Spedtex Frequently Asked Questions
- 1. I was invited to an admission, review, and dismissal (ARD) committee meeting. Whom should I expect to be at the meeting?
The ARD committee should include: parent/guardian of the child (or the adult student), a regular education teacher of the child, a special education teacher of the child, a representative/supervisor of the campus/district, an individual who can explain the instructional implications of the evaluation results, other individuals who have knowledge/special expertise regarding the child as appropriate (as determined by the party inviting these individuals), and the student (when appropriate).
Other members may be in attendance depending on the individual student’s needs, such as related service providers. See this link for specific information on ARD-Committee Membership: Legal Framework ARDC Membership, 34 CFR §300.324, 19 TAC 89.1011 and 1050.
- 2. What should I expect to occur at the ARD committee meeting?
The committee will discuss the student’s present levels of academic achievement and functional performance/progress, and develop, review, and revise the student’s individualized education program (IEP). You may receive some information to review prior to the meeting and should come prepared to ask questions, discuss the information, and provide your own information for consideration. ARD committees must review the IEP and determine the child’s placement at least annually. For more information on ARD committee meetings see:
Legal Framework ARDC Meeting, 34 CFR 300.324. and 19 TAC 98.1011 and 1050.
- 3. What if I disagree with the ARD committee’s recommendations?
If a parent disagrees, s/he may write a statement regarding the basis of the disagreement, and the local education agency (LEA – which is another way to say “School District”) will offer to schedule another ARD meeting within 10 school days or at a mutually agreeable time. The LEA will also provide a copy of the Notice of Procedural Safeguards to the parent. The Notice of Procedural Safeguards explains the parent’s rights.
If the parent agrees to participate in the re-scheduled ARD committee meeting, the committee will discuss areas of disagreement in order to attempt to agree on an appropriate IEP.
If both the school district and the parent agree, the parent may request a TEA facilitator for the reconvened ARDC meeting at no cost to the school or parent.
If the parent refuses to attend the offered ARD committee meeting, the school’s proposed IEP will go into effect within 5 days of the school providing prior written notice (PWN) to the parent.
Prior written notice means written statements from the school district that inform the parent(s) about recommendation(s) relating to the initiation or change in the identification, evaluation, educational placement of the student or the provision of a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to the student or the school’s refusal to initiate or change the student’s services.
See TEA Special Education Dispute Resolution, 19 TAC 89.1050 and 1197.
- 4. What do all of these acronyms mean?
Texas Project First has an A-Z list of educational acronyms: Texas Project First
- 5. What are my child’s rights when being disciplined for behavioral incidents?
Some of your student’s rights depend on your student’s needs and the decisions of the ARD committee. The Notice of Procedural Safeguards explains the rights of students with disabilities.(Procedural Safeguards).
Your student may be suspended from school for disciplinary reasons up to 10 days without special education services. On the 10th day of suspension, the law considers the removals as a change in placement, and the ARD Committee must schedule a meeting within 10 school days. The purpose of the meeting is to consider whether the behavior is the result of the student’s disability (manifestation) and, if so, whether a functional behavior assessment and behavior intervention plan need to be conducted or revised.
- 6. When must an ARD committee meeting be held to address discipline?
Any time that a change of placement is being considered, an ARD meeting is needed.
A change of placement occurs if the removal is for more than 10 school days or if a series of removals constitutes a change pattern, including when a student is to be assigned to a disciplinary alternative education program (DAEP).
See this link for more information: Legal Framework Discipline
See also 34 CRF §300.530-36.
When a student with special needs is having a change of placement for disciplinary reasons, the LEA must conduct a manifestation determination (see 6b).
- 7. What happens at a manifestation determination ARD?
The ARD committee reviews relevant information in the student’s IEP and must determine if the conduct was caused by, or had a direct and substantial relationship to the child’s disability; or if the conduct in question was the direct result of the school’s failure to implement the IEP.
