March 09, 2023 | KY-SPIN

>>AMBER:  Hello, everyone.  And welcome back today to the fourth and final session of preparing for the admissions and release committee.  IEP team meeting series.

A little bit about Kentucky SPIN is that ‑‑ we were founded by the U.S. Department of Education under IDEA since 1988, when Kentucky first received a PTI.  Kentucky SPIN Parent Center provides training, information and support for children a...

>>AMBER:  Hello, everyone.  And welcome back today to the fourth and final session of preparing for the admissions and release committee.  IEP team meeting series.

A little bit about Kentucky SPIN is that ‑‑ we were founded by the U.S. Department of Education under IDEA since 1988, when Kentucky first received a PTI.  Kentucky SPIN Parent Center provides training, information and support for children and youth with all types of disabilities birth through 26 years of age and beyond, their parents, families and professionals.

It’s easier to tell you what we do not do at Kentucky SPIN as opposed to what we do.

We do not act as attorneys and we are not advocates.

However, we do empower families to effectively advocate for their children and youth to advocate for themselves.  We provide that peer‑to‑peer support to help families access needed information and resources.

And before we get into the session today, I do want to go over a few housekeeping items.  We all work from home.  There might be internet connections, you might hear noises, dogs, family members, we ask for grace as we go through this.  If you need to step away for a moment and handle something, please feel free to do this as this session is being recorded.  And can always be viewed later on.

And also, the chat box and Q&A box are live.  So if you have a question during the session, feel free to put that in there and we’ll respond as soon as we are able to.

So as I have said, today is the fourth and final session of this series, which we’ll be going over Least Restrictive Environment and decision‑making.

Jumping right on in.

Words to know.

Admissions release committee, a group of individuals responsible for developing, reviewing or revising an individual education program or IEP, for a child with a disability.

Required membership of an ARC include the parents of the student, a regular education teacher of the student, a special education teacher knowledge able of the student or disability, and a district representative as well as related services personnel, the student, when appropriate.

Prior written notice, PWN, written notice provided to parents each time the school proposes to take or refuse to take in certain actions.  Initiate or change the identification, evaluation or educational placement of your child.  Proposes to initiate or change provisions of FAPE to your child.  And FAPE stands for free appropriate public education.  Refuses to initiate or change the identification, evaluation or educational placement of your child.

Refuses to initiate or change the provisions of FAPE to your child.

More words to know.

State education agency also known as SEA.  Kentucky Department of Education.  Local education agency, or LEA.  Which is the local school district.

Supplementary aids and services.  Aids and services and other supports that are provided in regular education classes, other education related settings and in extracurricular and nonacademic settings to enable children with disabilities to be educated with nondisabled children to the maximum extent appropriate.

LA ‑‑ I’m sorry ‑‑ IAES ‑‑ interim alternative educational setting.

Least Restrictive Environment or LRE.

Refers to the setting where a child with a disability can receive an appropriate education designed to meet his or her individual educational needs alongside peers without disabilities to the maximum extent appropriate.

Today’s agenda.

Defining Least Restrictive Environment LRE, requirements continuum of alternative placements, placements, nonacademic settings, roles of supplementary aids and services many supporting participation of children with disabilities, factors to consider in LRE decision‑making and resources to support children in the LRE.

Defining LRE.

Each public agency must ensure that, to the maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities are educated with children who are nondisabled.

The standard or expectation is that education with nondisabled children is absolutely the first environment to be considered with an IEP team is determining where a specific child with a disability will receive his or her special education and related services.  Each child’s IEP team first must determine whether the child can be educated satisfactory in the regular education environment with appropriate supplementary aids and services before more restrictive placement options can be considered.

If it is determined that the child can receive an appropriate education in the regular classroom, with or without the provisions of supplementary aids and services, then placements in the regular classroom is the Least Restrictive Environment for that child.

>>RHONDA:  Well, and Amber, I wanted to say that one of the main things too and misconceptions that we see quite a bit is that it’s not based on ‑‑ the disability that you have or the severity of your disability.  It’s what is the Least Restrictive Environment for each child?  And that’s going to look very different.  No matter what disability they have.

