What are the categories of disability in the state of Pennsylvania?
In Pennsylvania, students identified for a disability and eligible for services must be provided a free appropriate public education. Following an initial evaluation or a reevaluation, student may be identified under one or more of the categories listed below:
- Visual impairment, including blindness
- Intellectual disability
- Multiple disabilities
- Orthopedic impairment
- Emotional disturbance
- Other health impairment
- Traumatic brain injury
- Hearing impairment
- Specific learning disability
- Speech and language impairment
*Mental Giftedness under Chapter 16
**Preschoolers may also be identified as developmentally delayed.
When is the IEP Prepared?
The IEP is a “blueprint” that guides all personnel within the school in serving your child. Accordingly, it must be prepared before services can be provided. Usually, this means after the end of one year and before the beginning of the next school year. However, the first time your school has determined that your child needs special education, the IEP meeting will be held within 30 calendar days of issuance of the evaluation report (ER). You have the right to ask for a meeting to review or reconsider your child’s IEP at any time. Subsequently, IEP meetings are held annually and following reevaluations. The School District will make every effort to schedule the meeting so that you can participate and provide information.
Who Participates in the IEP Meeting?
In addition to a child’s parents, the regular education teacher, the special education teacher, and representative of the school or special education administration will be present at the IEP meeting. You may bring your young child to the IEP meeting if you believe it appropriate to do so. We encourage the participation of all secondary students in their IEP planning. You also have the right to be accompanied by a person(s) with knowledge of special education. If the IEP meeting follows the first evaluation of your child, a member of the evaluation team will also be present in order to answer your questions about the evaluation procedures used and the results.
Does Everyone Have to Agree on the IEP?
There has to be agreement before your child’s complete educational programming can begin. If the disagreement concerns a relatively minor aspect of the program, the School District will implement the agreed-upon portion of the IEP. If, for whatever reason, you believe that no aspect of the IEP should be implemented, you have a right to utilize procedures for dispute resolution as described below.
What About Placement?
The law requires that parents agree prior to placement when a student is being placed for the first time. Subsequent changes require prior notice. Nevertheless, in most situations, the School District will seek your agreement to a proposed placement or change of placement immediately after the IEP is drafted.