 

A new apprach called for is the “Response to Intervention” (RTI) approach, for children with specific learning disabilities (SLD).  Interventions must be offered, and the results evaluated.  Note: these interventions must be “scientific, research-based” interventions. 

You have a right to ask for the research on which the particular intervention your child is receiving is based.  [34 CFR 300.307-309]  Here is a website with a list of government approved methods: www.whatworksclearinghouse.com .

tutoring in Columbus OH:   Adrienne Edwards   614-579-6021   or          aedwardstutor@columbus.rr.com

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