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Maine Unified Special Education Regulation Policy and Purpose The aim of this policy is to create a comprehensive network throughout the state of Maine that guarantees the enforcement of child find provisions, as mandated by federal legislation, for children and families aged from birth to twenty one years. The policy outlines the allocation of early intervention services to qualified kids from birth to under three years of age, as well as the provision of free and appropriate public schooling to qualified kids aged three to twenty who have disabilities (Maine, 2017). The Maine Department of Education has been selected as the State Educational Agency, tasked with fulfilling the state’s obligations under the federal IDEA. The policy places substantial importance on the conformity to the IDEA and all federal regulations by all entities, including intermediate educational units, school administrative units, public schools, as well as other public agencies that receive state or federal monetary for providing education services or early intervention to kids with disabilities. The policy incorporates the directives of the federal government and complements them with state-specific procedures and schedules to enhance the federal provisions. It is mandatory for all individuals who provide services to children with disabilities and receive funding to utilize the forms prescribed by the Department (Maine, 2017). The policy mentioned above ensures fair and impartial treatment in the provision of services. The provision of a wide range of services that are crucial for meeting the needs of qualified kids and their families for early intervention and free appropriate public education requires synchronization and coordination. In accordance with the policy, proficient personnel are required to provide authorized early intervention and special education programs in authorized schools and programs, which are subject to evaluation and approval by the Commissioner of the Maine Department of Education. General Education Interventions with Referral (a) Requirements for the general education process This policy mandates that all school administrative units (SAUs) in Maine must establish and execute general education interventions for kindergarten through grade 12 students who are not making satisfactory progress toward fulfilling the content standards of essential graduation as well as for instruction prerequisites. It is imperative that interventions are characterized by specificity, timeliness, and reliance on ongoing formative assessments to ensure continuous monitoring of student progress (Maine, 2017). The interventions ought to furnish diverse educational encounters or support to facilitate students’ attainment of the standard. The Department of Education will provide technical assistance and professional development to support the full implementation of the interventions by July 1, 2012. Before entering the general education intervention procedure, it is necessary to document appropriate instruction in writing, reading, as well as positive behavioral supports (Maine, 2017). The process entails a collaborative approach to decision-making, periodic screening, analysis of screening data, implementation of evidence-based interventions, ongoing assessments of student progress, and documentation of parental engagement and monitoring of progress. (b) The referral for evaluation process In the event that the general education interventions suggest that a student may necessitate special education and associated services in order to derive benefits from regular education, the kid is directed to the IEP Team for the purpose of ascertaining their eligibility for special education services (Maine, 2017). The referral procedure entails issuing a written notification to the parents in advance to apprise them of the referral . It is mandatory for every Intermediate Educational Unit (IEU) or SAU to formulate a documented protocol concerning the transfer of cases to the IEP Team, which must be executed promptly. The IEP Team conducts a thorough examination of the available assessment information and ascertains the necessity of conducting supplementary evaluations. In the event that supplementary assessments are deemed necessary, the IEU is required to dispatch a consent to evaluate form within a period of 15 days, while the SAU must furnish the same within a span of 15 school days subsequent to the receipt of the referral. The aforementioned policy affords parents the opportunity to solicit a comprehensive and personalized assessment to ascertain potential eligibility for special education services at any juncture during the intervention process within the general education framework (Maine, 2017). The provision stipulates that the employment of special education due process mechanisms is not applicable in addressing parental apprehensions regarding the execution of general education interventions. Additionally, the non-utilization of these interventions cannot be considered proof of a school’s inability to fulfill its child find or referral responsibilities. The policy delineates the requisite qualifications of evaluators, mandating that they satisfy the professional qualifications of the