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Special Education Amendments

NY Education Dept. Proposes Special Education Amendments

September, 2010 – In New York State, students with disabilities are protected not only by federal regulations such as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (“IDEA”) and Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act (“Section 504”).  There are several state regulations that protect the rights of students with special needs.  The regulations of the Commissioner of Education of the State of New York were implemented pursuant to the New York State Education Law and regulate special education in New York State.

As deemed necessary, amendments to these regulations are proposed by the New York State Education Department. Many parents are concerned that the proposed amendments will reduce the amount of services available to children, specifically the following:

Section 200.6(e)(2): This proposed amendment seeks to repeal the minimum service delivery requirement of two 30-minute sessions of speech and language therapy each week for students determined to need speech and language services.

Section 200.6(g)(1): As it stands, the regulations permit 12 students with disabilities receiving integrated co-teaching services in a classroom.  The proposed amendment allows for a variance by notification, and with commissioner approval, for two additional students with disabilities in an integrated co-teaching services classroom.

Section 200.13(a)(4): This section of the regulations mandates educational programs for students with autism.  The proposed amendment seeks to repeal the minimum mandate for speech and language services for students with autism.  Currently, students with autism are to receive a minimum of 30 minutes of speech and language therapy per day in a group not to exceed two or, in the alternative, 60 minutes per day in a group not to exceed six.  Although the proposed amendment repeals this mandate, it does not provide a new minimum mandate and, instead, simply mandates instructional services to be provided to meet the individual language needs of a student with autism.

Section 200.5(d)(2): Whether or not issues relating to teaching methodology, lesson plans, or coordination of services are addressed in a student’s IEP, the meeting will not include conversations regarding these issues.

Section 200.5(c)(2)(i): When the Committee on Special Education (“CSE”) sends notification to the parent of an upcoming meeting regarding the student’s Individualized Education Program (“IEP”), the notice must now inform the parents who will be in attendance at the meeting, not simply those expected to attend. The amendments above will be submitted at the Board of Regents meeting in November and, if accepted, will be effective on December 8, 2010. Public hearings have been scheduled across the state for September 15 and 16.  Written comments will be accepted until October 4. For additional information, click here.