What are the 2 Components of LRE in Arizona?
What are the two components of LRE or the Least Restrictive Environment in Arizona?
The federal statute, Individuals with Disability Education Act (IDEA), addresses this standard. The 504 Plan or an IEP will speak much of the LRE standard. They can be slightly different in both settings, and I’ll get into that later. But I want to discuss the two components of the least restrictive environment and that standard.
Components of Least Restrictive Environment (LRE)
First, schools must put forth their best effort to provide services, aid, or any accommodation to keep students in the general education setting.
And if they’re not, or if they can’t, or even if they do provide those services or aids and it’s just not appropriate for the student to stay in that environment, then they can move to a more restrictive environment. And what that typically looks like is special education.
General Education Setting
So, let’s talk about general instruction. Suppose a student is having trouble retaining the information. We’ll use reading as an example. Say an aid is there to help keep their attention and focus on breaking down the information for them. However, they’re still not getting it. They’re still not meeting the goals of their IEP or retaining the information. Here, the second component kicks in, and maybe special education would be okay, but you always have to go for the least restrictive environment.
Support Services for the Student
So, whatever you can provide for that student with a disability to remain in the general education classroom among their peers, the school is required to do that. And only when those services and aids are not helping the student retain this information can they be pulled out for special education services.
It will look like, let’s say, a fifth-grade classroom, and the student is reading at a kindergarten level. Even with the use of aid and other adaptations, having their tests read to them, they still might not be comprehending and learning. So, in that case, they would likely be pulled out for special education, and they can have a plethora of services, and their education can be more tailored to their needs.
LRE Standard Outside the Classroom
What this looks like in a 504 plan is that they can extend the least restrictive environment standard to things outside the classroom.
It may be transportation to and from school, recess, lunches, or extracurricular activities. So, the 504 plan extends this LRE outside the general classroom.
How they would incorporate this in IEP—they have goals for the student to reach and methods of tracking that. And they want to use the least restrictive environment possible, but the IEP is tracking to ensure they achieve those goals. Suppose they need to make more accommodations or pull the student out for special education in a separate classroom and differentiated instruction. In that case, this standard of least restrictive environment or LRE allows them to do that.
Who Determines Placement of LRE Students in Arizona?
The first thing parents need to understand is that determining where their child will be placed for learning purposes is a collaborative effort between the school team and themselves. The IEP or Individualized Education Program team, which comprises the student’s teachers, therapists, parents, and administrators, makes this decision.
Therefore, as a parent, you must ensure that you actively participate in all the meetings convened by this team. Your active participation is key because you are the only person who knows your child best. You understand their abilities, strengths, and weaknesses better than anyone else, and thus your input is essential in making the right decision.
When is a Parent Entitled to an Individual Educational Evaluation in Arizona?
As a parent, you have the right to request an Individual Educational Evaluation for your child if you disagree with the school’s evaluation of your child. However, you need to know that the public school is only obliged to pay for one IEE per disability per student.
You also have the right to choose the professional conducting the IEE. However, this professional must not be working in the public school that your child attends. Once the IEE is complete, the professional will share the results with the IEP team, who will use it to make decisions about your child’s education.
How Do I Write a Letter Asking for an IEE in Arizona?
As highlighted above, you can request an IEE at any time as a parent. You must include specific information to write a letter asking for an IEE. It should consist of the following:
- Your child’s name
- The name of the school they attend
- Your contact information
- A description of your child’s disability
- The reason why you are requesting an IEE
You must also send this letter to your school district’s Director of Special Education. You can find the contact information for this person on your school district’s website. The goal of this letter is to give the school district notice that you are requesting an IEE. It is important to note that you do not need to state a reason for requesting the IEE in this letter.
What is the Child Finding Process in Arizona?
The Child Find process is a continuous effort by the public school system to locate, identify, and evaluate children who may have disabilities and need special education services. This process applies to all children aged 3-21 who reside in Arizona.
The evaluation team responsible for carrying out this process is known as the Multi-Disciplinary Team or MDT.
If you believe your child may have a disability and requires special education services, you should contact your school district’s Special Education Department. The school district will evaluate your child’s eligibility for special education services. Make sure to ask for a copy of the evaluation report to keep it for your records.
What is the Multidisciplinary Team in Arizona?
The MDT is the team of professionals responsible for conducting the Child Find process in Arizona. A variety of experts make up this team, including:
- School psychologist
- Speech-language pathologist
- Occupational therapist
- Physical therapist
- Special education teacher
- General education teacher
- Parent or guardian
The MDT will use a variety of assessments to determine if a child has a disability and requires special education services. These assessments may include observations, interviews, and academic and behavioral testing. Once the MDT has completed their evaluation, they will meet with the child’s parent or guardian to discuss their findings.
If the MDT determines that the child does not have a disability, the child will not be eligible for special education services.
What is Proper Restraint and Seclusion of Arizona Students?
The proper restraint and seclusion of students with disabilities is a hot-button issue in Arizona. The state legislature has passed a law requiring all public schools to have a policy regarding the proper use of restraints and seclusions. This policy must be reviewed and updated every year.
The law defines restraints as any manual or physical technique that immobilizes or reduces the ability of a student to move their body or head freely. It includes, but is not limited to, holding a student in a seated position or against a wall. Seclusion, on the other hand, is the involuntary isolation of a student in a room or space from which they cannot exist.
There are a few circumstances where the school can use restraints and seclusions on students with disabilities. First, they can use it if the student poses an imminent threat of serious bodily injury to themselves or others. Second, if the student’s behavior is significantly disruptive and other de-escalation techniques have failed. Also, they can use restraint and seclusion if the student is engaging in self-injurious behavior, and restraint is necessary to prevent them from harming themselves.
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