And ‑‑ and even if you have a more severe disability, that doesn’t mean that you can’t in the regular classroom with nondisabled peers be successful with the right supplementary aids and services.  It depends individually on what’s best for each child.
>>AMBER:  I’m so glad you said that, Rhonda, that’s so true.  Unfortunately, sometimes families do hear if they are child has a specific diagnoses that she should be considered specifically for a room that serves that diagnoses.  And that is absolutely not the case.  It’s going to be the individual need for that student.  Not just dependent what diagnoses they have gotten.

Defining LRE continued.  Special classes separate schooling or other removal of children with the disabilities from the regular educational environment occurs only if the nature of the severity of the disability is such that the education in the regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactory.  Special classes and the removal of children or separate schooling as I stated here is considering the meaning of satisfactorily educated.

Note, there is not a specific standard or level established within IDEA for determining what it means for the education of a child with a disability to be achieved satisfactory.  Rather each child’s IEP is the measuring tool.  The IEP team determines if a child’s education is appropriate and if it’s being achieved satisfactorily.

The IEP specifies among other things, requirements for measurable annual goals for the child, how the child’s progress towards these goals will be measured, and how often the child’s parents will be informed as to their child’s progress.

When we are considering supplementary aids and services, the provision of supplementary aids and services is essential for many children with disabilities to progress to learn.  But just what are supplementary aids and services?

If you recall from the words to know slide, supplementary aids and services, means aids, services and other supports that are provided in a regular education class, other education related settings and in extracurricular and nonacademic settings to enable children with disabilities to be educated with nondisabled children to the maximum extent appropriate.

Supplementary aids and services can be accommodations and modifications to the curriculum under study or the manner in which the content is presented or a child’s progress is measured.

But that’s not all they are or can be.

Supplementary aids and services can also include direct services and supports to the child.  As well as supports for training with staff that work with the child.  Remember the determination of when constitutes appropriate supplementary aids and services for a particular child is made on individual bases.

As we continue on defining LRE, states must not consider use a funding mechanism that distributes funds based on the type of setting in which a child is served.  If doing so leads to an evaluation of LRE requirements.

Placement decisions must be based on a child’s unique needs and IEP.  Not administrative convenience, disability, program label or allocation of funds.

If the state does not have policies and procedures to ensure compliance of this section, the state must provide the secretary of assurance that the state will revise the funding mechanism as soon as feasible to ensure the mechanism does not result in placement that violates this paragraph.

The frame within each placement determination begins is the regular education environment.  If a child can be satisfactorily educated in that setting, which needed supplementary aids and services then the general education class is that child’s LRE.  Placing this child in a segregated class or separate program would directly violate the LRE provisions in the IDEA.  The IEP team may determine the child cannot be educated satisfactory in a regular education classroom even with supplementary aids and services are provided and alternative placement must be considered.  This is why schools have been and still are required to ensure that a continuum of alternative placement is available to meet the needs of children with disabilities for special education related services.

As can be seen on this slide, this placements options include, instruction in regular classes, special classes, special schools, home instruction, and instruction in hospitals and institutions.

IDEA regulations stating this is shown on handout D‑8 that was provided in the chat.  In addition, provisions must be made for supplementary services such as a resource room or instruction in conjunction with regular class placement.

If an option is not available in its jurisdiction and the LRE of a specific child with a disability indicates that placement, the public agency must either create the placement, alter an existing one or send the child to another public or private placement that does meet his or her needs.

If the child is placed by the public agency in another public or private placement, the cost of that placement is paid by the public agency.

Placement is not ‑‑ excuse me ‑‑ placement is not an either or decision.  Where children are either placed in a regular education classroom or they are not.  The intent is for services to follow or go with the child.  Not for the child to follow services.

As is evident in IDEA’s regulations public agencies must make provisions supplementary services such as resource room or instruction to be provided in conjunction with regular class placement.

The statistics just discussed how the various placement arrangements that children with disabilities actually have.  Ranging from less than 21 percent of the day outside the regular classroom all the way to be educated in a separate environment for the entire school day.

