How the Age of Majority affects an IEP

What is the age of majority?

The age in which the child will now be considered an adult and MUST receive notice of an IEP meeting, consent to an evaluation, select the participants of an IEP meeting, attend an IEP meeting and consent to the contents of an IEP.

These rights must be explained no later than one year prior to the age of majority. The age of majority is most commonly the 18th birthday but could be different based on the State you live in. In Texas, the age of majority is 18.

Why does the age of majority matter?

Parents are used to holding their child’s educational rights. These rights transfer to the child when they hit the age of majority. Often times parents feel upset and isolated when the school stops talking to them regarding their child’s IEP and start talking directly to the student. It’s very important for the parents and their child to have a plan for when this time comes. Make it clear to your child that you still want to be a part of the conversation and that they should never sign anything without discussing it with you first.

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TEA New Career & Technical Education (CTE) Resource Center and Website

A new Career and Technical Education (CTE) Resource Center and Website from TEA (Texas Education Agency) offer students personalized, flexible learning delivered by experts with over 120 programs of study in more than 79 career pathways. Career and technical education programs offer a sequence of courses that provides students with coherent and rigorous content. CTE content is aligned with challenging academic standards and relevant technical knowledge and skills needed to prepare for further education and careers in current or emerging professions.

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The Texas Academic Achievement Record (AAR)

Parents are often confused about the rules regarding course credits, graduation programs/plans, and what a school can do regarding course accommodations and content modification. The Texas Education Agency (TEA) develops a Minimum Standards for the AAR document each year.  The information in this post, much of it quoted heavily from the TEA document, can assist parents during ARD/IEP meetings to explore available options, if standard high school courses and/or content do not seem appropriate.

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Using the School Years to the Max!

Public school is the last mandated service that a student with a disability can access. After graduation, a person must apply to get services and supports and prove eligibility through income as well as disability. Public school is the last opportunity for free education, with a wide range of modifications and a requirement for parent input. Make the most of public school services as you plan for your youth’s transition to adulthood. Here are a few ideas to consider while you and your youth plan in the school setting:

Create a vision for the future. Ask for a planning session at school to discuss your youth’s future. Many districts have planning tools and interest/vocational inventories in place to help with this process. Invite your youth, family and friends, as well as relevant school staff, to your planning meeting. Be sure that you are clear on when your youth will graduate (ask staff to explain graduation options) and that your youth has a voice at the meeting.

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How Can We Help Kids With Transitions?

Many children struggle with transitions, which are common triggers for behaviors that range from annoying (whining, stalling) to upsetting (tantrums and meltdowns).

There are many ways parents and teacher can help kids have an easier time with transitions — and be able to behave better—but  it may take a little experimentation to find out what clicks with each particular child.

These tools are useful  to help kids of all stripes with transitions. But for kids with ADHD, anxiety, autism, or sensory processing, this kind of scaffolding is particularly crucial and can make the difference between a good day and a bad one. Over a period of time it can help pave the way for success.

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TEA Guidance on Inviting Agency Representatives to an ARD/IEP Meeting

The following information is excerpted from the Texas Education Agency’s (TEA) webpage Guidance for Inviting Agency Representatives to Admission, Review, and Dismissal Committee Meeting:

Current federal regulations govern the provision of services for sixteen-year-old students with disabilities or for younger students if determined appropriate by the admission, review and dismissal (ARD) committee. These provisions require that a student’s individualized education program (IEP) include measurable postsecondary goals as well as the transition services needed to assist the student in reaching those goals (34 CFR §300.320(b)). Further, provisions at 34 CFR §300.321(b)(3) require a local educational agency (LEA) to invite a representative of any agency that is likely to be responsible for providing or paying for transition services to the transition meeting.

LEAs must also comply with 34 CFR §300.622(b)(2), which protects a student’s confidential information from unauthorized disclosure to agencies that participate in the ARD committee meeting. Specifically, this section requires the LEA to obtain parental consent, or the consent of an eligible student who has reached the age of majority (adult student), for the release of personally identifiable information to officials of participating agencies that will provide or pay for transition services. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) further specifies the requirements for the protection of privacy of parents and students under Section 444 of the General Education Provisions Act as amended.

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2017 Texas Bills Regarding Education

Chuck Noe, PRN Education Specialist, shares his insights on newly signed Texas legislation. Please keep in mind that even though a bill is effective immediately, the Texas Education Agency (TEA) must go through the process of developing and posting rules before schools can begin implementing some of the laws.

HB 1866

“Sec. 8.061.  DYSLEXIA SPECIALIST. Each regional education service center shall employ as a dyslexia specialist a person licensed as a dyslexia therapist under Chapter 403, Occupations Code, to provide school districts served by the center with support and resources that are necessary to assist students with dyslexia and the families of students with dyslexia.”

Currently, students in kindergarten thru second grade must be tested for dyslexia and related disorders.  Now students in kindergarten and first grade must also be screened at the end of the school year.  The question becomes, will the Texas Education Agency (TEA) feel that schools must do much if anything different than what they are currently doing.

TEA must annually develop a list of training opportunities regarding dyslexia.  At least one of these must be available online.  These opportunities must comply with the knowledge and practice standards of an international dyslexia organization, enable an educator to understand and recognize dyslexia as well as implement instruction that is systemic, explicit, and evidence-based to meet the educational needs of a student with dyslexia.

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Tips for Surviving Your Freshman Year of College

One of the first things I figured out after I graduated from high school and went to college was that college has a lot more responsibilities and work than high school.  In high school, you may have had a whole posse (group of people to support you) behind you, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, etc.  In college, you are on your own to find the help you need, even if you do not know what that need is yet.  The following is a tip sheet to assist you in your quest for higher education.

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Advocating for Yourself in Middle School and High School: How To Get What You Need

You should always be able to have the accommodations you need in school for your disability or health care needs. Sometimes it just takes some extra effort to get what you need. Just because you have a disability it doesn’t mean you can’t do as well as the other kids in school, you have the same rights to succeed. By law every school has a process [a set way] for you to talk to teachers and others about what you need. Sometimes this plan or process is called an Individual Education Plan [IEP], a 504 plan, or sometimes something else.

Step 1: Evaluate what you need

Sit down with your parents and decide what accommodations you need based on your disability. For example, extra time on tests, a note taker, or two sets of books. Only pick accommodations that are necessary for your disability. For example, I knew I didn’t need a program on my computer that read my book to me, so I didn’t ask for it. People with different disabilities need different things.

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