ASK Resource Center - Information Sheets - Printable PDFs

Below you will find our Information Sheets on our most requested topic areas. Each document can be printed from our high-quality PDFs for your reference. 

Checklists for IEP teams - Discussions and Decisions

These checklists were developed during the COVID-19 pandemic to assist teams planning for unique learning environments, however many of the questions will be useful for IEP teams in other situations. The first set of questions is written with the family perspective and the second list offers questions with the perspective of educators and related service professionals.

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Medical and Educational Models - Why and how they are different

It is helpful to understand that sometimes the difference between medical and educational recommendations for the same student is due to different standards and obligations, not because of wrong data or bad intent. The medical recommendations that are made by doctors and therapists are always going to aim for the maximum growth, but could be limited by insurance approval. The school IEP team is not obligated to provide services that will maximize a student's potential but instead must provide students with disabilities with a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE).

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Performance Domains - Areas to consider for Special Education evaluations

Both the initial evaluation and reevaluation include testing and observations requiring parent consent. The student should be evaluated in all areas - referred to as performance domains - related to the disability or area of concern. Performance domains are the skill areas in which a student can be evaluated; they provide a framework for consideration of the individual's instructional needs. The seven performance domains are: academic, behavior, physical, health, hearing/vision, adaptive, and communication.

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Prior Written Notice

A Prior Written Notice (PWN) is a written explanation of a change the school district or AEA wants to make or refuses to make in a child's Individualized Educational Program (IEP). It is important that parents understand what the school plans to do (or not do) for their child. A PWN must give parents the information they need to actively participate in making decisions about their child's educational program and services.

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Sample Letter Requesting Prior Written Notice

This is an example letter for parents requesting written notice. The most important parts of the letter will be the blanks filled in with details from the parents! Parents are welcome to use part or all of the sample letter.

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Progress Monitoring

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires that schools monitor progress and provide regular progress reports to parents of students with IEPs.

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Least Restrictive Environment

One of the components of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is the expectation that student with IEP's should be educated alongside their non-disabled peers (in the General Education classroom) as much as it is appropriate, which is referred to as the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) for that student.

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Reevaluation

When a child has an IEP, the federal law requires IEP teams to consider reevaluating the student at least every 3 years. Parents can also request that their child be reevaluated up to once per year. This is most often helpful when there are new issues coming up at school related to the disability or the child has received a new diagnosis that may impact him or her at school.

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ASK Resource Center - Authorization to Release Information

This form allows authorization for the individuals, agencies, or organizations listed on it to release, exchange and discuss confidential information regarding my child with ASK Resource Center including verbal and/or written exchange of information, access to educational records and access to the following records (list any educational, healthcare, or other records requested). This release is valid for a period of one year, unless withdrawn or superseded in writing prior to that time.

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Independent Educational Evaluations

In Iowa, evaluations for special education eligibility are usually done by Area Education Agency personnel, together with the educators at your child's school. However, parents have the right to other options if they believe the information described in the Educational Evaluation Report (EER) is incorrect or incomplete.

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Conflict Resolution Options in Special Education

Learn the ways to formally address and resolve disputes related to Special Education services and supports.

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Special Education Dispute Resolution Options

We still disagree-What is the next step? After a parent receives a Prior Written Notice (PWN) about a proposed change or refused action and continue to disagree with the school, they have choices for how to resolve those differences. The Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA) outlines three resolution options, they are: State Mediation, Due Process and State Complaint. The table below explains the basics of each Special Education resolution

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Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE)

All school-age children with disabilities who are eligible for a 504 or an Individualized Education Program (IEP) are entitled to a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). FAPE requires students with disabilities receive the services they need to benefit from their education.

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Six Principles of IDEA

There are six basic principles of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) that help to outline the expectations of the law. Here is a brief overview and introductory information for families who are new to the Special Education process.

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Legal Resources in Iowa

ASK Resource Center maintains a list of private attorneys and statewide programs that may be able to assist or represent individuals with disabilities in issues related to disability law and Special Education Mediation, as well as establishing competency, guardianship, and special needs trusts.