IDEA’s placement provisions also appear on handout D‑8 as are discussed across the next three slides.  Who decides on placement?

In accordance with IDEA, the group that determines the educational placement for a child with a disability must include individuals with specific expertise or knowledge.  That child’s parents, individuals who understand the significance of the data used to develop the child’s IEP, and personnel who know the variety of placement options available to meet the child’s needs.

Often, but not always, this may be the same group of compromising the IEP team.

>>RHONDA:  Well, and I think too, when we look at ‑‑ hmm ‑‑ when we are talking about the ‑‑ hmm ‑‑ the placement that it is really stressing and what we typically is it’s the IEP team.  It’s not that separate ‑‑ team that makes that ‑‑ hmm ‑‑ it’s very critical that everyone has input.  And the individual with the disability themselves, what works for them.

Taking their voice into consideration along with the parents.  In looking at ‑‑ that when we are talking about placement decisions, one thing I wanted to mention, Amber, was that ‑‑ you know ‑‑ hmm ‑‑ many times we’ll hear ‑‑ or we have heard that going into a meeting and the first thing said is, we have this spot in this room.  Right?

Well, we don’t even know what is going to be an appropriate placement for a child placement should be decided last.  You cannot make an appropriate placement decision for a child until everybody on the team, the IEP ARC team has developed an appropriate program.  An IEP for the child.

So placement should be decided last.  You are going to go through the present levels, your goals and objectives, related ‑‑ objectives, related services, accommodations so supplementary aids and services that are needed for the child, and then you look at the placement.  And where the child could be educationally successful.  And many times, we don’t see it that way but that’s actually how it is, is to work and to go.  I wanted to mention that.
>>AMBER:  Oh, no, I very much appreciate that, Rhonda.  And too, understanding when we are looking agent each child individually, one child’s Least Restrictive Environment may need to be a more restrictive environment.

Where another child of the same age, even the same disability, maybe it’s a different disability, but they are Least Restrictive Environment may need to be exactly that.  A Least Restrictive Environment.  It’s going to fully dependent on how that individual student’s needs need to be met.

>>RHONDA:  Absolutely.  And I always ‑‑ Amber, I always use ‑‑ my brother ‑‑ he shares his story as well.  But my brother Grant, that has cerebral palsy and legally blind and he uses a power wheelchair.  A lot of people assumed when he was younger, we are quite a bit older now.  They assumed grant would be self‑contained in the classroom.  The appropriate placement for grant was always in the regular classroom.  He thrived in the regular classroom.  He was on honors.  He graduated with honors.

So ‑‑ you know ‑‑ what worked for him, now someone with the very similar disability, it might be that they need to go to resource for a certain amount of time to work on some targeted specially designed instruction.  Or it might be that ‑‑ it ‑‑ the placement would be in self-contained classroom.  Again, we go back to and we always harp on ‑‑

That it is ‑‑ what is appropriate for the individual child.  Again, not based on the disability they have.  But based on their needs, the services, supports that they need.  You should first try in the regular education setting with all the supplementary aids and services and supports brought in to make that work.  If that’s not appropriate for them, then you look at the alternatives.
>>AMBER:  I’m so glad you shared that Rhonda.  It’s a very hard thing for parents too sometimes, to know right away or be able to give input when their children are just starting their educational journey.

And as a parent myself of a student with autism, I didn’t I didn’t know.  I didn’t know if he would necessarily need to be ‑‑ hmm ‑‑ in a unit.

That was considered an ‑‑ an autism unit for those supports.  If that’s what he needed then absolutely, I would support him and the school placing him there.  But as we went on his journey, we learned that the Least Restrictive Environment for him specifically was the general education classroom.

And then being pulled out and getting some of his services and the ‑‑ in the resource room, that’s where he would receive his special education services.

But there are students that are same age as him, and their Least Restrictive Environment that meet her educational needs may be in an autism unit.  Because they are gang those supports there that they need to be successful.

Really just ‑‑ supporting your student too where they are.  Meeting them where they currently are and how they can be successful while gang an appropriate education.

