1999 IDEA Regulations Frequently Asked Questions

When do the final Part B regulations take effect?

The regulations take effect on May 11. However, full compliance with the regulations will not be required until the date the state receives fiscal year 1999 funding (which is expected to be available to states July 1, 1999) or Oct. 1, 1999, whichever date is earlier. Statutory provisions of the IDEA Amendments of 1997 are in effect and must be complied with throughout the 1998-99 school year.

Are the final regulations substantially different than the proposed regulations?

Yes. Over 6,000 individuals, public agencies and organizations submitted comments to the ED about the proposed Part B regulations, and the final regulations incorporate some of those comments. Most of the changes provide interpretation and guidance for changes made in the statute. The final regulations also eliminate all notes used in previous regulations for clarification or guidance--the substance of such notes has been added to the text of the regulations or incorporated into the technical assistance sections.

What impact will the IDEA regulations have on my state or local education agency guidelines and procedures?

States are now in various stages of developing guidelines or procedures that adhere to the federal statute and final IDEA Part B regulations. The ED will continue to provide specific and ongoing technical assistance training to states. School-based providers will need to follow state guidelines or procedures. However, if state requirements go beyond federal requirements, members may wish to seek clarification as to the benefit of those additional requirements.

What are some of the changes for IEPs?

A key change is the requirement for the IEP team to consider special factors in the development, review and revision of the IEP. Such factors include the communication needs of each child with a disability.

Who must be on the IEP team?

The IEP team must include at least one of the child's regular education teachers if the child is, or may be, participating in the regular education environment. The extent to which it would be appropriate for regular education teachers to participate in IEP meetings must be decided on a case-by-case basis. Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) or audiologists may qualify to participate on the team under several categories.

Will my paperwork increase?

The paperwork burden should be reduced in the area of evaluations and reevaluations. If, after reviewing existing data and information, the IEP team determines that additional data are not needed, they are not required to conduct an evaluation unless parents request it. The IEP does require that parents receive reports on the child's progress at least as often as parents of children without disabilities, but this does not require a lengthy report.

Can paraprofessionals and assistants provide services under IDEA?

Yes. Paraprofessionals and assistants are new categories of personnel under the new IDEA. The regulations state that they must be appropriately trained and supervised in accordance with state law, regulations or written policy to assist in the provision of special education and related services. The regulations do not provide specific guidance as to the requirements for their supervision, training and use. SLPs will need to check state law and policy regarding the appropriate use of paraprofessionals and assistants and refer to ASHA's guidelines on speech-language pathology assistants.

Can I expect better services for students?

The IDEA regulations do contain some important provisions that are intended to benefit children with disabilities. In the area of assistive technology, the regulations allow the child to bring home school-purchased assistive technology devices if the IEP team decides the child needs access to those devices in order to receive FAPE. The regulations also strengthen child find requirements, and increased emphasis on the general education curriculum should result in improved integration of IEP goals.

How will the new regulations benefit parents?

In addition to receiving regular reports on their children's progress, parents must have the opportunity to participate in meetings with respect to the identification, evaluation and educational placement of the child, and in the provision of FAPE to the child. Parents' concerns and the information they provide about their children must be considered in developing and reviewing their child's IEP.

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