Sample Letter to IEP Committee From Parent(s)
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Sample Letter to IEP Committee From Parent(s)

The following is an exceptionally well-researched and documented example of a parent letter to an IEP (or ARD) Committee. This letter was prepared by a parent and generously donated for use on this web site. All attempts have been made to ensure that the legal information contained in this letter is accurate as of the date of writing, April 1996; however, the information contained in this article should not take the place of a consultation with an attorney who specializes in educational disability law, especially in the event that parents fail to reach agreement with the IEP (or ARD) Committee.

This letter relies primarily on the Individuals with Disabilities Act ("IDEA"), a federal statute (and federal case law construing IDEA) that establishes certain requirements states must follow in order to receive federal funding under the act. Individual states also have their own statutory laws relating to the education of children who are disabled. Those state laws, however, must be in conformity with IDEA in order for the states to receive funding under IDEA. Your state law may provide protection above and beyond that provided by IDEA.  [email protected]

In addition, the author of this letter prepared supporting Documents 1-3. These documents, (which also have tremendous value outside of the IEP process) along with referenced papers are linked at the bottom of this page.

NOTE: Copies of the IEP/ARD Documents may be downloaded for personal, educational, or medical use without seeking permission. Any use in publications or by other organizations requires permission. To request permission please contact



 

[Date]

IEP Committee
[name of school]
[address]

Re: IEP of [name of student]

Dear Members of the IEP Committee:

I am writing this letter to set forth the concerns/issues that we, as [name of student] parents, would like addressed in [name of student] annual "individualized education program" or IEP.

 
[continue with some background information: the following paragraph is a sample]

[name of student] has been in a self-contained classroom for the majority of his course work since he entered middle school ([name of student] was also in a self-contained classroom for four years of elementary school; for further information, please see the document, attached hereto, I submitted as an Addendum to the two page document entitled "Information from Parents"). His teacher in that self-contained classroom is [name of teacher] and the instructional aide in the classroom is [name of aide]. Both [name of teacher] and [name of aide] have been very willing to educate themselves on autism and its ramifications in the school setting and have made many adaptations to allow [name of student] to succeed in school. However, [name of teacher] will be leaving [name of school] to accept a teaching position at another middle school in the [name of school district]. The fact that she will be unavailable as [name of student] teacher in a self-contained classoom next year, coupled with the fact that [he/she] has a difficult time adjusting to change, and the fact that we are planning for his last year in middle school, we, as his parents believe [name of student] should be mainstreamed in the 96-97 school year as provided under statutory law.
 

The Individuals with Disabilities Act ("IDEA") provides that states receiving funding under the act must ensure that children with disabilities are educated in the regular classroom with nondisabled children "to the maximum extent appropriate." 20 U.S.C. Section 1412(5)(B); see also, Oberti v. Bd. of Education, 995 F.2d 1204, 1206 (1993). Federal courts have construed IDEA’s mainstreaming requirements to prohibit schools from placing children with disabilities outside of the regular classroom if educating the child in the regular classroom, with supplementary aids and support services, can be achieved satisfactorily. See e.g., Oberti, 995 F.2d at 1207; Greer v. Rome City School Dist., 950 F.2d 688 (11th Cir. 1991), opinion withdrawn on other points of law, 956 F.2d 1025, reinstated in part 967 F.2d 470; Daniel RR v. State Bd. of Educ., 874 F.2d 1036, 1048 (5th Cir. 1989). "The Act [IDEA] requires states to provide supplementary aids and services and to modify the regular education program when they mainstream handicapped children." Daniel RR at 1048. The Fifth Circuit goes on to state that if the school makes no effort to take such accommodating steps, the inquiry ends, because the school is in violation of the Act’s express mandate to supplement and modify regular education. Id. "If the state is providing supplementary aids and services and is modifying its regular education program, we must examine whether its efforts are sufficient. The Act does not permit states to make mere tokens gestures to accommodate handicapped students; its requirements for modifying and supplementing regular education is broad." Id. Indeed, the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit states that "the school district must consider the whole range of supplemental aids and services, including resource rooms and itinerant instruction, for which it is obligated under the Act and the regulations promulgated thereunder to make provision." Greer, 950 F.2d at 696. "We emphasize here that the school district’s consideration of whether education in the regular classroom may be achieved satisfactorily with supplemental aids and services must occur prior to and during the development of the IEP." Id.


After reviewing federal law construing IDEA, I also believe the school district is required to notify parents (1) that mainstreaming of students with disabilities is required under IDEA, if such mainstreaming can be accomplished by modifying the regular education program and by providing supplementary aids and services, and (2) what supplementary aids and services and modifications it is required to provide under law. See, Greer, 950 F.2d at 698. [continue with your situation, outline any problems you have had with the school’s failure to meet the law; what follows is an example] I have never received such notification from the school.However, this letter is not about placing blame on the school for its failures in the past. This letter is meant to address the future and insure that all mainstreaming issues are adequately addressed. I am attaching several documents I would like the ARD Committee to complete and to include as part of [name of student] IEP. The first document, which is 10 pages long, is intended to:

  1. identify those behaviors that may be a personal challenge for a student with autism spectrum disorder;
  2. identify environmental challenges faced by a student with autism spectrum disorder that may lower an autistic’ student’s ability to function competently;
  3. identify possible sensory challenges and risk factors faced by an autistic student;
  4. identify potential social skills that may present a problem in an educational setting;
  5. identify [name of student] strengths and interests.

These forms were taken from the "Technical Assistance Manual on Autism for Kentucky Schools."
 

The second document I would like the committee to consider is entitled, "Specially Designed Instructions for Educators: IEP Modifications/Adaptations/Support Checklist." Again, I obtained the basic format for this document from the "Technical Assistance Manual on Autism for Kentucky Schools". However, this form has been revised to more accurately describe the modifications and adaptations necessary for a child who is on the higher functioning end of the autism spectrum. The changes are based on professional writings, most particularly the recent article by Karen Williams and a paper entitled "Tips for Teaching High Functioning People with Autism" by Susan Moreno and Carol O’Neal, both of which are attached hereto. The third is proposed goals for [name of student] for the next IEP period.
 

In addition to the above, we request the following for the 1996-97 school year:

[nos. 1 through 6 are examples]

  1. That [name of student] be mainstreamed into regular classes for every eighth grade class except math;
  2. That the school provide [name of student] with a one-on-one aide to assist him as necessary in the integrated classes;
  3. That education on autism be provided by the school district to the instructional aide as well as all regular instructors who teach [name of student];
  4. That all of [name of student] instructors be given a copy of the goals, modifications, special considerations, etc. prepared as part of this IEP;
  5. That both the instructional aide and [name of student] educators in the regular classroom be allowed to consult as necessary with the special education teacher and the District’s autism specialist;
  6. That a circle of friends be established in [name of student] [name of class] in conjunction and cooperation with the instructor of that course.

Thank you for considering our concerns and comments. We look forward to working with the school district to integrate [name of student] into regular classes and make the transition to high school easier and more understandable for [name of student]

Sincerely,



[your name and address]

Attachments



FOLLOW THESE LINKS TO DOCUMENTS MENTIONED IN SAMPLE LETTER

Document 1   Behaviors that May be personal Challenges for a Student with an Autism Spectrum Disorder
Document 2   Specially Designed Instructions for Educators-IEP Modification/Adaptions/Support/ Checklist
Document 3   IEP Goals
Understanding the Student with Asperger Syndrome: Guidelines for Teachers  Karen Williams
"Tips For Teaching High-Functioning People With Autism   Susan Moreno and Carol O’Neal


 




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