For more information, see: Legal Framework Manifestation Determination Meeting and 34 CFR §§300.530-0536.
- 8. What if I disagree with the school sending my child to an alternative placement?
You may use a disciplinary appeals process through the local school district board policy.
The same processes are available to you as to parents who disagree at an ARD Committee meeting except for the state sponsored facilitation program.
To access dispute resolution processes through TEA, see
TEA Special Education Dispute Resolution
- 9. I want to have my child (under 3 years old) evaluated for a disability. Whom do I call?
Contact the Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) Services in your area.
If you do not know where to find that number, call the special education department at your local school district or,
Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services – ECI Program Search: DARS ECI
More information on ECI services:
Legal Framework ECI.
- 10. I want a special education evaluation for my child who is between the ages of 3-22. What can I do?
Write a letter or an e-mail requesting a full and individual initial evaluation (FIE) for special education and give to the principal and/or the special education director in your school district. In your written request, give information to the school district staff about why you think your child should be evaluated, as that can help school district personnel determine what should be included in the FIE.
- 11. My child attends a non-profit private school/home school. Who is responsible for evaluating my child for special education?
The school district in which the private school or home school is located would evaluate your child. However, the school district in which you reside would be responsible for developing an appropriate IEP, if the child is eligible. If you wish to have your child evaluated, contact the school district in which the private school/home school is located.
If your child is eligible for services, the school district would be responsible only for providing services to your child based on the proportionate share agreement with the private school as long as your child remains enrolled in the private school/home school.
For more information on private school and proportionate share:
Private School Proportionate Share
- 12. I have requested a special education evaluation, but haven’t heard anything yet from the school. What should I expect?
Upon written request for a special education evaluation, or an FIE, the school district should respond in writing within 15 school days, either by:
Providing an opportunity for the parent to give written consent for the evaluation; or
Refusing to provide the evaluation and providing Prior Written Notice and the Procedural Safeguards.
More information on prior written notice:
Legal Framework Prior Written Notice. After you consent to having your child evaluated, the school district has 45 school days to complete the evaluation. See 19 TAC. Code §89.1011.
- 13. What are the least restrictive environment (LRE) requirements of Part B of IDEA 2004?
The LRE provision of the IDEA 2004 according to the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) §300.114 requires that each school district shall ensure to the maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities, including children in public or private institutions or other care facilities, are educated with children who are not disabled. Special classes, separate schooling, or other removal of children with disabilities from the regular educational environment occur only when the nature or severity of the disability of a child is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily.
- 14. What does “maximum extent appropriate” mean?
The admission, review, and dismissal (ARD) committee determines the maximum extent appropriate for each child based on his or her individual needs and strengths. The ARD Committee is responsible for identifying the student’s needs and the appropriate placement in which these needs can be met. Placement decisions should begin with the least restrictive environment, i.e., the general education classroom with or without supplementary aids and services. All possible placement alternatives should be considered to ensure that services are delivered in the LRE.
For more detailed Q & A on the LRE: Region 20 Q and A on LRE. See also, PRN Placement Issues.
- 15. What types of settings are offered for the LRE?
Each school district must ensure that a continuum of alternative placements is available to meet the needs of children with disabilities for special education and related services.
This continuum must include regular classes, special classes, special schools, home instruction, and instruction in hospitals and institutions.
See this link for examples: Continuum of Alternative Placements, as well as
TAC § 89.1055.
- 17. I need to file a complaint because I couldn’t resolve the issue locally. What do I need to do?
If you have not already done so, please contact the school district’s special education director to see if he/she can resolve the issue.
Here is a link to TEA’s Dispute Resolution Process where you can request a third party facilitator, seek mediation, file a complaint, or request a due process hearing. You can print and fill out a form or write a letter and mail/fax it to TEA and provide a copy to the school district.
TEA Special Education Dispute Resolution,
A handbook is located near the bottom of webpage that explains the processes in detail.
