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The IEP Team Says They Will "Consider". . .

A schoolgirl in front of a blackboard considering all the synonyms for the word consider.

What Does "Consider" Actually Mean: More than you ever wanted to know about what the word consider means.

By Brice Palmer

As if there were not enough things about how school districts interpret various regulations in the IDEA and Section 504, the word “consider” seems to be one of the most irritating roadblocks we face during IEP and 504 meetings.

You present your information, participate in the meeting, you show the Team members your independent evaluations and other information about your child’s disability and what happens?

The school says, “thank you – we considered it.”

The information you gave to the school falls into an education records dark hole.

The word consider appears in the IDEA many times and I will not catalog them all here. Each time the word “consider” appears in the IDEA, that word is connected to some sort of action.

Two examples:

IDEA 2004 tells us that in developing the IEP, the IEP team shall consider:

1.  the child's strengths

2.  the parent's concerns for enhancing the child's education

3.  the results of the initial evaluation or most recent evaluation

4. the child's academic, developmental, and functional needs. ([1])

Another example is connected to independent education evaluations at either public expense or parental expense. 34 CFR § 300.502(c)-(d)[2] requires the school district to give consideration of independent educations obtained at public expense or the parent’s expense. The IEE must meet the school district’s criteria.

So what does the word consider mean? That word is a verb, and has two forms.

Form 1. The district must consider a parent’s independent evaluation. This form of the verb is connected with action. (Transitive verb)

Form 2. Ms. Sped considers me to be a pain in the neck.

According to Black’s Law Dictionary, the word consider means to think about, or to ponder or study and to examine carefully.[3] (Intransitive verb)

As far as I can determine, each time the word “consider” appears in the IDEA and the federal regulations that implement the IDEA, the word consider is used to signal action.

These are some synonyms for that form of the word consider:

analyze, appraise, assess, be attentive, cerebrate, cogitate, confer, consult, contemplate, debate, deliberate, devote attention to, digest, evaluate, examine, gauge, heed, inspect, mark, meditate on, mull over, muse, notice, observe, pay attention to, ponder, pore over, probe, reckon, reflect upon, regard, ruminate, scrutinize, study, take into account, think about, turn over in one's mind, weigh

The other form of the word consider is also a verb, but it is used to indicate thinking about something (I consider the IDEA as a good law). Another example is “I consider Mr. Palmer to be a pain in the neck advocate”.

For those who want to know, the English word consider comes from an Old French word, considerer. It means to "reflect on, consider, study. And the old French word considerer comes from the Latin word, considerare, which means "to look at closely, observe".

What have hearing officers and courts said the word consider (in the action sense) means?

Here are five illustrative decisions and one decision that limits the amount of consideration.

Community Consolidated Sch. Dist. No. 180, 27 IDELR 1004, 1005-06, the court said,

"[T]he failure to receive and consider parental information, including evaluations they may obtain, directly denies parents the pivotal role they should enjoy in the development of their child's placement. This role includes not only providing evaluations or other information, but discussing such information. Consideration of such outside information also ensures that a program is individualized and provides a check on the judgments being made by school officials regarding the child."

Deal ex rel. Deal v. Hamilton County Bd. of Educ., 42 IDELR 109 (6th Cir. 2004).

The court ruled that the school district denied parents of a student with autism the opportunity to meaningfully participate in the IEP process when it placed their child in a program without considering his individual needs.

The 6th Circuit concluded that although the parents were present at the IEP meetings, their involvement was merely a matter of form and after the fact because the district had, at that point, predetermined the student's program and services. It found the district's predetermination violation caused the student substantive harm and therefore denied him FAPE. Remedy: Private school tuition reimbursement. (The District Court in Deal ex rel. Deal v. Hamilton County Bd. of Educ., 46 IDELR 45 (E.D. Tenn. 2006) subsequently determined that the district's eclectic program was substantively appropriate.)

Briere v. Fair Haven Grade Sch. Dist., 25 IDELR 55 (D. Vt. 1996).

