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Helping Children With Special Educational Needs - A Checklist for School Officials

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Produced by Masschusetts legal services' Domestic Violence and School Safety Workgroup
Created March, 2007

Help children who have moved into the school or school district

Ask the parent whether the child has an IEP.

If yes, ask the parent where the child moved from:

If within the same school district, begin implementing the IEP immediately;

If within the state, implement the child’s IEP until it is
adopted or a new one is accepted by Parent; or

If from outside the state, implement the child’s IEP until
it is adopted or until she is re-evaluated and a new one is developed (if
necessary) and accepted by Parent.

Call the sending school district to obtain records and IEP.

Begin implementing the old IEP immediately.

Consider the need for a new evaluation.

Inquire with parent and/or sending school district to determine if the child
was undergoing any evaluations before the move.

Encourage sending school district to complete any evaluations already begun
and to send you the results

Consider using these results, rather than re-testing the child.

Agree with the parent on a timeline for completing remaining portions of
the evaluation.

Help children who are known to be “homeless”:

  • Ask your homelessness liaison to contact the sending district’s
    liaison to expedite transfer of records; and
  • Consider using McKinney funds for an expedited evaluation of the child.

Help children who have moved out of the district

Contact receiving district and arrange to send records and IEP as soon as possible.

Notify receiving district of any pending evaluations.

Complete any pending evaluations and send them to receiving district.

Help children who are known to be “homeless”
Have your homelessness liaison contact the receiving district’s liaison
as soon as possible to expedite transfer of records.

Help children who are known or suspected to have a history of trauma from
exposure to violence

Consider the following when planning an evaluation of the child:

Speech/language evaluation
trauma often has a significant impact on a child’s ability to process
and reason with language;

Functional Behavioral Assessment trauma often impacts a child’s
ability to self-regulate emotions and behaviors in a classroom environment;

Neuropsychological evaluation
children with trauma histories often have a host of co-morbid diagnoses that
interact with their cognitive profile in very complex ways.

Consider writing safety provisions (e.g., special transportation arrangements)
into the IEP.

Consider inviting shelter workers and/or social workers to the child’s
team meeting, if appropriate.

General suggestions

If possible, fax time-sensitive documents (i.e., consent forms) back and forth
to the parent to expedite the process.

Make sure that all special education documents are appropriately redacted if
being sent to a non-custodial parent. 

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