- 18. How do I request a facilitated IEP team meeting?
Facilitation is a voluntary activity on the part of both parent and LEA and is provided at no cost to either party. TEA’s website has a form you can use to request an FIEP meeting.
Special Education Dispute Resolution Handbook.
- 19. I think my child has dyslexia and I want an assessment completed. S/He does not currently receive special education services. What do I need to do?
Request a dyslexia assessment from the 504 coordinator, counselor, or the campus principal. You should make this request in writing.
Refer to the Dyslexia Handbook for more information:
- 20. My child does have an IEP and I want a dyslexia assessment.
Contact the campus administrator, case manager, or diagnostician to determine what, if any, additional assessments are needed to address this concern, to discuss the specific nature of your concern(s), and to schedule an ARD meeting if needed. A dyslexia screening may be provided prior to deciding whether an assessment is needed.
Again, you should make this request in writing.
- 21. What is the difference between 504 and special education?
Section 504 services include accommodations for any condition that limits the student’s ability to learn things that s/he is capable of learning. This does not include curriculum modifications or specialized instruction. Special education provides specialized instruction that is necessary for the student to make progress in the general curriculum. Here is a link that differentiates the requirements. http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/504faq.html
Generally, both laws address how a school district interacts with a student with a disability or multiple disabilities. Section 504 generally protects the accommodations of students who can be served in a general education setting, while special education, under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), protects those students who need special education services.
- 22. What is the timeline for the initial evaluation process?
Once the school receives the parent’s signature on the consent form provided by the school district, the school district has 45 school days to complete the evaluation. If the student has three or more absences, then those days are added to the 45 days to extend the timeline.
Unless the student was absent three or more days during that time, then the school must complete the evaluation (FIE) in 45 school days plus the number of absences, and the ARD Committee eligibility meeting must be held within 30 calendar days of the date of the FIE.
If there are less than 45 but at least 35 days of school left before summer break, the school district must complete the evaluation by June 30th.
In this case, the school must hold an ARD Committee eligibility meeting prior to the 15th day of school the following school year.
If there are less than 35 school days left before summer break, then the evaluation must be completed within 45 school days from the date that signed consent is received. The 45 school days will go into the next school year and the ARD Committee eligibility meeting must be held within 30 calendar days of the date of the report.
More information on FIE Timeline:
FIE Timeline, 19 TAC §89.1011, and
- 23. What is a review of existing evaluation data (REED)?
A review of existing evaluation data (REED) is the process of looking at a student’s existing data to determine if additional data are needed as part of an initial evaluation (if appropriate) or as part of a reevaluation. Specifically, the group conducting the REED must decide whether further assessments are required to determine:
Whether the student has or continues to have a disability;
Whether the student’s present levels of academic achievement needs and related functional needs have changed;
Whether the student needs or continues to need special education and related services; and
Whether the student needs any additions or modifications to the special education and related services to meet the measurable annual goals set out in the individualized education program (IEP) and to participate, as appropriate, in the general education curriculum.
- 24. When must a reevaluation be conducted?
The local education agency (LEA) must ensure that a reevaluation of each student with a disability is conducted when:
The LEA determines the student’s educational or related services needs, including improved academic achievement and functional performance, warrant a reevaluation;
The student’s parent or teacher requests a reevaluation (with some exceptions to this rule); or
The admission, review, and dismissal (ARD) committee believes that the student may no longer qualify as a student with a disability.
A reevaluation may not occur more than once a year unless the parent and the LEA agree otherwise and must occur at least once every three years unless the parent and the LEA agree that a reevaluation is unnecessary.
- 25. Who conducts a review of existing evaluation data (REED)?
A REED is conducted by an ARD committee (which must include the parent or the adult student, an administrator, a general education teacher of the student, a special education teacher of the student, an individual who can interpret the instructional implications of the REED, and other invitees with knowledge of the student, as appropriate.
- 26. Is an ARD committee meeting required when conducting a REED?