The court ruled that the IEP was significantly defective and the school district limited the parent's right to participate in IEP formulation by refusing to discuss the placement proposed by parent, delaying scheduling an IEP meeting for 23 months, and failing to finalize the resulting IEP for another year. Remedy: Private school tuition reimbursement

­­

DiBuo v. Bd. Of Educ. of Worcester County, slip no. S-01-1311 (Nov. 14, 2001)

The US District Court (Maryland) ruled that an IEP team's failure to consider the private evaluations submitted by the parents was such a serious violation of the IDEA that failing to consider the parent’s evaluations established that the school district denied the student of a free appropriate public education.

However, according to one court, consideration can go too far.

D. v. Manheim Township School District, No. 04-4535 at page 15, (E.D.Pa. 9-27-2007)

The US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania said,

“Thus, plaintiffs' argument is only compelling if, in requiring the IEP team to "consider" the severity of a student's disability, the regulation requires that the team formally and explicitly deliberate over the taxonomy of the student's diagnosis. This interpretation would betray the sensible understanding of "consider."

“The Oxford English Dictionary defines "consider," in its transitive form, as follows: "to contemplate mentally, fix the mind upon; to think over, meditate or reflect on, bestow attentive thought upon, give heed to, take note of." Oxford English Dictionary Online (2nd ed. 1989). This definition does not suggest that an object of consideration must be articulated and actively discussed. One may "consider" a factor relevant to a decision by bearing it in mind and allowing it to inform and shape one's reflections on a matter.”

Thank you for this interesting question. I hope this little article answers your question about what the word consider means in special education.

As you deal with the school district, remember that words have meaning – sometimes more meanings than we realize.

DOWNLOAD this article as a PDF

Brice is a special education advocate who works with parents across the country. He has practiced, taught and written about special education advocacy since 1995.  His articles have appeared in The Beacon Journal, published by Harbor House Law Press, Autism Asperger’s Digest, published by Future Horizons, Inc., Family Focus, the quarterly newsletter published by Families for Russian and Ukrainian Adoption (FRUA), and various articles appearing at www.wrightslaw.com. Some of the Wrightslaw articles are: Do the Documents Speak for Themselves? How to Prepare Your Case, Learning To Negotiate Is Part of the Advocacy Process, and How and Why to Tape Record Meetings.

Brice lives out in the woods near Benson, Vermont.  Your can reach him by phone at (802) 537-3022.

Ask Brice a Question on the the Educational Expert Forum  
Email:                               brice@shoreham.net
Website:                            http://www.bricepalmer.com

Sign-up for any of the 24 part Series of Workshops online - Next meeting is April 1, 2015 at 7: pm ET

 

[1] Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition, page 103; Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy, 2nd edition, page 164.

[3] Black's Law Dictionary Free Online Legal Dictionary 2nd Ed., http://thelawdictionary.org/consider/

 

Unrestrained Danger - Virginia Schools May be Hurting Children

For Immediate Release:   
Contact: Colleen Miller
August 11, 2014  
disAbility law Center of Virginia
(804) 225-2042

Virginia Schools May be Hurting Children

 

            Children in Virginia’s public schools may be subjected to long periods of seclusion and restraint with virtually no oversight or regulation by the State Department of Education, according to a report released today by the disAbility Law Center of Virginia.    The dLCV collected policies and procedures from almost all school districts in Virginia and reviewed them for the presence of protections for children with disabilities.

            128 of Virginia’s 133 school districts provided information for the report.  The results were discouraging:  32 school districts reported that they do not have any procedures that restrict a teacher’s ability to restrain or seclude a child. 83 school districts provided procedures that fail to meet the suggested “guidelines” developed by the Virginia Department of Education.  No public school produced standards that would meet the requirements set for private schools in Virginia.  In Virginia’s public schools, a child may be restrained for an unlimited amount of time, and the school faces no oversight or regulation.  Schools do not even have to notify the parents when a restraint has been used.

