Special Services - Information

KEY TERMS & PHRASES

 

There are many words and phrases used by school district staff when they talk about special education.

Parent - In the Kentucky Administrative Regulations (KARs) Related to Exceptional Children parent means "a parent, a guardian, a person acting as a parent of a child or youth, a permanent foster parent, or a surrogate parent appointed by the local education agency as required. The term does not include a guardian who is an employee of the Commonwealth if the child or youth is a ward of the state."

Youth - When a child reaches the age of twelve (12), he or she will be known as a youth. When a young person reaches the age of eighteen (18), he or she will be considered an adult with full rights unless the parent provides evidence that a court order or legal document proves the parent is the guardian or youth's representative in educational matters.

Special Education - In the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) special education means "specially designed instruction, at no cost to parents or guardians, to meet the unique needs of a child or youth with a disability."

Admissions and Release Committee (ARC) - The Admissions and Release Committee is responsible for making all decisions about the identification, evaluation, placement, and provision of a free appropriate public education for a child or youth. THE PARENT OF THE CHILD OR YOUTH IS ALWAYS A MEMBER OF THIS COMMITTEE. In the Kentucky Administrative Regulations (KARs) as Related to Exceptional Children, the Admissions and Release Committee (ARC) includes the following participants: parent; child or youth, where appropriate; regular education teacher of the child or youth;
teacher of exceptional children who is knowledgeable of the disability or suspected disability; administrator or designee; and others as requested by any member of the ARC. For preschool children who are or have been in other early childhood programs, a representative of their program is also included.

Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) - Free appropriate public education means specially designed instruction and related services are provided for a child or youth with an educational disability at no cost to parents. The school may charge incidental fees which are normally charged to children and youth without disabilities or their parents as part of the regular education program (e.g. locker fees, laboratory fees, etc.).

Individual Education Program (IEP) - An Individual Education Program (IEP) is a written plan of action developed by an Admissions and Release Committee (ARC) to meet the specially designed instruction and related service needs of a child or youth with a disability.

Specially Designed Instruction - In the Kentucky Administrative Regulations (KARs) Related to Exceptional Children, means adapting as appropriate the content, methodology, or delivery of instruction to address the unique needs of the student with a disability and to ensure access of the student to the general education curriculum . Specially designed instruction is unique or different to what is used with most or all children or youth of the same or similar age who do not have a disability. The specially designed instruction is required for a child or youth with a disability to meet the Individual Education Program (IEP) goals and objectives. The term includes instructional services and community experiences needed to meet transition needs and assistive technology devices and services.

Related Services - Related services are those additional services that a child or youth with a disability may need to benefit from specially designed instruction. Related services may include, but are not limited to the following: transportation; medical evaluations; speech therapy; school health services; occupational therapy; physical therapy; parent counseling and training; rehabilitation counseling; assistive technology and services; and recreation services. Related services for preschool children
may also include parent education and service coordination.

Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) - The least restrictive environment (LRE) means the educational setting in which the child or youth with a disability can learn effectively, based upon unique needs and capabilities, and interact with similar age peers who are not disabled. 


THE REFERRAL PROCESS
When parents, school people, or friends notice that a child might need special help in school, they should give that information in writing to the school system. This is known as a referral.

If a parent or individual not employed by the school district wants to refer a child or youth, the school district will provide assistance to make sure the written referral document is completed and given to the Admissions and Release Committee (ARC) chairperson within ten (10) school days. If your child is in school and you want to make a referral, you should contact your child's principal. If your child is not in school, you should contact your child's principal. If your child is not in school, you should not contact the director of special education in your school district.

For children not yet three (3) years old, referrals may be made through an infant-toddler program. You may have brought your child for screening to check on how your child is developing. As a result of the screening, a referral for further study might be made.

When the school receives a referral, the process starts. You will be notified in writing that a referral on your child was received. The notice will tell you the reasons the referral was made. You will be asked to attend an Admissions and Release Committee (ARC) meeting to discuss the referral. The ARC, with you as a member, will determine if enough information is available to begin a full and individual evaluation.

Either before or as part of the referral process, the district is required to implement interventions to address the identified needs.  This process is called "Response to Intervention" or RTI.  The RTI process helps determine whether the need is due to missing skills or if the need will be remedied with interventions before looking at whether the student has a disability.

If the referral information is complete, the ARC will decide if there is a need for a full and individual evaluation of your child.   If the referral information is not complete or does not support a suspected disability and the need for a full and individual evaluation, the ARC records the basis for the decision on the conference summary form.

The permission to evaluate form will tell you about tests and other procedures school personnel plan to use to individually evaluate your child. Your responsibilities are to make sure you understand what school personnel are suggesting and to carefully decide if you want your child individually evaluated.

The school district must have your written permission before your child can be individually evaluated for the first time. Your written permission is required by federal and state regulations.

Schools are only required to provide free preschool for children whose families meet free lunch income guidelines and for children who have a significant delay, regardless of family income.  If your preschooler is not in school, the evaluation would need to be completed and reviewed before your child could attend school due to a disability.

The total amount of time from the date permission for evaluation is signed until the date services are initiated or determined not eligible shall not exceed sixty (60) school days.