No. A REED may be conducted without holding an ARD committee meeting.
- 27. Is parental consent required before conducting a REED?
No. The LEA is not required to obtain parental consent before reviewing existing data as part of an initial evaluation or a reevaluation.
- 28. What information is reviewed when a REED is conducted?
A review of the student’s existing evaluation data must include the following information:
The student’s evaluations, including independent evaluations conducted by outside agencies (if such evaluations exist), and information provided by the student’s parent/guardian or the adult student;
The student’s current classroom-based, local, or state assessments, classroom-based observations, curriculum-based measurements (CBMs), criterion-referenced assessments, report cards, discipline reports, attendance records, medical and health records, the most recent full and individual evaluation (FIE), and any other pertinent information; and
The teacher’s and related service provider’s observations of the student.
- 29. What if the group conducting a REED concludes that no additional data are needed?
If the group conducting a REED determines that no additional data are needed, the LEA must notify the student’s parent or the adult student of:
The group’s determination and the reasons for the determination and
The right to request an evaluation to determine whether the student continues to have a disability and to determine the student’s educational needs.
If the parent or the adult student does not request an additional evaluation, the LEA is not required to conduct an additional evaluation, and the REED may constitute the student’s three-year reevaluation.
- 30. What if the group conducting a REED concludes that additional data are needed?
If the group conducting a REED determines that additional data are needed, the LEA must:
Provide the parent or the adult student with prior written notice that describes any assessments that it proposes to conduct;
Obtain consent from the parent or the adult student before conducting any additional assessments (except that an LEA need not obtain consent to conduct a reevaluation if it can demonstrate that it made reasonable efforts to obtain consent); and
administer the assessments and evaluation measures needed to produce the necessary data within an established timeline.
Legal Framework REED> and 34 CFR §300.305.
- 31. What is ESY and how does my child qualify?
Extended School Year (ESY) services refer to an individualized instructional program for eligible students with disabilities that may be provided beyond the regular school year/day. The need for these services is determined by the ARD (Admission, Review and Dismissal) committee on an individual basis.
If a student with a disability has trouble retaining skills during school holidays and/or the summer break, and requires significant time to regain previously mastered skills, then the ARD committee should discuss whether the student needs extended education and/or related services during school breaks. Regression and recoupment must be based on documented evidence, or if there is no documented evidence, on predictions according to the judgment of the ARD Committee.
For more information on ESY, see the following links:
See also 34 CFR §300.106 and 19 TAC §89.1065.
- 32. How do I know what graduation plan my child needs to be on?
Talk to your child’s high school counselor to clarify the various graduation options.
All incoming freshman from 2014-15 and beyond will be on the Foundation Program. Students who enrolled in ninth grade for the first time prior to 2014-2015 have the opportunity to change to the Foundation Program or stay on the Minimum, Recommended, or Distinguished Plan.
See this link for more information on the different graduation plans offered: http://tea.texas.gov/graduation.aspx
All public high schools must offer at least one endorsement (multidisciplinary) but can offer up to five of the following endorsements: STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), Business & Industry, Public Services, Arts & Humanities, or Multidisciplinary.
Students can also earn up to five Performance Acknowledgements.
This link to the Commissioner’s Rules explains graduation requirements:
- 33. Can my child earn endorsements if s/he has a modified curriculum?
It all depends. In most cases, the student may earn an endorsement in an area in which the curriculum is not modified and for which the student has performed successfully on the state assessment. See this link to the Commissioner’s Rules 19 TAC §89.1070 (a)(1-3) regarding special education graduation requirements and endorsements:
The ARD Committee may make certain limited changes to a student’s educational program, and the student may still graduate as long as the student meets certain requirements. 19 TAC §89.1070
- 34. I believe that my child’s school is not following the IEP. What can I do?
You can request an ARD meeting, talk to the teacher or principal, or contact the special education coordinator or director. You should make your request in writing, like in an e-mail.