            “Nothing in Virginia code or regulations prohibits a school from putting a child in dangerous restraints, nothing limits how long a child may be left in seclusion, no rules control whether or not a school can lock a child in a closet all day long.  For most children, these practices would be considered abusive, but when the child has a disability, many public schools allow the practice,” said Colleen Miller, the Executive Director of the disAbility Law Center of Virginia.

            The report, Unrestrained Danger: Seclusion and Restraint in Virginia’s Public Schools, issued today urges the Commonwealth to create uniform and consistent policies that are evidence-based, focused on positive behavioral supports, data-driven, trauma-informed, and person-centered.  In addition, the Commonwealth should limit the use of restraint and seclusion in public schools as a last resort -- only when there is an immediate and significant risk of physical injury and only when less restrictive interventions have failed.  Statewide policies must prohibit the most dangerous practices, including mechanical restraints and prone restraints.

 

            The disAbility law Center of Virginia is a newly created nonprofit organization that serves as the state’s designated protection and advocacy system.  The dLCV’s mission is to combat abuse and neglect, to promote the civil rights of people with disabilities, and to encourage that people with disabilities have choice, independence and inclusion in all aspects of their lives.  The dLCV advocates for all people with disabilities to be free from abuse, neglect and discrimination.

            The Unrestrained Danger report and supporting detailed analysis, Seclusion and Restraint in Virginia’s Public Schools: Investigative Study of Policies and Procedures to Protect Students, can be found at www.dlcv.org.

 

# # #

 

The Unrestrained Danger Report - Virginia Schools May be Hurting Children

For Immediate Release:                                             
Contact: Colleen Miller
August 11, 2014                                                         
disAbility law Center of Virginia
(804) 225-2042

 

Virginia Schools May be Hurting Children

 

            Children in Virginia’s public schools may be subjected to long periods of seclusion and restraint with virtually no oversight or regulation by the State Department of Education, according to a report released today by the disAbility Law Center of Virginia.    The dLCV collected policies and procedures from almost all school districts in Virginia and reviewed them for the presence of protections for children with disabilities.

            128 of Virginia’s 133 school districts provided information for the report.  The results were discouraging:  32 school districts reported that they do not have any procedures that restrict a teacher’s ability to restrain or seclude a child. 83 school districts provided procedures that fail to meet the suggested “guidelines” developed by the Virginia Department of Education.  No public school produced standards that would meet the requirements set for private schools in Virginia.  In Virginia’s public schools, a child may be restrained for an unlimited amount of time, and the school faces no oversight or regulation.  Schools do not even have to notify the parents when a restraint has been used.

            “Nothing in Virginia code or regulations prohibits a school from putting a child in dangerous restraints, nothing limits how long a child may be left in seclusion, no rules control whether or not a school can lock a child in a closet all day long.  For most children, these practices would be considered abusive, but when the child has a disability, many public schools allow the practice,” said Colleen Miller, the Executive Director of the disAbility Law Center of Virginia.

            The report, Unrestrained Danger: Seclusion and Restraint in Virginia’s Public Schools, issued today urges the Commonwealth to create uniform and consistent policies that are evidence-based, focused on positive behavioral supports, data-driven, trauma-informed, and person-centered.  In addition, the Commonwealth should limit the use of restraint and seclusion in public schools as a last resort -- only when there is an immediate and significant risk of physical injury and only when less restrictive interventions have failed.  Statewide policies must prohibit the most dangerous practices, including mechanical restraints and prone restraints.

 

            The disAbility law Center of Virginia is a newly created nonprofit organization that serves as the state’s designated protection and advocacy system.  The dLCV’s mission is to combat abuse and neglect, to promote the civil rights of people with disabilities, and to encourage that people with disabilities have choice, independence and inclusion in all aspects of their lives.  The dLCV advocates for all people with disabilities to be free from abuse, neglect and discrimination.

 

            The Unrestrained Danger report and supporting detailed analysis, Seclusion and Restraint in Virginia’s Public Schools: Investigative Study of Policies and Procedures to Protect Students, can be found at www.dlcv.org.

