Saturday, November 3, 2012

Identifying Students with Specific Learning Disabilities

Identifying Students with Specific Learning Disabilities 

We are now two months into our Identifying Students with SLD model at our elementary schools.  There are a number of new initial LD referrals which are going on right now.  Here is a reminder about the rule changes and IEP team member roles at the IEP meetings.  We will be adopting this model at MAMS and MASH starting in September 2013.  There will be planning meetings coming up to help with implementation at MAMS and MASH.

Rule Changes
Wisconsin’s rule for identifying students with specific learning disabilities (SLD) has changed.  No later than December 1, 2013, all initial SLD evaluations of public school students will use information from interventions to make eligibility decisions.  We have implemented this model at MAES and SES and will implement at MAMS/MASH iWe are now using information from a student's response to intensive, scientific research based or evidence based interventions when making special education eligibility decisions.

Primary Rule Changes
  • Inadequate Classroom Achievement: Student does not achieve adequately for his/her age/grade level after intensive intervention in any of the following area: basic reading skills, reading comprehension, reading fluency, oral expression, written expression, math calculation, or math reasoning. Student must perform at least 1.25 standard deviations below the mean on a standardized test.
  • Insufficent Progress: Student display an insufficient response to intensive scientific, research-based or evidence based interventions.  Students must be given interventions related to their area of suspected disability. For example - if there is a concern with a student's basic reading skills then they could receive Wilson Reading and Reading Assistant. 
  • Progress Monitoring: Students must be progress monitored at least weekly for a standard period of time (at least 8 weeks). 
  • Interventions: Students must be administered at least two intensive scientific, research or evidence based interventions implemented with adequate fidelity. 
  • Data: IEP Teams must include data from systematic observations and data documenting if the rate of progress was (1) the same or less than same age peers; (2) greater than same age peers, but will not result in the student reaching the average range of same age peer's achievement for that area of potential disability in a reasonable period of time; or (3) greater than same age peers but the intensity of resources necessary to obtain this rate of progress cannot be maintained in general education. 
  • Amount of Time: Students must receive more instructional time with the intervention than their same age peers are receiving. (For example: each student receives 45 minutes of reading instruction - then the interventions must be in addition to those 45 minutes).
  • IEP Teams: IEP Team must have IEP Team members who implemented the interventions, data analyst, regular education teacher, special education teacher, LEA designee, any related service providers, parents, building principal, and other members with an educational interest.
  • Interventionist: Paraprofessionals can administer the interventions, but they must be under the supervision of an certified teacher.  Certified teachers who can administer the intervention must have a regular education or reading teacher license.
New IEP Team Roles at Elementary IEP meetings - for Initial Specific Learning Disabilities
With the adoption of the new Identification of Specific Learning Disabilities laws at MAES and SES, there are new IEP team member roles which need to be present at every IEP team meeting. Staff members can hold more than one role at each IEP meeting. These new IEP team roles should be listed as such on the IEP paperwork. 

Data Analyst - This will be our school psychologist (Boettcher), but teacher(s) could also be trained to understand this role and responsibilities.

Interventionist - This has to be a licensed staff member - so it could be a Title I teacher (Fliehs, Fechhelm, Wildberg), or dual licensed (regular and special education) teacher (Hemke, Brandner, Schumacher). If an assistant is doing the intervention (Hemmer, Shaw, Duellman), then a cooperating teacher (Title I teacher) needs to be assigned to oversee them.  

Diagnostician - This role will be assigned to the special education teacher (Galli, Schumacher, Daniels, Gomez, Williams, Fettes), but could also be our school psychologist (Boettcher)

What are the responsibilities for these roles: 

Data Analyst
 - "at least one licensed person who is qualified to assess data on individual rate of progress using a psychometrically valid and reliable methodology. Psychometrically valid and reliable methodology relies on all data sources and analyzes progress monitoring data that exhibit adequate statistical accuracy for the purpose of identification of insufficient progress as compared to a national sample of same-age peers."

Interventionist - "at least one licensed person who has implemented scientific, research-based or evidence based, intensive interventions with the referred pupil." 

Diagnostician - "at least one licensed person who is qualified to conduct individual diagnostic evaluations." 

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