evaluation or assessment publisher and possess the necessary training as per the publisher’s guidelines. Evaluation (a) Provision for parental consent and what happens in absence of consent As per the federal guidelines specified in 34 CFR 300.300(a)(4), obtaining parental consent is mandatory before conducting the first assessment to determine a child’s eligibility as a child with a disability (Maine, 2017). Prior to conducting the evaluation, the SAU must acquire informed consent from the legal guardian or parents. It is important to note that obtaining parental consent for the initial assessment does not necessarily imply consent for the provision or placement of specialized educational and associated services. When parental consent is not obtained for the initial evaluation, the SAU follows the guidelines provided in 34 CFR 300.300(a)(3)(i) and (iii) (Maine, 2017). ü In the event that parental consent is not provided or remains unresponsive to a request for consent, the SAU reserves the right to abstain from proceeding with the primary assessment. The present scenario indicates that the SAU is not in breach of its responsibility per regulations 34 CFR 300.111 and 300.301 through 300.311 (Maine, 2017). ü In the event that a parent exhibits a pattern of noncompliance or unwillingness to facilitate the kid’s participation in the assessment procedure, the SAU reserves the right to abstain from conducting the evaluation. Once more, it can be observed that in this particular situation, the SAU does not contravene its responsibilities as stipulated by the pertinent regulations. However, it is noteworthy that in the event of a child’s enrollment in a school that is served by the SAU subsequent to the commencement of the evaluation timeframe but prior to a decision being made by the kid’s previous SAU, the succeeding SAU is obligated to make significant headway to guarantee a timely conclusion of the evaluation (Maine, 2017). It is imperative that the parent and the corresponding SAU come to a mutual agreement regarding a definite timeline for the completion of the evaluation. (b) Requirements for evaluation data sources and process The requirements provided in 34 CFR 300.304 must be followed throughout the assessment process. The SAU must use a variety of valuation techniques to acquire pertinent developmental, functional, and academic data. These tests must be given and administered in the kid’s original language or another communication method that produces accurate results without engaging in racial or cultural discrimination (Maine, 2017). The SAU is responsible for ensuring the validity, dependability, and administration of assessments and evaluation tools by qualified and experienced staff. Instead of relying exclusively on a single GIQ score, the evaluation should incorporate examinations relevant to areas of educational need. Additionally, evaluations should fairly represent the child’s aptitude or level of success rather than focusing only on any speech, physical, or sensory impairments. Health, communication status, hearing, eyesight, social and emotional status, academic achievement, general intelligence, and motor skills should all be evaluated together with the child’s probable disabilities (Maine, 2017). Regardless of the classification the kid has received, it must be thorough enough to identify all of their special education and associated services requirements. (c) Parental option for independent evaluation The parental choices for independent review are not specifically addressed by the federal rules. In contrast, if parents disagree with the SAU’s assessment, they have the right to pay for an IEE. 34 CFR 300.502 outlines this privilege (Maine, 2017). If a parent asks for an IEE, the SAU must notify them of how to acquire one and choose an evaluator. In order to demonstrate that its assessment is appropriate, the SAU may also request a due process hearing. The parent still has the right to an IEE, but not at the fee of the SAU if the hearing officer finds the SAU’s assessment reasonable. Eligibility Criteria and Procedures (a) Name, Definition, and Procedures for Determination of Each Area of Disability: Autism Autism is a developmental condition characterized by impaired social interaction and communication that is usually apparent by the age of three and has a negative impact on academic achievement (Maine, 2017). Procedure for Determination v Inadequate response should be shown by data from general education programs. v In order to arrive at a diagnosis, a trained professional should examine the patient and apply the relevant DSM-V codes for pervasive developmental disorders. Deaf-Blindness Kids with deaf-blindness have complex communication and other developmental and educational requirements that cannot be met by services designed for children with either blindness or deafness alone. Procedure for Determination ü Deaf-blindness is a distinct disability class. ü Eligibility is determined via a multidisciplinary process that includes medical and audiological testing (Maine, 2017). Deafness For a kid to be considered deaf, their hearing loss must be profound enough that it interferes with their ability to understand spoken language, even with the use of an amplifying device. Procedure for Determination