 

# # #

OT for Children with Early Trauma Histories

Occupational Therapy for Children with an Early Trauma History including Medical Trauma,
Post-Institutionalized Children or Children Experiencing Attachment Disorder

Children who have a complicated history of separation, loss, early institutional care, and trauma have complex needs.  Early traumatic and attachment histories are factors severely affecting ability to process sensations inherent in typical activities of daily life including but not limited to adequate tolerance for food and fluid intake, dressing appropriately for the weather, basic social interaction and attachment with family, tolerance for normal grooming etc.  Because of their unique histories, these children’s sensory processing disorder can be quite dynamic.  Many of the children intensely crave vestibular and proprioceptive sensations while simultaneously avoiding a variety of sensations which trigger traumatic memories.  These triggers will change over time.

Occupational therapy for children with this kind of background is an emerging sub-specialty of the sensory integration treatment approach.  There are a few occupational therapists who have been working with colleagues from the fields of social work, counseling and psychology to develop an understanding of how attachment and trauma interact with sensory integration disturbances, and how to adapt basic treatment approaches to address these very specialized needs.  When looking for an occupational therapist to treat a post-institutionalized child, or foster child with attachment and trauma difficulty, look for one with experience and these kinds of connections.

While there are many occupational therapists well versed and experienced in basic sensory integration clinical practice, there are only a few across the United States who have a working knowledge of the complexities inherent to children with case histories which include complex trauma and attachment disorder.  There is no way to quickly gain insight into these kinds of very special sensory processing needs other than to consult directly with a therapist who has the multiple backgrounds of sensory integration, trauma, and attachment interventions.  The symptoms of post-traumatic stress (developmental trauma disorder) and attachment disorders make some of the typical sensory integration techniques (e.g. following the child’s lead, building a strong relationship between the therapist and child, helping the child feel independent) contraindicated and counterproductive.

Child Safety Seats from US Department of Transportation Guidelines

 

Introduction

 

THE BIG PICTURE

 

Which child is buckled correctly?

If you guessed the one in the middle, then you’re right. The harness straps are flat, snug and in position, and the chest clip is at the proper mid-chest, armpit level. 

The other photos illustrate some common mistakes that compromise protection and result in almost 80% of children being improperly restrained.  

  • Upper left: The child is too small to be in a vehicle lap/shoulder belt. The shoulder belt is under the child’s arm, and the lap belt is resting on the child’s abdomen. 
  • Upper right: Harness straps are too high, loose and the chest clip is too low. 
  • Bottom right: Harness straps are loose and twisted and the chest clip is disconnected. 
  • Bottom left: Although the lap belt is positioned correctly, the vehicle shoulder belt is under the child’s arm.

 

 

Air Bags
INCORRECT EXAMPLES

 

TAKE A BACK SEAT TO AIR BAGS

  Your child should be in the back seat. This infant seat is in the air bag deployment zone.

  An infant in a rear-facing child restraint should NEVER be positioned in the path of a frontal air bag.

 

 

THE DANGER ZONE

  Rear-facing child is positioned in front of the passenger air bag deployment zone.

  Seat is resting on the dash/air bag.

  Child is also incorrectly secured:

  Harness chest clip is too low (should be at armpit level).

  Harness straps are positioned too high (should be at, or below, infant’s shoulders).

  Air bags can cause serious injury or death to children, especially infants in rear-facing child seats.

 

 

CORRECT EXAMPLES FOR
REAR-FACING INFANT SEATS

 

WELL-CONNECTED

Harness chest clip is correctly positioned at the child’s mid-chest or armpit level. 

Harness straps are snug and straight. 

Rear-facing harness straps should be positioned at, or slightly below, the child’s shoulders.

A harness chest clip should be positioned at the child’s mid-chest or armpit level. This keeps the shoulder straps in the correct position.

 

WELL-COVERED

Blanket is correctly placed over both the internal harness straps and the child.

A blanket should never be placed between the child and the harness straps, or underneath or behind the child.

 

IN POSITION

Harness straps and chest clip are correctly positioned.

