U.S. Department of Education Announces Initiative to Address the Inappropriate Use of Restraint and Seclusion to Protect Children with Disabilities, Ensure Compliance with Federal Laws

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced yesterday that the U.S. Department of Education will launch an initiative to address the possible inappropriate use of restraint and seclusion in our nation’s schools. The Office for Civil Rights (OCR), in partnership with the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS), will oversee this proactive approach which will protect students with disabilities by providing technical assistance and support to schools, districts, and state education agencies, and strengthen enforcement activities.   Read More

KATC: Connect the Dots for ASD

Kentucky Autism Training Center (KATC):

Connect the Dots for ASD will be starting in multiple regions this winter/spring! Call the contact in your region below for more information — these groups are FREE!!!

KDE Releases Dyslexia Toolkit for Families, Educators

KDE News Release 1/3/19:
The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) has developed the “Kindergarten to Grade 3 Dyslexia Toolkit” in response to The Ready to Read Act (House Bill 187, 2018). The toolkit provides educators and families with a resource to help meet the learning needs of students with dyslexia or those who display characteristics of dyslexia. The 20-page document can be found on KDE’s website, education.ky.gov, under the “Educators” portal on the homepage.

Kentucky Education Commissioner Wayne Lewis and Deputy Commissioner Amanda Ellis will review the toolkit during a live webinar at 1 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 4. The webinar will be broadcast and stored on KDE’s Media Portal, mediaportal.education.ky.gov.

The Ready to Read Act, passed in 2018 and spearheaded by former State Representative Addia Wuchner, was a bi-partisan effort aimed at decreasing the education barriers students with dyslexia face. The bill took aim at increasing educators’ knowledge of the characteristics ofdyslexia; appropriate teaching strategies to use when instructing students with dyslexia; and established a process for identifying individual learning needs. Since the bill’s passage, KDE has worked to create a toolkit to assist in building an understanding of dyslexia, early recognition characteristics and considerations for evidence-based instructional practices. 

“If diagnosed and addressed early, children with dyslexia can learn and thrive just as other children. Preparing teachers to identify the characteristics of dyslexia and getting them the tools to support students is critical,” said Kentucky Education Commissioner Wayne Lewis. “Without diagnosis and intervention, children with dyslexia are at a distinct disadvantage in school and later in the workforce. This toolkit will serve as a resource and will hopefully have long-term benefits for Kentuckians for years to come.”

Representative Wuchner, who retired from the Kentucky General Assembly on Dec. 31, said she feels this bill will leave a lasting impact on Kentuckians.

“In working with experts over the years and having family members who are dyslexic, I can speak to the power of early identification of children at risk of dyslexia followed by the implementation of interventions,” said Wuchner. “I’m thankful for the work of the Kentucky Department of Education on this effort and I look forward to seeing how it can improve lives and academic outcomes in the years ahead.”

See also KDE’s Specific Learning Disability Guidance Document

Department for Medicaid Services: 1915(c) HCBS Waiver Public Comment Begins

The Department for Medicaid Services (the Department) is reminding stakeholders that the formal public comment period for amendments to the Commonwealth’s 1915(c) Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) waiver programs began Monday, January 7, 2019.

You can view the amended waiver applications and a summary of the updates on the Department’s Division of Community Alternatives website. You will find the documents in the “Additional Information” section of the site. The Department is also hosting a series of webinars this week to highlight the proposed amendments to the waivers. You can find a schedule, along with information on how to submit your public comments, in the public notice that the Department issued in December 2018. 

The formal public comment period will remain open until February 6, 2019, at 11:59PM. The Department looks forward to receiving your feedback. 

KY-SPIN Central KY Region Educational Specialist Position Available

The full-time Central KY Region Educational Specialist ($13 an hour, 40 hours a week) position assists the Director’s in the daily coordination of Parent Training and Information activities.  This position is for someone who lives within the region they will be serving (to view the region: Regional Contact Map).  Must be able to travel statewide and have the transportation to do so.  This position requires flexibility to work late evenings/night and on the weekends to provide services to the families we serve.  This person will foster and maintain positive relationships with other staff, other statewide partners and board members; helping them organize events throughout the state.  The Educational Specialist will work with other organizations in collaborative efforts for workshops, training events, and participation in community involvement events.  We are looking for someone who is a self-starter, outgoing, approachable, strong work ethic, able to present to groups, and has a good working knowledge of Microsoft Office programs. Experience/knowledge of Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), IEP’s, IFSP’s, disability rights, disability systems navigation, and inclusion is a plus.   Assist families, professionals and youth with disabilities one-on-one. Must be able to return calls within 24 hours; check and answer emails at a minimum of twice daily Monday through Friday; and complete required paperwork.  You will be responsible for providing 30 workshops and 10 booths for your region in a project year.  Persons with disabilities and parents or family members of children/persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply. Minimum requirement of Standard High School Diploma or GED.  KY-SPIN, Inc. is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

If interested in this position, send a letter of interest and a current resume to spininc@kyspin.com  by January 22, 2019.