>>RHONDA:  Well, and I want to say too, even if they are in an ‑‑ you know, more of a self‑contained environment, is that doesn’t mean though for ‑‑ related ARCs classes that they are not with the same age nondisabled peers, eating lunch.  There are plenty of opportunities where they can get supports.

But we have to where ‑‑ because there is a great benefits for us all to be together.  Not only for ‑‑ the student who may have a disability but the learning and ‑‑ hmm ‑‑ what they bring to their nondisabled peers.

And so ‑‑ you know, really looking at ‑‑ and even if they are in ‑‑ in a certain unit, is ‑‑ were those ‑‑ where are the opportunities where we can build in some of Least Restrictive Environment because we all are going to live in the same world when we graduate from high school.

And those social skills are going to be so critical.  Not only for the student with the disability, but just as important for students without disabilities.

Because there are great benefits that come from that for everybody.
>>AMBER:  Oh, I love.  I love that, Rhonda.

As we continue on defining LRE, we are going to look at placements.

The child’s placement is determined at least annually.

So you know as Rhonda was saying, they may ‑‑ the student may need to have a ‑‑ you know ‑‑ a more restrictive environment in part of their day and the Least Restrictive Environment in other parts of their day.  It doesn’t mean once their placed somewhere that that’s just where they stay for the rest of their life.  It needs to be looked at and placements needs to be considered at least ‑‑ at minimum, you know, once a year.

And make sure that that’s still meeting that child’s appropriately ‑‑ their individualized need.

It’s based on the child’s IEP.

It is as close as possible to the child’s home.  Unless the child’s IEP requires another arrangement, child is educated in the school that he or she would attend if nondisabled.

Although the parents of the child are part of the group determining the child’s placement, and are likely to be well‑informed as to the placement decision, the public agency must still provide parents with prior written notice regarding the placement decision.  A reasonable time before it implements that decision.

The notice that the public agency provides to parents must be written in language understandable to the general public and in the parents’ native language or other mode of communication.  Unless it is clearly not feasible to do so.

The notice must also contain specific information enumerated and including but not limited to, the educational placement of the child to be initiated as proposed by the agency, an explanation of why the agency proposes that placement, a description of each evaluation procedure, assessment, record or report the agency used as a basis for the placement decision, a description of other options considered and why these options were rejected, a statement that the parent have protection under IDEA’s procedural safeguards and the means by which a description of those safeguards may be obtained, and sources that can help the parent understand IDEA’s pertinent provisions.

Should the parent disagree with the placement decision, they have resources to IDEA’s safe procedural safeguards, which include mediation and due process procedures, as a way of resolving the conflict.  A parent of a child with a disability can also file a state complaint.

>>RHONDA:  Well, and many times, Amber, we’ll see ‑‑ you know, that if parents are not in agreement with the school with the placement decision, you know, one of the things ‑‑ hmm ‑‑ that I think that ‑‑ hmm ‑‑ as part of that sort of dispute resolution, trying to come to an agreement with one another, might be on ‑‑ you know a trial basis.  Bringing in trying ‑‑ trying different supports.

Because you know ‑‑ we all ‑‑ all of us have the best laid plans when we are trying with different ‑‑ hmm ‑‑ you know ‑‑ supplementary aids and services, right?  It may take us several times in trying different things.

So one of the things as you are negotiating and talking through this is, you know, if you are not in agreement, talking through in the IEP.  Well, can we try ‑‑ I know it didn’t work with these supplementary aids or services.  What are the other options as a team that we could come up with to try to make it work?

Or trying a trial period.

Different stuff where you all would come back at a certain time, kind of evaluate was that successful.  Those are going to all be things that in that, especially if you are not in agreement with one another, maybe some things and options to bring to the table.  Instead of because ‑‑ I find a lot of times, we kind of get stuck in the ‑‑ you know, no, I don’t agree and we don’t go further.  We don’t bring options to the table, all of us.  You know ‑‑ so that maybe there are some different things we could try.

>>AMBER:  And ‑‑ too ‑‑
>>RHONDA:  That helps ‑‑
>>AMBER:  Absolutely.