Blanket covering child is correctly positioned.
Rolled towels are placed on both sides of the child for proper position

 

ON A ROLL

A rolled towel or foam noodle at the crack of the vehicle seat helps position the infant seat at the correct 45-degree angle (check the manufacturer’s recommendation for the correct angle).

 

CLOSE THE GAP

 

A washcloth helps fill the space between the restraint buckle and the child’s groin area.
Harness straps are snug and straight.

 

General Car Seat Guidelines

General Child Seat Use Information
Buckle Everyone. Children Age 12 and Under in Back!

 

 

Age /

Weight

Seat Type /

Seat Position

Usage tips
Infants Birth to at least 1 year and at least 20 pounds

Infant-Only Seat/rear-facing or Convertible Seat/used rear-facing.

Seats should be secured to the vehicle by the seat belts or by the LATCH system.

  • Never use in a front seat where an air bag is present.
  • Tightly install child seat in rear seat, facing the rear.
  • Child seat should recline at approximately a 45 degree angle.
  • Harness straps/slots at or below shoulder level (lower set of slots for most convertible child safety seats).
  • Harness straps snug on child; harness clip at armpit level.
Less than 1 year/ 20-35 lbs.

Convertible Seat/used rear-facing (select one recommended for heavier infants).

Seats should be secured to the vehicle by the seat belts or by the LATCH system.

  • Never use in a front seat where an air bag is present.
  • Tightly install child seat in rear seat, facing the rear.
  • Child seat should recline at approximately a 45 degree angle.
  • Harness straps/slots at or below shoulder level (lower set of slots for most convertible child safety seats).
  • Harness straps snug on child; harness clip at armpit level.
PRESCHOOLERS /
TODDLER
1 to 4 years/ at least 20 lbs. to approximately 40 lbs

Convertible Seat/forward-facing or Forward-Facing Only or High Back Booster/Harness.

Seats should be secured to the vehicle by the seat belts or by the LATCH system.

  • Tightly install child seat in rear seat, facing forward.
  • Harness straps/slots at or above child’s shoulders (usually top set of slots for convertible child safety seats).
  • Harness straps snug on child; harness clip at armpit level.
YOUNG
CHILDREN
4 to at least 8 years/unless they are 4’9" (57") tall.

Belt-Positioning Booster (no back, base only) or High Back Belt-Positioning Booster.

NEVER use with lap-only belts—belt-positioning boosters are always used with lap AND shoulder belts.

  • Booster base used with adult lap and shoulder belt in rear seat.
  • Shoulder belt should rest snugly across chest, rests on shoulder; and should NEVER be placed under the arm or behind the back.
  • Lap-belt should rest low, across the lap/upper thigh area—not across the stomach.
 
 

From INCIID the Heart: Video of the first baby born through our IVF scholarship program

 

The "From INCIID the Heart" program, established in the summer of 2004, provides IVF services to deserving couples who would not otherwise be able to afford them. 
(Warning: Baby video)

 

 

Shewanda and Carl Harris were one of the first couples to participate in the program.  Shewanda had one miscarriage and two ectopic pregnancies. According to Dr Mory Nouriani, “Shewanda’s case was an exceptionally difficult one. Her prior surgeries had left her with one remaining ovary which had been scarred down, and we were only able to obtain 6 eggs from that remaining ovary.  Despite the up-hill battle, we were elated that her cycle was successful.” Shewanda’s only hope to conceive was through In Vitro Fertilization (IVF).  At an average cost of over $10,000 per attempt, IVF was financially out of reach for the Harrises.

                         

Read the People Magazine Article.

 

(For more on the first baby and the Harrises click here.)

 

Information on application to the From INCIID the Heart Program

 

Help us support the program by contribution or sponsorship.
 

