The Individualized Education Program and Committee on Special Education (CSE) Meetings
The Individualized Education Program (IEP), according to federal caselaw, represents the “centerpiece” of the Individuals with Disabilities Improvement Act and an outline of the special education placement, services and accommodations that a student with a disability must receive. School districts have an affirmative “child find” obligation to identify students who may have disabilities and conduct an appropriate evaluation. After evaluations, if your child is determined to be eligible for special education services, then the team, a Committee on Special Education (CSE), will develop an IEP. The assistance of a Littman Krooks special education attorney or advocate can make the difference in navigating this process and obtaining and sustaining needed services for your child.
The IEP team is termed a CSE in New York and is a team typically made up of a child’s parent or guardian, general education teacher, special education teacher, school psychologist and the district’s CSE chairperson. After your child has been referred for special education services and an evaluation has been performed, you will be notified about the CSE meeting, where the eligibility of the child for special education services will be discussed and determined. Parents have the right to have an attorney or advocate with them at this meeting.
An IEP should outline your child’s present levels of educational achievement and functional performance and individual needs, as well educational goals and benchmarks. It will list the student’s placement and the services and accommodations to which your child is entitled. For students turning 15 and older, the IEP will list post-secondary goals and transition services.
A special education student must be educated in the least restrictive learning environment possible, so a well-written IEP will address which services may require a separate, more intensive environment, and which can be taught in a mainstream classroom. An IEP should connect the student’s annual goals with what the school district will do to help the child achieve those goals, and it must be reevaluated on an annual basis.
Parents often find that a clear understanding of their legal rights makes a major difference and allows them to navigate the system smoothly and independently. It helps to have an advocate to stand up for those rights.
Disagreements between parents and school officials about what services can be or must be provided are not uncommon. A Littman Krooks special education advocacy attorney can help. We know the rights that parents of special needs students have under the law, and we will work with you, your child’s teachers and your school district representatives to ensure that your child is provided with the special education services he or she needs.