And as you said earlier, Rhonda, and I want to make sure that this is echoed.

You know, asking that child, asking that young adult, asking that individual, their opinion and how they feel.  And what has worked and what hasn’t worked.  Because I think we do get busy sometimes as adults.  Whether we are the parent or the educational professional.  And sometimes, we can ‑‑ have the best laid intention.  Butt we are not that ‑‑ but we are not that person.  And sometimes, you know, if we just stop and here, it’s going to be things that done of us have thought about.  Because we don’t have that disability and we are not that individual.

So it’s very important to ‑‑ you know, as young as possible, start having these conversations by any way to hear the child’s needs.  Because I can assure you, every time I think I have it figured out, my son reminds me that ‑‑ that I just don’t.


And he is going to remind me and educate me on things that I would have never thought about.  But I’m not him.  And even though I love him dearly and do anything I can to support him, I am not him trying to learn with his needs.

So make sure that ‑‑ that we are having these conversations and asking this individual because at the end of the day, this is all about them.

As we continue on, clearly consideration must be given to the entirety of a child’s needs.  Including any potential harmful effects of a particular placement.  In determining LRE, then attention must be paid to ensuring the placement would not result in harm to the child nor lessoning the quality of services the child receives.  I would like to throw this in here too.  Just from a different perspective.

My other child has a severe peanut allergy.  And she has a 504.  But the Least Restrictive Environment for her also works in considering transportation.

It was brought up to us that they wanted to put her in a more restrictive environment on the school bus setting.  So that special bus where they are ‑‑ multiple staff on there that can monitor and that can ‑‑ hmm ‑‑ protect while that sounded wonderful in theory.  We had to also consider not just my daughter’s needs, but the needs of other students that rode that more restrictive bus.  It could actually put my daughter in jeopardy because she was being exposed to her allergen.

Due ‑‑ some of the individuals that rode the bus having special protein powders or foods that worked for them in their needs.  In that moment and that environment, that’s going to be harmful to my student ‑‑ to my daughter.

So having her in the least restrictive environment for transportation would be just the regular bus with safety measures put in place.

So we have to look at this also from different perspectives and how ‑‑ whether it be, you know, the classroom.  Whether it be the school bus.  Whether it be extracurricular activities.  We want to make sure we are not causing harm to the student by placing them in a least restrictive environment or a more restrictive environment.

The link on the slide provides a starter set of resources on LRE including resources to help educators adapt instructional methods and materials to the needs of the individual students with disabilities.

>>RHONDA:  Well, and I also want to bring up too, as we are talking about LRE, because regardless ‑‑ and you know, the place ‑‑ in placement.  Regardless of what a student’s placement is, they still are to have access to the general curriculum and are working to achieve that as well.

And I do just want to clarify that because sometimes I have seen where ‑‑ hmm ‑‑ you know ‑‑ where you are placed is not going to determine what you have access to.

Hmm ‑‑ and that’s a very important ‑‑ that’s very important to keep in mind.  They are still going to be working towards the same ‑‑ the same things as they are nondisabled peers.  It’s just what is the appropriate placement for their specially designed instruction related services and what’s in their program for them.

>>AMBER:  Absolutely.

And as we take a look at this slide, we want to do provide these.  Following the links on the slides, will give you a deeper detail on placement during discipline procedures.  Where will the child be placed until a decision on the appeal is issued?  The original placement from which the child was removed during the disciplinary action, the interim alternative educational setting to which he or she has been removed or another setting that the parents and the school system agree to.

Historically, the stay put principle required that the child remain in his or her original placement.  Now, under IDEA 2004, that’s no longer true.

General answer.

The default placement during an appeal is the ‑‑ IAES IDEA states that the child must remain in the IAES chosen by the IEP team until the hearing officer makes his or her decision on the appeal or time period specified expires.  Whichever comes first unless the parent and the SEA or LEA agree otherwise.

Procedural safeguards and state complaint.  Section 14 is discipline procedures.  ‑‑ because of disciplinary removal the child’s ARC shall convene within 10 days after placement in made.  And shall determine appropriate educational services for the child.

