On September 6, the U.S. Department of Education released new regulations that govern the rights of infants and toddlers (birth through two years) with disabilities (Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act).
The regulations are over 900 pages long and will take effect soon.
What are some of the important changes?
Special Education rights begin at birth. From birth until age three, children who qualify for special education services under Part C of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) receive supports and services through Early Intervention. In Massachusetts, the agency responsible for implementing Early Intervention services is the Massachusetts Department of Health and Human Services.
Just as the IEP main document for programming the services to be given a child with disabilities under Part B of the IDEA, the principal document for identifying services for an infant or toddler under Part C is the Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP).
The IFSP must provide the child with a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). If you believe Early Intervention is denying your child a Free Appropriate Public Education, you have the right to request a Due Process Hearing and have an impartial hearing officer decide if your child is receiving FAPE through Early Intervention. IDEA also provides parents of children in Early Intervention other rights, including the right of Parental Participation.
If you need help advocating for your child's rights, contact Boston area attorney Lillian E. Wong today.
The National Center for Learning Disabilities, Inc. recently released Massachusetts' Special Education Scorecard. The Scorecard summarizes the U.S. Department of Education's report on Massachusetts' compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and provides statistics about Massachusetts students with specific learning disabilities.
Massachusetts Falls Short
For the fifth year in a row, Massachusetts received a "Needs Assistance" grade. Where are the major problems?
(1) Children who were in Early Intervention and eligible for Special Education do not have an IEP developed and implemented by their third birthdays.
(2) Massachusetts' supervision system does not effectively identify and corrects noncompliance in a timely manner.
(3) Massachusetts struggles to resolving complaints within the required 60-day time limit.
If you need a special education advocate in Massachusetts, contact Boston area attorney Lillian E. Wong today.
Yesterday's Boston Globe Sunday Magazine had a very interesting article about early-childhood mental health and treatment. To read the entire article click here.
Early intervention programs for learning disabilities have been proven effective scientifically, which saves taxpayers money. I believe the same will be proven true for emotionally disturbed children.
This question was originally posted on www.avvo.com.
My son is 5 yrs old and now in Kindergarten. He was just recently diagnosed w/ selective mutism. He struggles at school socially, I addressed this concern with the head start program last year, they continued to pass it off as shyness. He went the ENTIRE year without speaking to the teacher and/or social worker. The head start program is meant for "early intervention" yet no screening took place. I am concerned for other children who may be experiencing this same problem, tax dollars and/or county money is used for this early intervention program yet they are not properly screening and/or detecting issues that are of concern. Please advise, any help is appreciated.
The "child find" requirement covers all children, from birth to 21 years old. Compensatory education may be granted in local educational agencies fail to perform this affirmative duty. Please be advised, however, that early intervention laws and procedures vary by state, so I suggest you consult with a special education attorney in your state. You can find one by visiting www.copaa.org.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health will hold public hearings on their proposed deep changes to early intervention programs, including increased parent participation fees of 6x (600%), eligibility requirements raised to 40% delay (instead of 30%), and as much as 50% delay in expressive language. Hearings on the following dates:
Thursday, February 25th (Western Region) 1:30-3:30 p.m., DPH23 Service Center, Northampton
Monday, March 1st (Eastern Region) 10:00 a.m. -1:00 p.m., Department of Public Health, Boston.
It is doubtful that any child may reasonably be expected to succeed in life if he is denied the opportunity of an education.
Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954)
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15 Morningside Drive
Topsfield, MA 01983