KY-SPIN Western KY Region Educational Specialist Position Available

The full-time Western KY Region Educational Specialist ($13 an hour, 40 hours a week) position assists the Director’s in the daily coordination of Parent Training and Information activities.  This position is for someone who lives within the region they will be serving (to view the region: Regional Contact Map).  Must be able to travel statewide and have the transportation to do so.  This position requires flexibility to work late evenings/night and on the weekends to provide services to the families we serve.  This person will foster and maintain positive relationships with other staff, other statewide partners and board members; helping them organize events throughout the state.  The Educational Specialist will work with other organizations in collaborative efforts for workshops, training events, and participation in community involvement events.  We are looking for someone who is a self-starter, outgoing, approachable, strong work ethic, able to present to groups, and has a good working knowledge of Microsoft Office programs. Experience/knowledge of Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), IEP’s, IFSP’s, disability rights, disability systems navigation, and inclusion is a plus.   Assist families, professionals and youth with disabilities one-on-one. Must be able to return calls within 24 hours; check and answer emails at a minimum of twice daily Monday through Friday; and complete required paperwork.  You will be responsible for providing 30 workshops and 10 booths for your region in a project year.  Persons with disabilities and parents or family members of children/persons with disabilities are encouraged to apply. Minimum requirement of Standard High School Diploma or GED.  KY-SPIN, Inc. is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

If interested in this position, send a letter of interest and a current resume to spininc@kyspin.com  by January 22, 2019.

KY’s Regional Interagency Councils (RIACs) are Seeking Parent Representatives

KY’s Regional Interagency Councils (RIACs) are seeking parent representatives to serve on councils across the state. The primary role of the parent representative is to serve as a voice for families who have children and transition-age youth with or at risk of developing behavioral health needs.  RIACs meet monthly and are made up of community partners representing the education system, family resource youth service centers, mental health centers, public health, community based services, courts, juvenile justice, youth, parents, and other community agencies that provide services and supports to children, adolescents and transition-age youth and their families.  Interested parents must have a child with a behavioral health need who is or has been a consumer of system of care services and supports.

The position is voluntary and compensation is provided for meeting participation.  Those selected will have opportunities to attend training, conferences, and meetings to support leadership development in their communities and assist with the growth and implementation of a youth and family-driven system of care.

For more information contact your local RIAC:
RIAC Map 2018     RIAC Contact Information with Counties

KY-SPIN’s Myth Busters: If a parent does not agree with the schools evaluation results

Myth: The parent has no options if they do not agree with the school’s evaluation results.

Truth: If the parent is not in agreement with the schools initial and subsequent evaluations in Kentucky they can request through the school an Independent Education Evaluation (IEE) at the public school’s expense.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA) Regulations
Part 300 / E / 300.502 Independent educational evaluation. (b) (1) A parent has the right to an independent educational evaluation at public expense if the parent disagrees with an evaluation obtained by the public agency, subject to the conditions in paragraphs (b)(2) through (4) of this section.

Kentucky Administrative Regulations (KAR)
707 KAR 1:340. Procedural safeguards and state complaint procedures. Section 2. Independent Educational Evaluation. (6) A parent shall be entitled to only one (1) independent educational evaluation at public expense each time the public agency conducts an evaluation with which the parents disagree.

Helpful Resources:

Right to Obtain an Independent Educational Evaluation (CPIR)
Communicating with your child’s school through letter writing(CPIR)
Evaluating Children for Disability (CPIR)
Just for Parents: Learning about Special Education Evaluation (PACER)
Evaluation: What Does It Mean for Your Child? (PACER)

Spotlight on KY: Kentucky Autism Training Center (KATC)

The mission of the Kentucky Autism Training Center (KATC) is to strengthen our state’s systems of support for persons affected by autism by bridging research to practice and by providing training and resources to families and professionals. KATC is committed to improving the quality of life for those affected by ASD. Learn More about KATC

Department for Medicaid Services Releases Two Guides

The Department for Medicaid Services Division of Community Alternatives:

The Department for Medicaid Services a week after releasing its response to Navigant’s final assessment report on the Commonwealth’s 1915(c) waiver programs has come out with two guides to explain plans for waiver redesign to individuals and providers. You can find the guides here: Guide for individuals and their families & Guide for waiver providers

The Department for Medicaid Services releases a response to Navigant’s 1915(c) waiver assessment final report

The Department for Medicaid Services (DMS) Division of Community Alternatives:

The Department for Medicaid Services releases a response to Navigant’s 1915(c) waiver assessment final report (Published Oct. 15, 2018): On Sept. 20, 2018 the Department for Medicaid Services released the Navigant Consulting, Inc. final report on its assessment of Kentucky 1915(c) Home and Community Based waiver programs. The report included 11 recommendations for improving the programs and suggested next steps. The report finalized preliminary recommendations released in April 2018 and included feedback that the department collected from stakeholders in the spring of 2018.

