Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Continuum of Alternative Services Information

If by chance an alternative is found and the school authorizes placement ... which means if you find a place that services your child's individualized special education outside of what the district school offers:

Regulations by Section and Attachment 1 (Analysis of Comments and Changes)
Subpart E-Procedural SafeguardsLeast Restrictive Environment (LRE)
§300.551 Continuum of alternative placements.

(a) Each public agency shall ensure that a continuum of alternative placements is available to meet the needs of children with disabilities for special education and related services.
(b) The continuum required in paragraph (a) of this section must-

(1) Include the alternative placements listed in the definition of special education under §300.26 (instruction in regular classes, special classes, special schools, home instruction, and instruction in hospitals and institutions); and

(2) Make provision for supplementary services (such as resource room or itinerant instruction) to be provided in conjunction with regular class placement.

(Authority: 20 U.S.C. 1412(a)(5))

Analysis of Comments, Discussions and Changes from Attachment 1

Comment: A number of commenters requested that the regulation include a statement that a child does not need to fail in each of the less restrictive options on the continuum before they are placed in a more restrictive continuum placement that is appropriate to their needs. These commenters felt that this was needed to insure that children get appropriate services in a timely manner. Some commenters requested that the regulations specify that the placement appropriate for children who are deaf must be in a setting where the child's unique communication, linguistic, social, academic, emotional, and cultural needs can be met, including opportunities for interaction with nondisabled peers.
Discussion: The regulations do not require that a child has to fail in the less restrictive options on the continuum before that child can be placed in a setting that is appropriate to his or her needs. Section 300.550(b)(2) of the regulations however, does require that the placement team consider whether the child can be educated in less restrictive settings with the use of appropriate supplementary aids and services and make a more restrictive placement only when they conclude that education in the less restrictive setting with appropriate supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily. New statutory changes to the IEP development process make clear that the IEP team considers the language and communication needs, opportunities for direct communication with peers and professional personnel in the child's language and communication mode, academic level and full range of needs, including opportunities for direct instruction in the child's language and communication mode in developing IEPs for children who are deaf or hard of hearing. These requirements, which are included in the regulations at §300.346(a)(2)(iv), should address the concerns raised by the commenters. In light of this change, further regulation is not necessary.
Changes: None.
Comment: A number of commenters expressed concern about the note following this section regarding home instruction. Some stated that the note should be struck because it implied that home instruction was an appropriate placement for all medically fragile children and that this was contrary to the requirement that placement be determined based on the individual needs of each child. Some asked that the regulation limit home instruction to those medically fragile children whose treating physicians have certified are not able to participate in a school setting with other children.
Others disliked the note because they believed that home instruction should be available in other instances when the IEP team determines that such a placement is appropriate and should not be limited by type of disability. Some commenters wanted the note to be revised to make clear that home instruction could be available for children with behavior problems and those in interim alternative educational placements because they had been suspended or expelled from school for disciplinary reasons if the IEP team determined that it was the appropriate placement. Others asked that the note should be revised to caution about the inappropriate use of home instruction as a placement for children suspended and expelled, unless requested by the parent for medical, health protection, or diagnostic evaluation purposes. Some commenters asked that the note make clear that discipline issues should be handled through the provision of appropriate services in placements other than home.
Some commenters asked that the note be modified to state that home instruction services may be appropriate for young children if the IEP/IFSP team determines appropriate. Other commenters asked that the regulations make clear that home instruction services are an appropriate modification of the IEP or placement for incarcerated youth who are being kept in segregation, close custody or mental health units.
Discussion: Home instruction is, for school-aged children, the most restrictive type of placement because it does not permit education to take place with other children. For that reason, home instruction should be relied on as the means of providing FAPE to a school-aged child with a disability only in those limited circumstances when they cannot be educated with other children even with the use of appropriate related services and supplementary aids and services, such as when a child is recovering from surgery. The implication in the note that placement decisions could be based on the type of disability of a child was unintended.
Instruction at home may be the most natural environment for a young child with a disability if the child's IEP/IFSP team so determines. Ĺ’Home instruction' may be an appropriate modification of an IEP or placement under §300.311 for incarcerated youth who are being kept in close custody, or segregation or in a mental health unit. The issue of home instruction for children with disabilities who have been suspended or expelled for behavior that is not a manifestation of their disability is addressed under §300.522.
Changes: The note has been deleted.

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