If you are a clinic wishing to donate medical services or a company who would be interested in sponsoring the program, please email us at: INCIIDinfo@inciid.org

 

Special Needs Acronyms

AC       :      Augmentative Communication
AC       :      Alternative Communication or augmentative communication
ASD    :      Autistic Spectrum Disorder
AT       :      Assistive Technology
ASL     :      American Sign Language
ADHD :      Attention Deficit Hyper Disorder definition and symptoms.
ADD    :      Attention Deficit Disorder
ADA    :      Americans with Disabilities Act
ABA    :      Applied Behavior Analysis
BIP      :      Behavior Intervention Plan
CEC    :      Council for Exceptional Children
DSM   :      Diagnostic and Statistical Manual
DTD    :      Developmental Trauma Disorder
FAPE  :      Free Appropriate Public Education
FAS     :     Fetal Alcohol Syndrome
GT       :      Gifted and Talented Definition
HOTS :      Higher Order Thinking Skills
IDEA   :      Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
IQ        :      Intelligence Quotient
LD       :      Learning Disability
LRE     :     Least Restrictive Environment
OCD   :      Obsessive Complusive Disorder
ODD   :      Oppositional Defiant DisorderMainstreaming
MH      :      Multiply Handicapped or Multiple Disabilities
MID     :     Mild Intellectual Disability
NCLB  :      No Child Left BehindRS - Related Services
SIB      :       Self-Injurious Behavior
SPED  :      Special Eduction
SPP    :     State Performance Plan Definition.
TFT     :     Thought Field Therapy

Resources for Parenting Special Needs Children

Books and Recommended Reading

 

Nutritional Concerns

Nature's Mighty Bites Ice Cream offers all the benefits of a balanced healthy meal in your favorite ice cream flavors.
Nature's Mighty Bites™ Ice Cream is a complete meal, without the sugar, fat, and calories of traditional ice cream.

 

 

Sensory Processing Disorder / Sensory Integration

All day, every day, we receive information from our senses-touch, hearing, sight, taste, smell, body position, and movement and balance. Our brains must organize this information so that we can successfully function in all aspects of daily life-at home, at school, at play, at work, and during social interactions.

What is sensory integration?

 

 

Special Education and School Concerns

Wrights Law
Parents, educators, advocates, special education teachers and attorneys go to Wrightslaw for accurate, reliable information about special education law, education law, and advocacy for children with disabilities. Wrightslaw has thousands of articles, cases, and free resources about dozens of topics. This is a MUST for any parent to successfully advocate for their child.

IDEA
To reauthorize the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and for other purposes. <<NOTE: Dec. 3, 2004 -  [H.R. 1350]>>

 

 

Books

 

 

Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA)
The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) (20 U.S.C. § 1232g; 34 CFR Part 99) is a Federal law that protects the privacy of student education records. The law applies to all schools that receive funds under an applicable program of the U.S. Department of Education.
FERPA entitles parents to a FULL copy of their child's records including documents "often" omitted (teacher to teacher notes, administrative notes, email communications etc.) You can download a copy of a sample FERPA letter. This will help you to be sure you know, each year, what documents are held in your child's school file.  This is one of the first things attorneys (in special education law) advise their clients to get. Download a copy of a sample FERPA letter and be sure you know each year what documents are held in your child's school file. Download word document letter here.  or the PDF Format Here  or the Plain TEXT version here.

 

 

Trauma and Children

Childhood Trauma, the Neurobiology of Adaptation and Use-dependent Development of the Brain: How States become Traits.  A Bruce D. Perry, M.D., Ph.D article. This is an Academy version of an article originally published in the Infant Mental Health Journal.

Helping Traumatized Children Learn. A "must-have" manual developed by MA advocates for dealing with traumatized children in the public school.

Dysregulation of the Right Brain: A Fundamental Mechanism of Traumatic Attachment and the Psychopathogenesis of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder by Allan N. Schore

 

 

Books about Trauma and Healing of Trauma

 

Please send us your additions to this page.

 

Parenting Special Needs: Recommended Reading

Adoption Recommended Reading
See the list above for other books specifically geared toward adoption

 

IEP's Individual Educational Programs

From Emotions to Advocacy by Pam and Pete Wright. A must have for any parent going through special education services or anyone advocating for children and their educational needs.

Order it from Amazon

 

Sensory Processing Disorder / Sensory Integration Disorder

 

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