Is an Arizona IEP Free?
How much does an IEP cost in the state of Arizona? First, we’ll start with the cost of the parent. This one is easy. It costs the parents $0. If your student is in public school or charter school here in Arizona, the cost of the IEP is at the expense of the school.
Meeting the Needs of the Child
However, if you are trying to get your child a diagnosis or an evaluation before the IEP even starts, it’s likely that that is a cost you would incur. So, this is your healthcare provider, maybe a behavioral health specialist. If you take them to a physician who specializes in meeting your child’s needs, that would be a cost you would incur.
School’s Role in IEP Evaluation
However, the school is responsible for getting any evaluators or assessments for your child to decide if they are eligible for an IEP. The school is responsible for the cost of the educators, the team who’ll construct the IEP, to meet with the parents, and if any additional services are needed, so if you need to bring anybody into the school to provide (for example, a specialized type of therapy)— that’s the school’s cost. That’s the school’s responsibility.
It is rooted in federal statutes, federal case law, and Supreme court cases. Also, here in Arizona, federal statutes and regulations are as well. So, any cost of the IEP—which can vary depending on the student’s needs—is the school’s responsibility to meet those needs and get the evaluations needed to decide if they are eligible for an IEP.
All those costs can range greatly, but it’s the school’s responsibility to do that, not the parent’s. So, as a short answer, parents, it should cost you zero for the actual IEP itself. However, if you get any pre-evaluation or assessments done, that would be a cost you would incur.
Provide Support Staff for an IEP Student
But then, once the process of the IEP starts, any of the services the IEP requires are all responsibility of the school, and that cost can vary greatly.
Suppose support staff needs to be brought in for that student if they need aid in the general education classroom. If they need therapy, the IEP team brings in a therapist, an occupational therapist, a speech therapy, or a behavioral health analyst. If they need to have any adaptations for their environment, this could make classrooms more accessible to them.
Speak to an Attorney
All these things cost money, but the school incurs it, which varies greatly. You may get into some issues with the IEP process because the school, as I said, incurs that cost. And so they sometimes look out for their financial interest balancing that with the student’s needs. But if your student needs certain things the school does not provide for you, you’d want to reach out to a possible attorney to be advised on your rights and how to start the process for an IEP.
How Do I Get an IEP For My Child in Arizona?
As a parent or guardian, you can request an IEP evaluation for your child if you think they might need special education services. You can make this request to the school district in which your child attends school. The school district must evaluate whether your child is eligible for special education services.
If the school district determines that your child is eligible for special education services, they will develop an IEP for your child. The IEP is a document that outlines the special education services that your child will receive.
What Are the Components of An IEP In Arizona?
The components of an IEP vary from state to state. However, in general, an IEP must include the following:
- A statement of the child’s present level of educational performance
- A description of the child’s special education and related services
- Annual goals for the child’s educational progress
- A description of how they will measure the child’s progress
- The date by which the IEP will be reviewed and revised, if necessary
It’s essential to understand that an IEP is a living document that people can revise. As your child’s needs change, you can modify the IEP to address those changes.
What Is the Difference Between A 504 Plan and IEP In Arizona?
What are the differences between an IEP and a 504 plan in Arizona? These terms get used a lot by educators and school systems. Sometimes, parents don’t know that they’re separate documents and mean different things, and they grant different accommodations or specialized education.
So, I will break down the main differences between a 504 plan and an IEP. The significant differences are who qualifies for them.
Lastly, what accommodations or specialized education do you receive with both documents?
What is a 504 Plan in Arizona?
So, starting with the 504 plan. The 504 plan is codified in section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, which grants civil rights to people who may have a disability. Some disabilities impair them in the classroom so they may need accommodations. Now, a 504 plan does not define what is considered a disability to grant a 504 plan—an IEP does.
Is your Child Eligible for a 504 Plan?
So, a 504 plan is just for anybody with a disability who needs support. Also, a 504 plan covers anyone, K-12, in the college setting or university, while the IEP stops at grade 12. Those are the main differences. It’s easier to qualify for a 504 plan than it is for an IEP when it comes to a specific sort of disability.
Scope of a 504 Plan
Also, the 504 plan is only going to address accommodations. It does not address specialized education or instruction. So, a 504 plan might look like students can take medication at school or have certain technology granted to them. Maybe changes to their environment, more time on a test, or being able to be in a quiet room alone if they’re taking an exam. Things like that are going to be more of a 504 plan.
It’s just an accommodation; it’s written on a document. That’s how it is. It’s easier to get, and the process is quicker. However, you’re just getting those accommodations.
What is an IEP in Arizona?
Now, with an IEP, this is when you’re going to get that specialized education. So, the school will pull you out regarding your child for special education. Although in an IEP, you might also get those same accommodations.
Let’s talk about an IEP. An IEP is codified under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. It grants people with a specified disability, and there’s a list of 13 categories your student must qualify under. And they will have an actual plan, a legally binding document.
How IEP Works
An IEP will give goals for your student to achieve and how they will get there. It is when we discuss accommodations, testing, progress monitoring, etc. You will meet annually to check those goals to ensure that you’re reaching or on the right track.
Categories of Disabilities
Then, every three years, the student will need to be reevaluated to see if they’re still eligible for the IEP. In the IEP, as I said, you do have to have one of the 13 categories of disabilities. And those are anywhere from:
- Emotional disorders
- Specific learning disabilities
- Speech or Language
- Visual Impairment,
- And traumatic brain injury.
Those are the basic list and the categories; your student must qualify underneath one. If they don’t, they will not receive an IEP. But that doesn’t mean they can’t get a 504 plan because a 504 disability is defined broadly to qualify for it.
So, those are the main differences.
In 504, more people are likely to be eligible for it, and it only covers accommodations. In an IEP, you must hit one of those 13 categories of disabilities to qualify for it, but you get accommodations and specialized education instruction.
What Is the Arizona IEP Timeline?
As a parent with a child in the Arizona IEP process, it’s essential to understand the timeline for each process step. This timeline can vary depending on your child’s individual needs and the school district in which you live.
However, in general, the Arizona IEP timeline looks like this:
- The parent requests an IEP evaluation from the school district.
- The School district evaluates the child to determine if they are eligible for special education services.
- If the child is eligible for special education services, the school district develops an IEP.
- The IEP is reviewed and revised as necessary at least once per year.
What are Team-Based Early Intervention Services in Arizona?
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a federal law that helps to ensure that all children with disabilities have access to a free and appropriate education. The law also requires states to provide early intervention services to infants and toddlers with developmental delays. In Arizona, these services are called Team-Based Early Intervention Services (TB EIS).
TB EIS is a statewide system of services and supports designed to meet the needs of infants and toddlers with developmental delays. The system is based on the belief that all children have the right to participate in meaningful activities in their homes, communities, and schools.
Do You Need an Arizona IEP Attorney?
Understanding the Arizona IEP process can be complicated. If you’re concerned about your child’s education, you may want to consider hiring an IEP attorney. An IEP attorney can help you navigate the IEP process and ensure that your child’s rights are protected.
At Chelle Law, we understand parents’ challenges when advocating for their child’s education. We can help you understand your rights and options under the law. We will work with you to create an individualized education plan that meets your child’s unique needs.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation.
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