The US Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services has clarified several important issues impacting ‘highly mobile’ children who have disabilities. In a July 19, 2013 policy letter to all State Directors of Special Education, several issues are addressed:
- All children suspected of having a disability and who are in need of special education and related services must be evaluated in a timely manner and without undue delay. Generally, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires initial evaluations to be completed within 60 days of receiving consent (65 business days in Virginia).
- The policy letter specifically addresses use of response to intervention (RTI) multi-tiered instructional framework approaches used in many school divisions. “The IDEA regulations include a provision mandating that States allow, as part of their criteria for determining whether a child has a specific learning disability, the use of the process based on the child’s response to a scientific, research-based intervention….However, once parental consent has been obtained for an initial evaluation to determine if the child needs special education and related services, the school district must not delay completion of the evaluation because an RTI process is pending.”
- In the case of a child whose evaluation is begun in one school district and then the child transfers to a new school district during the same school year the evaluation is initiated, “the new school district may not delay the evaluation or extend the evaluation time frame in order to implement an RTI process.”
- A child with an Individualized Education Program (IEP) transfers into a new school district, the receiving school must initially provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to the child, including services comparable to those described in the IEP from previous school district. This includes Extended School Year (ESY) services.
Read the full policy letter.