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IEP Minutes


mmgiles
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I'm in Texas and this is the first year that I haven't actually trusted my son's IEP team to provide the minutes required by his IEP and I have two specific questions I'm not sure where to find the answers. For the sake of clarity, my son is currently supposed to receive 100 minutes per week for ELAR and 20 minutes per week for Social Skills (all push-in services in the GenEd classroom). 

1. How are minutes handled or counted when there's a short week. Meaning if he's supposed to get 120 minutes of support, but there are less than five days in the school week, are they supposed to make up the difference, etc? 

2. This is the complicated question (sorry). As of last year, my son's current IEP includes a column where the minutes are listed that says how the services/minutes are to be administered. They say "direct" or "integrated." When we signed last year, I thought "integrated" meant that the instruction was in the GenEd classroom as a push-in rather than pull-out, but at the IEP meeting last week they said this meant that they could provide BOTH of his ELAR and Social Skills minutes at the same time or concurrently. This is essentially a reduction in services and would mean less time in the classroom. My question is essentially, is that even legal? Can they say they're providing both functions and count minutes twice with only one provider? Bonus points to anyone who knows what case law I can point to if needed. lol I might understand if they were providing OT at the same time as ELAR and there was both an occupational therapist AND someone to help with ELAR, but this just feels wrong. To make things more confusing, the help my son needs with ELAR is largely related to social skills and the two do in fact overlap at the moment, but I'm working on getting them to focus more on providing actual support/instruction to support his ELAR needs rather than only focusing on the behavioral issues that arise as a result of it. I'll handle that battle when we reconvene next week but I didn't feel like counting the minutes concurrently should even be legal. I also contacted his IEP teacher from last year to confirm the intention of the IEP team was for a total of 120 minutes, and she not only confirmed that but also said she has never counted minutes concurrently for any student.

 

Should push come to shove, I have everything I need to file a complaint but I'd rather it not come to that. (I have already printed the paperwork to ask for an Independent Facilitator first since that's an option in Texas and I really do want to avoid the conflict.) For the first NINE weeks of the school year they failed to provide ANY minutes/support at all. When I brought it to their attention (copying the head of special populations for the entire district), they admitted that it was due to a staffing issue and my son wasn't the only one but the district was not aware and they fixed it (for all students) that week, sort of. I found out at the meeting last week that while the IEP from last year (which covered Jan through May of 2022 and August 2022 through January 2023) actually had 90 minutes of ELAR for last school year but would go up to 100 minutes of ELAR this school year as a result of him moving into advanced classes. They not only had any plan to provide compensatory services to make up the missed time from the first nine weeks, but had read the IEP wrong and thought he was only supposed to have 90 + 20 minutes. They were hoping to wait until the end of the school year and when he passed all of his classes have me sign a waiver to the compensatory minutes. When I asked about if they had made any attempts to make up the time, they tried to say they had in fact provided additional time because of how they break up their class schedules, it made more sense to have someone in class for three full class periods rather than just a portion of class and they thought they were providing additional time. As it turns out, because they misread the IEP, there was only four weeks that they actually provided the correct amount of support.

To make matters worse, they were proposing that they "increase" the number of minutes for Social Skills to 90 minutes and have 90 minutes of ELAR - all integrated, which would be decreasing his total number of minutes per week by 30 minutes.  It was at this point that they decided we had gone over our time and the meeting  after ours needed to start and we would have to reconvene for next week. I think I have all of my ducks in a row, but I didn't know where to turn to find confirmation about those two questions. Thank you to anyone who read all or most of this. I appreciate it.

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I'm not in TX, and am not a lawyer, so I can't state whether something is/isn't legal. Has the director of special education for your district responded to your questions/concerns? They should be able to provide you a copy of the district's relevant policies that address your questions. I hope the district provides the clarification you need and that you have a successful meeting next week. 

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I agree with you that there needs to be a social skills person & an ELAR person - both who are credentialed to provide services working with your child.  Have you asked to observe how they do this in the classroom?  Can they give an example of how the did both ELAR & social skills last week?  I know that with medical services, they cannot concurrently do OT & PT or OT & speech.  Not sure how your child can learn either thing with a combined session.  It sounds like information overload.  My state has a consult line where you can call w/ sp ed questions.  Not sure if TX has this.

You can look for case law on Google Scholar.

With a short week, they might not need to do all the minutes.  My son had 30 min speech 1X per week & it was done on Tuesday.  If there was no school on Tuesday, there was no make-up session.

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