o A diagnosis is made when an audiologist and doctor examine the patient. o Specialists in deaf education do further evaluations to gauge the impact on learning and communication (Maine, 2017). Developmental Delay Children ages 3 to 5 with severe delays in one or more areas of development are considered to have developmental delay and are eligible for special education and associated services. Procedure for Determination § Physical, mental, linguistic, emotional, social, and adaptive growth are all evaluated through standardized tests. § For significant lags to occur, scores must be at least 1.5 standard deviations below the mean in two domains, or 2 standard deviations below the mean in one area (Maine, 2017). § Certified special education staff observe the kid in a suitable setting to evaluate his or her academic and behavioral progress. Emotional Disturbance The inability to learn, keep friends, show appropriate emotions or behaviors, feel sad or depressed, or develop somatic symptoms from stress related to social or academic issues are all symptoms of emotional disturbance (Maine, 2017). Procedure for Determination · Inadequate response should be shown by data from general education programs. · Professional diagnostic impressions based on DSM codes are used in the evaluations performed by trained individuals (Maine, 2017). Hearing Impairment The term “hearing impairment” is used to describe a kid whose academic performance is negatively impacted by a hearing impairment of any kind (permanent or temporary) but who does not match the requirements for deafness. Procedure for Determination ü Eligibility is determined via a multidisciplinary process that includes medical and audiologist assessments. ü The impact of the disability on the child’s academic achievement is evaluated by the IEP Team. Intellectual Disability When a kid has intellectual impairment, their overall intellectual functioning is below average, and they also have trouble with adaptive behaviors, both of which have a negative impact on how well they do in school (Maine, 2017). Procedure for Determination ü Diagnostic impressions are based on evaluations completed by professionals qualified to make a diagnosis using DSM codes (Maine, 2017). ü The impact of the disability on the child’s academic achievement is evaluated by the IEP Team. Multiple Disabilities Concomitant impairments are present when there are many disabilities, and when they do, it creates significant educational demands that cannot be met by programs that are just intended for one handicap (Maine, 2017). T he youngsters that fall within this group are not deaf-blind. [34 CFR 300.8(c)(7)] Determination Procedure ü To identify the existence of multiple impairments, a multidisciplinary team must conduct a thorough examination. ü Professionals with knowledge in the problem areas should perform evaluations and observations for the evaluation (Maine, 2017). ü The examination should include the specific impairments that are present and how they affect the child’s academic performance. ü The kid may be labeled as having multiple disabilities if the examination determines that the child has concurrent impairments that result in significant educational requirements and cannot be satisfactorily met in programs only created for one disability. ü Identification of a disability and the need for special education services are the general requirements for eligibility for special education services (Maine, 2017). ü The adverse effect technique is a method for determining if a child’s impairment has a negative impact on their academic achievement. Identification of a Disability A child with a disability is a person who: v Is at least three years old. v Neither has a standard high school certificate nor is 20 years old or older at the begining of the academic year after completing a secondary school program. v Has been seen in a classroom or learning environment (Maine, 2017). v Whose impairment necessitates special schooling and supporting assistance after evaluation. Need for Special Education Services To qualify for special education, a kid must show a need for it. When a child’s impairment prevents them from making adequate progress in or benefiting from a normal education program despite other services being offered, a need for such assistance is established (Maine, 2017). The best way to prove a need for special education is to show that there is a quantifiable and ongoing gap in the kid’s academic or functional performance that cannot be filled by general education programs or accommodations. To ascertain if a child’s impairment negatively impacts their academic achievement, the adverse effect technique is utilized. The following stages are involved in this process: Data from general education interventions To gauge the child’s reaction to general education initiatives, data from treatments utilizing research-based methodologies are gathered as necessary. Further assessment is necessary if the answer is insufficient (Maine, 2017). Diagnostic impressions A competent practitioner who is skilled to form a diagnostic impression in accordance with the prescribed diagnostic criteria (for example, DSM codes) conducts the examination. This assessment is particular to the impairment under consideration.