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Manifestation Determinations

Special considerations may be necessary for students with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or 504 Plan in order for the student to have access to making academic progress when behavior has been a concern at school.

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Care Notebooks - Important Information from Families

A Care Notebook is an organization tool for families who have children with disabilities or special health care needs. The notebook is used to keep track of important information about a child's healthcare. Some programs provide families with notebooks, some families purchase Care Notebook software, and some create their own. For these reasons ASK decided to focus on the parts of a Care Notebook rather than one specific product.

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Sample Letter Requesting an Evaluation for Special Education Eligibility

In Iowa, the initial evaluation process to determine eligibility for special education services begins with the suspicion of a disability and/or per parent request. If a disability is suspected, a team of educators will seek informed parent consent and begin planning the full and individual Initial Evaluation. During this comprehensive evaluation, the team gathers and documents data about a student's progress and needs. The team also looks at how the student's levels of performance and progress compare to those of classmates or same aged peers. At the end of the initial evaluation, the evaluation team will meet with the parent(s)to review the information gathered during evaluation and determine if a student is eligible for special education.

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Sample Letter Requesting a Re-Evaluation

In order to ensure students continue to be eligible to receive special education services and that their unique educational needs are being appropriately met, IDEA requires that re-evaluations of at a least every three years. The reevaluation process includes the review of existing information and if necessary, or requested, the collection of additional information.

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Sample Letter - Requesting an IEP Meeting During a School Closure

This letter is designed to be used during a school closure but could be changed to meet other situations when a family would like an IEP meeting. The details of a student's situation should be added to the sample letter before sending to a Special Education Teacher, Principal, Special Education Director or Superintendent. Remember to keep a copy for yourself, including the date it was sent.

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School Lunch and Special Dietary Needs

The National School Lunch Program is a federally assisted meal program operating in over 100,000 public and nonprofit private schools and residential child care institutions. Schools participating in the National School Lunch Program, which includes breakfasts and after school snacks in some cases, are required by law to make accommodations for children who are unable to eat the standard prepared meals because of a disability or health issue.

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Life After High School

We have all thought about what we want to do when we "grow up." For most teenagers, high school is a time when they have to move from thinking and dreaming to planning and working toward real goals. All students face the big transition from high school to the "real world," and students with disabilities may face that transition with even more factors to consider. Preparing how to meet those special needs is the purpose of transition planning for students with IEPs

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The ABC's of Challenging Behavior

Behavior problems involve any challenging behavior that lasts over time and is working for the child, meaning bringing the results he or she wants. This takes the form of a child not doing what is wanted, or doing something that isn't wanted by adults. Before we can address a challenging behavior, we need to be able to identify and define the problem clearly.

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Sample Letter Requesting a 504

Under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act an individual with a disability is defined as a person who: 1)has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity; 2)has a record of such an impairment or 3)is regarded as having such an impairment. In schools, Section 504 takes shape in the form of a plan for how a school will support a student with a disability and remove barriers to learning. The goal of a 504 plan is to give the student equal access at school and school activities.

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Parent Guide to Educational Advocacy

Advocacy comes in many forms, ranging from friendly, gentle persuasion to aggressive, in your face confrontation. The form or style that is most effective often depends on the type of advocacy you are pursuing. When it comes to parent advocacy in education, there are extremely important considerations: the long-term working relationship between you, as a parent, and the educators who have a continuing role in your child's educational development, and how that relationship may affect your child's educational environment.

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Iowa's Anti Bullying Law

Bullying and harassment is not only harmful to the social and emotional development of children, it gets in the way of learning. Ensuring the physical safety and emotional security of children in school is a critical concern shared by parents and educators. Recognizing that concern, in 2007 the Iowa Legislature passed a state law to help prevent and address bullying in schools.

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IEP Process during Covid-19

Important facts for families and IEP teams during the health crisis.

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Stay Put Provision

Parents of a child receiving special education services have important procedural safeguards and legal rights. One of these rights is the "stay put" provision of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). After receiving the Prior Written Notice (PWN), if a parent disagrees with and formally disputes a proposed change (or refusal) to their child's placement, the "stay put" provision allows the student to do just that-"stay put" in the current IEP placement.

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