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Is individual instruction by a special ed teacher only offered when a child is in a self contained setting, making no progress?

Medford, NJ |
Filed under: Education law

Is it a "most restrictive" option? Or could it be considered a supplementary service to be offered prior to placement in a more restrictive setting, or in conjunction with this? Would it be necessary to be placed in the most restrictive setting that may be appropriate prior to receiving individual instruction?

Attorney Answers 2

Posted

It is offered when your IEP requires it. However, I have rarely seen "individual instruction by a special ed teacher" in an IEP, except for autistic students in certain out-of-district schools.
Do not confuse appropriate and restrictive - sometimes appropriate requires more intense instruction.
The "least restrictive" requirement is more to protect your child from being placed in a segregated or non-participatory setting when the school should not do so against your desire. When YOU desire more intense instruction, that is not held against you. However, the school must agree to it, and it is a very expensive option to use 1/6 or so of a highly-paid special ed teacher's time to offer private instruction to a single student for a single period, and to pay 80-90 thousand a year for one to privately instruct your student (including benefits) is almost unheard of (without a fight from the school for sure).

This should not be considered legal advice and is intended for educational purposes only. It does not constitute a contract for legal services between any parties. Answers are given to questions for which there may be additional facts not mentioned which might change the legal issues or consequences.

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Asker

Posted

I meant approximately a half hour per week, mostly in order to understand the child's skill set better and inform instruction.

Asker

Posted

The school offers a literacy club that is available after school, but it is open to a number of students, so it wouldn't be an efficient use of time as the teacher rotates to those whom attend, which changes weekly. Is it possible to have a set time within literacy club arranged if that is needed in order to get enough instruction during that time to be worth doing? The student needs some down time in order to get the homework done and weekly tests studied for.

William J Popovich

William J Popovich

Posted

Whatever it is, you likely won't see it unless in an IEP. I've heard of "study skills classes in an IEP schedule, but no requirement to offer them, generally, and never with a single student. And remember - a half hour a week with a single teacher costs them about 2000 in salary/benefits of a special ed teacher who teaches 5 hours a day. So these costs add up, and they are not likely to be offered unless the IEP requires them. You could do what has been done by students over the years and have your child ask a teacher for help during study periods/the teacher's prep period or free period, when they coincide, or after or before school, or try to get something like this in an IEP, but I believe it could be a difficult thing to get. Individual instruction is very rare especially in an in-school setting, and students who require it often are sent to out-of-district placement. And something that would just be a help rather than a necessity that is not offered to regular ed students would not likely be offered to students who have an IEP unless it is included.

Posted

I would agree with Mr. Popovich that (understandably) you may be confusing different concepts. I see LRE and FAPE (Free Appropriate Public Education) confused all the time - often by educational personnel. LRE refers to the least restrictive environment for your child's needs where appropriate services can be given. School Districts with budgetary concerns like to group "like" students in a given class so that they can better use of the teacher for that class.

The law requires that where a student can be given those services in a less restrictive environment using "support services" (e.g. one-on-one aides, assistive technology, pull-out speech therapy) versus a self-contained classroom, then that is to be given preference over the latter. The fight develops where the parents and schools disagree as to what are the "appropriate" services and what is the LRE for the student in question.

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Asker

Posted

Is the student allowed to keep a placement until there has been a failure to progress, eg. meet benchmarks? Does implementation of assistive technology tools, such as for expressive writing, indicate a need for some (eg.half hour per week) individual instruction, especially if there is an under-utilized reading specialist available?

Jonathan Seth Corchnoy

Jonathan Seth Corchnoy

Posted

The student's placement is as per their IEP. It cannot be changed without a meeting of the IEP team (of which you are part). Should you disagree with the proposed changes, you can file for Due Process. Once such a claim is filed with the state, the placement cannot be changed until a judge Orders otherwise. The rest of your questions can only be answered by some educational expert[s], e.g., a licensed Speech Pathologist, certified Reading Specialist, certified School psychologist, and/or licensed neuropsychologist.

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