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 the state of 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 potentially, or an evaluation before the IEP even starts, it’s likely that that is a cost that 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 the needs of your child, that would be a cost that would be incurred by you.
School’s Role in IEP Evaluation
However, the school is responsible for the cost of getting any evaluators or assessments for your child to even decide if they are eligible for an IEP. The school is responsible for the cost of the educators, the team at their school to construct the IEP, to meet with the parents, and then 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. Now, this is the school’s responsibility. This is rooted in federal statutes, federal case law, and Supreme court cases. Also, here in Arizona, federal statutes, and regulations as well. So, any cost of the IEP. And that can really vary depending on the student’s needs, but it’s 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 responsibility of the school to do that, not the parent. So, as a short answer, parents, it should cost you zero for the actual IEP itself. If you get any pre-evaluation or assessments done, that would be a cost that would be incurred to you.
Provide Support Staff for an IEP Student
But then, once the process of the IEP has started, any of the services that are required by the IEP are all the responsibility of the school and that cost can vary greatly. As I said, if support staff needs to be brought in for that student, if they need aid while they’re in the general education classroom, if they need therapy, so a therapist is brought in, occupational therapy, speech therapy, if they need a behavioral health analysis, if they need to have any sort of adaptations for their environment, so this could be making classrooms more accessible to them.
Speak to an Attorney
All of these things cost money, but it is incurred by the school, and it does vary greatly. There are some issues that you may get into in the future with the IEP process, because the school, as I said, they incur that cost. And so, they sometimes are looking out for their financial interest balancing that with the student’s needs. But if your student needs certain things that the school is not providing for you, you 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:
- 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 the child’s progress will be measured
- 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 can be revised. As your child’s needs change, the IEP can be revised 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. And sometimes parents don’t know that they’re different documents and that they mean different things, and they grant different accommodations or specialized education. So, I’m going to break down the main differences between a 504 plan and an IEP. The major differences are who qualifies for them. And then, what type of accommodations or specialized education do you receive with both documents?
What is a 504 Plan in Arizona?
So, starting off 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. And there are disabilities that impair them in the classroom, so there may be accommodations needed. Now, a 504 plan does not give a specific definition of 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 really anybody who has a disability and needs support. Also, a 504 plan covers anyone, K-12, and then also in the college setting or university, and 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 being able to take medication at school, certain technology that’s granted to them, maybe changes to their environment, more time on a test, or being able to be in a quiet room by yourself if you’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. They’re easier to get and the process is a little bit 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, you’re going to be pulled out for your child for special education. Although in an IEP, you might also get those same exact accommodations. So, let’s talk about an IEP. An IEP is codified under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. And what that is, is it grants people who have a specified disability, and there’s a list of 13 categories and your student must qualify under one of those categories. And they will have an actual plan, a legally binding document.
How IEP Works
An IEP is going to give goals for your student to achieve, and how they’re going to get there. This is when we’re talking about accommodations, testing, progress monitoring, all of that. You’re going to meet annually to check those goals to make sure that you’re reaching or you’re on the right track.
Categories of Disabilities
And then every three years, the student will then need to be reevaluated to see if they’re still eligible for the IEP. 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, and your student must qualify underneath one of those categories. If they don’t, they would not receive an IEP. But that doesn’t mean that they can’t get a 504 plan, because a 504 disability is defined in a much broader term 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 be eligible 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 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 known as 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 trying to advocate 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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