IEP Team’s Obligation To Meet Communication Needs of Students with Hearing, Vision, or Speech Disabilities

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Students with disabilities, like all students, must have opportunities to participate in school. And an important part of this participation involves communicating with peers, teachers or school staff.   With this in mind, this November, all three Federal offices, Office of Civil Rights Division (Department of Justice), Office for Civil Rights and Office of Special Education/ Rehabilitative Services ( U.S. Department of Education) jointly issued guidance about the rights of public elementary and secondary students with hearing, vision and speech disabilities.

kids with picture boardAll three Federal laws, the IDEA, Section 504 and Title II, address the obligations of all public schools, including charter schools, to meet the communication needs of students with disabilities, but do so in different ways. To view the frequently asked questions on effective communication for students with hearing, vision, or speech disabilities in public elementary and secondary schools. Click here.  

Appendix B (page 27) in the above link covers student rights on communication needs under IDEA as well as an overview of an IEP, IEP team and the process of conducting assessments.

Furthermore, Appendix B also explains the role of assistive technology in schools; meaning “devices and services to increase, maintain or improve the functional capabilities of students with disabilities” (source: idea.ed.gov). Remember, if your child’s IEP team (including you)  determines related services or supplementary aids and services are required as part of FAPE, the school district also must determine whether the child needs assistive technology devices and services to enable the child to receive meaningful educational benefit.

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