The purpose of this essay is to provide a realistic and comprehensive analysis of “Case Study: Bryanna” applying the 10-step Special Education Process as dictated by federal IDEA regulations when determining a child’s eligibility for special education services. This case study was included in part two of a three-part response to a directive issued by the U.S. Department of Education by the National Center for Research on Learning Disabilities(NCRLD) in which they were to “identify, describe, and evaluate the implementation of responsiveness to intervention (RTI)” at the elementary level in the United States that was multi-tiered(RTI Manual, 2006). Part two of NCRLD’s response is a collection of case studies that reflect data collected from actual students who had received early reading and math interventions and the response to those interventions with respect to their unique circumstances and characteristics. In this 2005-2006 case study, Bryanna; an 8-year-old Caucasian female in 3rd grade, was enrolled in general education classes alongside 16 fellow students. In accordance with steps one and two of the 10-step process outlined by IDEA on; once identified, students believed to be in need of special education services, were to be evaluated. On their website, The Center for Parent Information(CPIR) simplifies this process in a brief titled “10 Basic Steps in Special Education.” This brief describes the evaluation process as a critical step that should take place early as it “assesses a child in all areas related to the (their) suspected disability” and that is utilized in determining three key areas as summarized below: Whether a child has a learning disability that requires provisions by law What the child’s specific needs are in relation to the disability/diagnosis Which services are available to best meet the child’s needs within their educational environment(CPIR, 2017).
The outcome of the evaluation is then used by educators to determine a child’s eligibility and services required for special education. In Bryanna’s case, after being screened, she began early interventions reading that began in the second grade and continued through the third and began early interventions in math after being screened in third grade. In the 2005-2006 academic year, Tier 1 accommodations were introduced as part of her general education class that included reading instruction five days a week, for a period of 90-minutes. She was also placed in a split reading group with 6 other students. As a part of the screening process, she completed DI-BELS assessments in both August and December of 2005. Per the Free Dictionary, DIBELS is the acronym for Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills. Per the University of Oregon’s website, DIBELS serve to gauge student progress relative to standard targeted goals often referred to as benchmarks.
Bryanna was tested on both her Oral Reading Fluency (ORF) which assessed the number of correct words read in one minute from selected passages, as well as her Retell Fluency (RTF) which assessed the comprehension level of the ORF passages previously tested. Specific results related to assessment results can be found in tables 5.2, 5.3 and 5.4 of the case study file. Tier 2 Interventions introduced in second grade that continued through third grade included 60-minutes of “reading mastery and phonemic sequencings” five days a week. Additionally, Bryanna received 50-minutes of tutoring two days a week and remained in a split reading group. At the time of the study, Bryanna had not been retained in previous grades and there were no indicators of behavioral problems reported. She was, however, referred for special education evaluation after her response to interventions at Tier 1 and 2 did not yield results that were favorable. This is step 3 of the IDEA process. Although the case study initially revealed that the results of Bryanna’s evaluation did not qualify her for special education services as designated for a Specific Learning Disability(SLD) or Learning Disability(LD) by law and results revealed no evidence of discrepancies, a closer look at assessment scores qualified her for speech-language interventions at Tier 3, making her eligible for special education services. This is step 4 of the 10-step process.
School personnel had successfully completed the requirements in step 5(part 1 of the IEP process) which involved notifying the parents of the meeting’s purpose, time, location and who would be in attendance, as well as ensuring that adequate time was allotted for parents to make reasonable arrangements to attend the initial IEP meeting. Parents would have also received advance notice that they could invite key stakeholders representing the best interest of the child being placed. At the conclusion of this case study, school administrators were awaiting parental consent as required by law in step 6 of the 10-step process after having met to discuss Bryanna’s needs and writing an IEP. Without parental consent, Bryanna would not receive the special education services for which she was eligible.
Once consent is given, school personnel would progress to step 7 of the 10-step process. In this step, school personnel, teachers, parents, and other service providers would receive a copy of Bryanna’s IEP, as well as any related responsibilities that were paramount to the effectively executing the IEP. The IEP would include any classroom modifications and accommodations in addition to any supports made available to her and will measure goals that can be reasonably accomplished within an academic year. Next, step 8 of the 10-step IDEA process would chart Bryanna’s progress towards her goals as identified in her IEP and would ensure that her parents received regular updates on her progress via progress reports. These progress reports would additionally indicate whether Bryanna was on target to successfully meet the realistic goals as outlined within the designated timeframe. Although an annual review of a child’s IEP is required at minimum, parents can request more review of these goals more frequently. The annual review process is Step 9 of the 10-step process. In the review process, revisions are made as necessary and parents are invited to attend this meeting as they are considered part of the IEP team in conjunction with school personnel. Parents are invited to offer changes to be considered and can again, decide to disagree with the IEP and or student placement. In this case, parents are afforded the same opportunities available to them outlined in step 6 of the 10 steps found on CPIR’s website(CPIR, 2017).
Parents are free to raise any concerns as the team attempts to reach an agreement including but not limited to independent evaluation, request for medication to be administered, additional testing of their child, or a due process hearing. The final step in the 10-step process is the process of re-evaluation. This step in the process is required every three years unless it is determined unnecessary by both the school and parents. If learning goals have been met successfully, reevaluating the child to determine their continued classification and need for services is not required. In the event that continued services need to be considered, parental consent is again required for the reevaluation process. Following the 10-steps in the federally mandated IDEA process as outlined would provide Bryanna with the support and assistance necessary to successfully to meet the learning objectives as outlined in the Tier 3 accommodations and her IEP and her speech and language and effectively address the deficiencies previously identified.