If Your Child Is Ages Birth to 3:
This is a critical period to determine whether your child has special needs. It’s important for parents to take any signs of possible needs seriously, and to seek help.
- Parents who suspect that their child may have a disability should write a letter to the Regional Center. A brief letter describing the child’s needs is sufficient to initiate the assessment process.
- The school district is required by IDEA to have a “comprehensive Child Find system” to assure that all children who are in need of early intervention or special education services are located, identified and referred.
- Each eligible child, under the age of 3, can receive services through an Individual Family Service Plan (IFSP).
- Early education opportunities are available to infants and toddlers less than 3 years of age who have low incidence disabilities, such as: hearing loss, vision loss, orthopedic impairment, or who are developmentally delayed, or at risk of such delay.
- An early Start Transition Meeting from an Infant Program to Preschool Program may be developed between child age 2.3 yrs and 2.9 yrs of age.
- The District shall conduct an IEP meeting by the student’s third birthday.
If Your Child Is Ages 3 to 5:
The law requires that all school districts provide preschool programs and services for children with disabilities. If you suspect your child has a disability you should write a letter expressing your concerns to the school district.
If Your Child Is Ages 3 to 21:
The Individuals with Disabilities Improvement Education Act (IDEA), identifies specific types of disabilities that make children eligible for special education services if their disability adversely affects their educational performance.
If Your Child Is Age 16:
Starting at 16 years old (or younger), this is the time to begin planning for your child’s transition into adulthood. They should have an Individualized Transition Plan (ITP) held at a transitional IEP meeting.
- Transitioning out of high school can require the input and collaboration of new team members.
- It is important that school staff, parents, agencies and the student plan collaboratively to make the transition as smooth as possible.
- Transition services are a coordinated set of activities for a student that are designed within an outcome- oriented process to promote movement from school to post-school activities, including post-secondary education, vocational training, integrated employment (supported employment), continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living or community participation.
- The plan is based upon the student’s individual needs, preferences and interests. It includes instruction, related services, community experiences, the development of employment and other post-school adult living objectives and, when appropriate, acquisition of daily living skills and functional vocational evaluation.
- It is recommended that this be a separate meeting from the IEP.
- The IEP should be held after the transition meeting to incorporate the agreed-upon transition goals into the academic program.
- Students should be invited to attend the ITP meetings.
- When your child turns 17, he/she will receive a copy of the notice sent to parents explaining that at age 18 all rights will transfer from the parent to the student, unless the child is conserved.
- Starting with the 2009-2010 school year, an eligible student with a disability is not required to pass the high school exit exam as a condition of receiving a diploma of graduation. This exemption shall last until the state board makes a determination that the alternative means a student with disabilities may demonstrate the same level of academic achievement on those content standards required for passage of the high school exit exam. This includes all students with IEPs or 504’s. Your child will still have to take the exam in the 10th grade to satisfy the requirement of federal law (No Child Left Behind).
Your child’s ITP should include:
- A statement of the responsibilities of other agencies (however, the school district remains responsible for ensuring that these services are provided). The school district is required to invite a representative of any agency that is likely to provide transition services, which can include the vocational rehabilitation agency, the regional center, community mental health, community colleges, and traditional private rehabilitation agencies, as appropriate.
- The provision of work skills training, including those skills that are necessary in order to exhibit competence on the job.
- The provision of multiple employment options and facilitating job or career choice by providing a variety of vocational experiences
- The collection and analysis of data on what happens to pupils once they leave the school system and enter the adult world.
- The coordination of the transition planning process, including development of necessary interagency agreements and procedures at both state and local levels.
- The provision of instructional learning strategies that will assist pupils who find learning difficult to acquire in acquire skills that will enable them to obtain diplomas, and promote a positive attitude toward secondary and post-secondary life.
If your child is ages 19 to 21:
- If your child receives a regular high school diploma and finishes his or her course of study, he or she will be exited from Special Education. A written notice must be sent to the family to inform them that graduation with a high school diploma will make the student ineligible for further Special Education.
- A student who has not graduated from high school with a regular diploma, and who was enrolled in or was eligible for special education services prior to their 19th birthday, continues to be eligible for services during those years if they have not completed their prescribed course of study.