FAQ answers on special education services for the start of the 2020–2021 school year

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We know our families who receive special education services from Dallas ISD have questions about this school year. Here are answers to the most frequently asked questions.

EVALUATIONS/ARD

  • Can my child still be referred for a special education evaluation?
    • Yes, the campus Student Support Team (SST) will respond to teacher and/or parent concerns related to a child’s academic and/or emotional needs.  Interventions may be recommended to address the root cause of the problem.  If a disability is suspected, the SST will work with parents to initiate a referral for a special education evaluation.  Meetings will be scheduled at a mutually agreeable date and time and will be conducted virtually utilizing district approved platforms.
  • How do I give consent for a special education evaluation?
    • The Special Education Evaluation Case Manager (ECM) will schedule a virtual meeting with the parent to review the referral information, explain the Procedural Safeguards, and review the Guide to the ARD Process.  Once the parent is fully informed, the ECM will review the Consent for Evaluation and obtain the parent’s signature.  The parent may sign the consent form utilizing electronic methods, or the document can be sent through the postal system.
  • How will special ed evaluations be completed if my child is participating in distance learning?
    • Evaluation Case Managers will contact parents to schedule an appointment for the evaluation at a district location. District approved safety and health practices will be followed.
  • What if I do not want to bring my child to an on-campus assessment?
    • Parents may choose to delay the evaluation of their child during the Covid-19 pandemic.  The Evaluation Case Manager will document the parent’s wish to delay the evaluation at the time the evaluation is being scheduled. As soon as your child returns to full in person instruction, the evaluation can take place. 
  • How can I participate in my child’s ARD meeting?
    • All ARDs will be held via Microsoft Teams; other district approved platforms or phone conferences to limit exposure to committee members and campus Special Education students attending school On Campus.

IEPS

  • How will remote learning for special education be different in the 2020-2021 school year compared to what Dallas ISD offered in the Spring of 2020?
    • Distance Learning across Dallas ISD will differ compared with last spring’s At-Home Learning. 
    • Each student’s IEP will reflect an individualized Distance Learning plan. Students receiving special education services will be included in the requirements for remote asynchronous learning as appropriate for each student, as determined by the ARD Committee to provide FAPE. Teachers and staff are being trained in remote learning techniques, materials, and use of technology to better meet the needs of students with special education services. Teletherapy options will also be available.
    • The case manager will contact the parents to coordinate services.
  • What will my student’s IEP look like if I select distance learning?
    • A Distance Learning Supplement/Contingency Plan will be developed for ALL students and become part of the IEP. Therefore, ALL students will have a plan for both On Campus and Distance Learning for the 2020-2021 school year.
    • The case manager will contact the parents to coordinate services.
  • What if I decide to change to remote learning during the school year or the campus is forced to close due to Covid-19?
    • A Distance Learning Supplement/Contingency Plan will be developed for ALL students and will become a part of the IEP. Therefore, ALL students will have a plan for both On Campus and Distance  Learning for the 2020-2021 school year.
    • Parents can change from distance learning to on campus learning at the end of each grading period. Add language from district website

SERVICES & SUPPORTS

  • How will students who receive remote learning receive related/support services?
    • Distance Learning students can attend their instructional/related service sessions (speech, OT, PT, etc.) at the provider scheduled time via interactive teletherapy platform or other district approved platforms.
    • The case manager/service provider will contact the parents to coordinate services.
  • How will student-specific adaptive equipment, communication devices, assistive technology, and/or accommodations be provided in remote learning?
    • Student specific adaptive equipment, communication devices, assistive technology, and/or accommodations as specified in a student’s IEP and determined necessary to provide FAPE will be provided for Distance Learning. Contact your student’s case manager with any questions.
    • The case manager/service provider will contact the parents to coordinate services.
  • How will inclusion support be implemented through remote learning?
    • During Distance Learning, special education personnel will support the general education teachers in building a classroom community, help with the newly established routines and procedures, collaborate on instruction, implement the contingency plan/supplement, promote student engagement, and/or develop virtual activities with the teacher.
    • The case manager will contact the parents to coordinate services.
  • How will special education students who are accessing an alternate curriculum be instructed through remote learning?
    • The schedule for classes will parallel the schedule for students receiving On Campus instruction as much as possible and appropriate for the grade/curriculum content for the student.  Direct instruction may be supplemented with activities that can be completed by the student in addition to the synchronous instruction. Some students accessing an alternate curriculum will need the support of a parent/caregiver to participate in online instructional activities.
    • Dallas ISD staff have been working with the different learning programs to determine effective implementation during Distance Learning. Many of the programs/resources used in alternate curriculum have a Distance Learning component. Teachers will be trained in using the programs to conduct Distance Learning lessons.
    • The case manager/service providers will contact the parents to coordinate services.
  • How are vision and hearing services going to be provided during the remote learning instruction?
    • Distant Learning students will receive Deaf/Hard of Hearing and Vision services, direct and/or consult, per their IEP.  Direct and consultative services will be provided based on student’s settings in coordination with the general education/special education teachers.  Deaf/Hard of Hearing and Vision teachers will work with campus teachers and case managers regarding the expectations for presentation of instructional materials. They will also assist families in understanding how to implement appropriate accommodations such as closed captioning, educational interpreting services, as well as auditory and visual supports in the online environment.
    • The case manager/service provider will contact the parents to coordinate services.
  • Can I access behavior support for my child at home during the remote learning option?
    • Behavior Support Staff are available to provide behavior interventions as needed in the remote learning environment.  This includes  assisting teachers with incorporating behavioral best practices, consulting and collaborating with parents/guardians as needed on strategies to support learning in the home, and providing district training and resources for supporting the learning environment.
  • Will Dallas ISD offer support for parents of special education during remote learning?
    • Dallas ISD will provide resources for parents of students with disabilities to support parents and students in Distance Learning. Resources will include but are not limited to: visual supports as needed, social stories for struggling students, and live help sessions for individual issues that may arise.

CONSIDERATIONS FOR ON CAMPUS VS. REMOTE LEARNING

  • When making your decision, you might consider:
    • Will your child be more successful when offered shorter, diverse activities that engage them through hands-on learning?
    • Will your child require a more significant amount of time and energy when it comes to supporting remote learning?
    • Can your child maintain a daily routine with your guidance?
    • Are you and your child comfortable with using technology tools to access learning?
    • What is in your child’s best interest for health and safety?
  • My child struggles to sit still for long periods of time and Distance Learning will be a challenge. What options do I have?
    • Parents should consult with their child’s classroom teacher to discuss the specific needs of their child. The teacher can provide for resources and additional supports. 
    • At this time, based on the recommendations from county health organization, the district is doing 100% distance learning starting September 8, 2020.
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