If not resolved locally, you can utilize TEA’s dispute resolution process, which is described above and on this webpage.
TEA Special Education Dispute Resolution
- 35. My child is failing classes. What can I do?
Contact the child’s teacher or set up a parent-teacher conference as soon as is practicable.
Request a meeting with the principal if no improvement is seen after meeting with the teacher.
If still failing, you could request an ARD meeting to evaluate whether the IEP and accommodations are appropriate.
See these links for more information about accommodations available in the classroom:
Texas Project First or
Legal Framework Accommodations
- 36. What are supplementary aids and services?
Supplementary aids and services are aids, 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
See this link for more information: Supplementary Aids and Services
- 37. How often will I get progress reports on my child’s IEP?
Progress reports on IEP goals are provided according to timelines documented within the IEP.
If you have questions about your child’s progress, you should contact your child’s teacher.
- 38. What accommodations are allowable on the state assessments?
Allowable accommodations are listed in the accommodations manual. See the following link for the December 2016 Accommodations for Students with Disabilities (pdf):
- 39. What are the eligibility requirements for STAAR Accommodated (the standardized state assessment, with accommodations)?
STAAR A will be administered for the last time in December 2016 to eligible students receiving the following services in one or more subjects:
- Students with identified disabilities who are receiving special education services
- Students identified with dyslexia or a related disorder (as defined in Texas Education Code §38.003) and are receiving Section 504 services
- If a student falls into one of these categories and receives accommodations in instruction similar to those found in STAAR A, the STAAR A Eligibility Requirements should be reviewed through the December 2016 administration. Additional eligibility criteria found in this document must be met in order for a student to take STAAR A.
See this link for more info: http://tea.texas.gov/student.assessment/STAARA/
- 40. What are the eligibility requirements for STAAR-ALT 2 (the alternative standardized state assessment, designed to fit the student’s cognitive level)?
The student must meet all of the following criteria: has a documented significant cognitive disability, requires specialized supports to access the grade-level curriculum and environment, requires intensive, individualized instruction in a variety of instructional settings, and accesses/participates in the grade-level TEKS through prerequisite skills.
See this link for requirements: STAAR Alt
- 41. What happens if my child doesn’t pass the state assessment?
The school will develop a program of Accelerated Instruction (AI) or an Intensive Program of Instruction (IPI) to address the areas of need.
According to the Student Success Initiative, f your child is in 5th or 8th grade, then s/he will be able to retake the Reading and Math exams up to 2 additional times if needed. See Student Assessment SSI
If the test still isn’t passed, then the ARD committee may act as the Grade Placement Committee to determine the appropriate grade level for the next school year.
If your child is in high school and didn’t pass a required STAAR EOC, then he/she will have as many opportunities as needed to retake the exam until it is passed.
All students must participate in state assessments, but the ARD committee can decide if the student has to meet passing standard for graduation from high school.
If it is determined that a student does not have to meet state assessment passing standard, parents or adult students should investigate all possible implications of this decision, including its effect on being able to earn an endorsement or enroll in a four year university.
- 42. What are the state requirements for transition planning?
Appropriate state transition planning must begin for a student, not later than the student’s 14th birthdate (SB 1788, 06/17/2011) and must address these issues:
Appropriate student involvement in the student’s transition to life outside the public school system;
If the student is younger than 18 years of age, appropriate parental involvement in the student’s transition;
When the student is majority age, appropriate parental involvement in the student’s transition is determined and the parent may be invited to participate by the student or the school district in which the student is enrolled;
Any postsecondary education options;
A functional vocational evaluation;
Employment goals and objectives;
If the student is at least 18 years of age, the availability of age-appropriate
Independent living goals and objectives;
Appropriate circumstances for referring a student or the student’s parents to a
governmental agency for services.
See this link for the Texas Employment and Transition Guide for more detailed information on all aspects of transition: Transition and Employment Guide
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