Following a thorough review of the final report and stakeholder feedback, 1915(c) waiver staff, department leadership and leadership of the Cabinet for Health and Family Services selected and prioritized the recommendations and developed a response to the report. It includes the following information:

  1. Recommendations the department will adopt, how the department plans to adopt them and when you can expect to see program updates.
  2. Information on opportunities to learn more about the recommendations the department will implement, ask questions and get a more detailed explanation of what they mean for you.

Complete DMS Response to Navigant Final 1915(c) Waiver Assessment Report  

Navigant 1915(c) Waiver Assessment Final Report

Announcements

Paulette Logsdon, Executive Director of KY-SPIN, has retired leaving a long legacy of service.  She has been with KY-SPIN since it began in 1988, she has dedicated 30 years to helping individuals with disabilities and their families at KY-SPIN and prior to that as well.  Paulette has paved the way for us all, not just in Kentucky but throughout the US to achieve great things for our families!  Although she will be greatly missed, she deserves this more than anyone and she will always be an important part of KY-SPIN.

Rhonda Logsdon was recently name the Executive Director of KY-SPIN.  Rhonda has been with KY-SPIN for 30 years in various capacities. She is a sibling of 3 whom have a disability and began as a teenager presenting for KY-SPIN. She is also a proud mom who foster/adopted her child. She is dedicated to assisting families and persons with disabilities to access needed information to be successful. Rhonda believes all children, no matter the severity of their disability, can achieve great things!

KY-SPIN’s Myth Busters: Timeline for Initial Evaluation to be Completed

Myth: The school does not have a set date to have the initial evaluation for Special Education/IEP (ages 3-21) to be completed by.

Truth: In Kentucky public schools have 60 school days from the date the parent signed the parental consent to evaluate.  This is not calendar days, weekends and breaks from school do not count.

If your child attends school on one of our military bases in Kentucky (Fort Knox or Fort Campbell) they are operated by Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA). For DoDEA Schools they have 45 school days from the date that you sign the “Parent Permission to Assess” form.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA) Regulations:

Part 300 / D / Sec. 300.301 Initial evaluations. (c) (1) (i) Must be conducted within 60 days of receiving parental consent for the evaluation; or (ii) If the State establishes a timeframe within which the evaluation must be conducted, within that timeframe; and

Kentucky Administrative Regulations (KAR):
707 KAR 1:320. Individual education program. Section 2. ARC Meetings. (3) An LEA shall ensure that within sixty (60) school days following the receipt of the parental consent for an initial evaluation of a child:

Helpful Resources:

DoDEA Parents Handbook on Special Education

FAQ: Kentucky Specific Regulations as related to IDEA 2004 Part B (ages 3-21) Chart (KY-SPIN, Inc.)

How to Get An Evaluation for Your Child Through School (ages 3-21) KY-SPIN, Inc. Information Sheet Series

Communicating with your child’s school through letter writing (NICHCY)

Evaluation: What Does It Mean for Your Child? (PACER)

Just for Parents: Learning about Special Education Evaluation (PACER)

Evaluating children for the presence of disability (NICHCY)

Categories of disability under IDEA (NICHCY)

Spotlight on KY: The Arc of Kentucky

The Arc of Kentucky holds a vision of a positive future for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities; a future of communities with services and supports that will promote lives of value for Kentuckians with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Arc of Kentucky believes that individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities are contributing members of schools, work places, churches, synagogues, neighborhoods, and their communities.  Learn More

Announcing New OSEP Director

Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services Blog:

The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services is excited to announce that Laurie VanderPloeg is joining the team as Director for the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). We have full confidence that Laurie’s depth of knowledge and experience as well as her dedication to preparing students for success will move us forward in our commitment to raise expectations and improve outcomes for infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities across the country.

Laurie has dedicated the past 38 years to ensuring that students with disabilities have access to a high-quality education, and her passion for empowering students to succeed began long before she entered the field. Laurie’s mom was a teacher who helped develop one of the first instructional support models for a school district in Lansing, MI, and her work ethic inspired Laurie to seek a similar career path.

“My mom was my first mentor and role model,” Laurie said. “I watched her commitment to her profession and observed her passion for meeting the individual needs of students.” Read More