If the student has been placed in an interim alternative educational setting, the LEA shall invite staff from the alternative setting to the ARC meeting.  The child placement during the appeal process.  Child’s placement during the appeal.  Placement and school discipline.  IDEA’s regulation on discipline.  And OSEP questions and answers on discipline.

>>RHONDA:  And these are all links that you can click on the PowerPoint and you can access all of those that Amber just highlighted that you see on the screen here.

>>AMBER:  Defining LRE continued.

Participation in extracurricular and nonacademic services and activities.

Each public agency must ensure that the child has supplementary aids and services determined appropriate and necessary by the child’s IEP team to participate in nonacademic and extracurricular services and activities.

So that can be as seen on the screen, meals, recess, clubs, transportation, athletics and so much more.

Summarizing LRE.

Session is not a place.  It’s a set of services and supports where a child with a disability receives special education services is the child’s placement.

The first where to consider is…what supports are available to the general education classroom?  It’s important to remember that all children are children in general education.

Rather than viewing children with disabilities as special education students in general education.

In your resources, you have some materials that will help you learn more about examples of support in the general education setting.  It is important to note that each child’s needs are different and each program should reflect that.

Questions and review.

Each public agency must ensure that, to the maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities are educated with children who are nondisabled.

Placements decisions must be based on a child’s unique needs and IEP, not an administrative con convenience.  Disability program label or allocation of funds.  The frame within which placement determination begins in the regular education environment.  A child with a disability may not be removed from education in age‑appropriate regular classrooms solely because of needed modifications in the general education curriculum.

And at this time, I would like to ask if anyone has any questions over what we have reviewed today?


[Pausing for response.]

>>AMBER:  I’m going to give a moment so that you can be able to put that in the chat or Q&A box.

[Pausing for response.]

>>AMBER:  Rhonda, is there anything you would like to add while we are giving them a moment.
>>RHONDA:  No.  No just to see if you all ‑‑ did you know ‑‑ I would like to hear were you all familiar with that in regards to what the Least Restrictive Environment under IDEA was?  And the parts of that?

[Pausing for response.]

>>RHONDA:  As you will go through and any of the links too that you may sort of dig in deeper after this, if you have any questions, please let us know.  And sort of stepping through it.  Many times, I have found myself ‑‑ I don’t have questions until I find myself thrown into the situation, right?  And that’s something we are here and can help you navigate through that as well and help you step through the process.
>>AMBER:  As we said previously throughout, you know ‑‑ placement isn’t ‑‑ one hundred percent absolute.  Just because a student may need placement in one place or area this year, it might not be appropriate for them next year.

And if this is something that you are seeing with your student or you are questioning is this still appropriate for my student, have those conversations.  Call that ARC meeting.

It’s not going to be harmful at all to have that open conversation and making sure that the continued needs are being met for your student.

And asking questions and getting clarification and making sure that the student’s receiving exactly what it is that they need.

Well, at this time, this concludes our fourth and final session on preparing for the ARC IEP meetings.

As you see here on the screen, we have a QR code.  If you scan that, that will take you directly to an evaluation.  Please take a moment and fill that out for us.  We so value your feedback and your thoughts.  If there’s something that you really liked.  Maybe it’s something you didn’t care for or ‑‑ maybe it’s something you need to hear more of.  Please let us know.  Because we are here to help assist as many families as we can.  And we very much value your opinion.

And also, on the screen here, you see numbers in which you can use to reach us, the 800 number, 502.  As well as our website.  We do have referral forms on our website.

We always list our upcoming events.  I encourage you, if you are interested in more Webinars, in trainings, and future publications, sign up for our newsletters.  We send them out and we now offer a youth newsletter as well for the young adults in our lives.  That have so much valuable information and wonderful resources.  We want to thank you for joining us today.

And I don’t see any questions.  I wanted to make sure.

And if not, we hope that you’ll join us again in the future for one of our upcoming Webinars or lunch and learn events.
>>RHONDA:  Have a great day.

[End of Webinar.]