Special Education Services in
Queen Anne’s County Public Schools
Click here to download a copy A written copy is also available upon request by contacting the Office of Special Education at 410-758-2403, ext. 131.
Education in the Least Restrictive Environment
The IDEA regulations (34 CFR 300) require that children eligible for special education and related services be provided a free appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment (LRE). The provisions at 34 CFR 300.550(b) require each public agency to ensure:
(1) That to the maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities, including children in public or private institutions or other care facilities, are educated with children who are nondisabled [emphasis added]; and
(2) That special classes, separate schooling or other removal of children with disabilities from the regular educational environment occurs only if the nature or severity of the disability is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily [emphasis added].
Section 300.551(a) requires each public agency to ensure “that a continuum of alternative placements is available to meet the needs of children with disabilities for special education and related services.” Section 300.551(b) states that “the continuum required in paragraph (a) of this section must –
(1) Include the alternative placements listed in the definition of special education under §300.26 (instruction in regular classes, special classes, special schools, home instruction, and instruction in hospitals and institutions); and
(2) Make provision for supplementary services (such as resource room or itinerant instruction) to be provided in conjunction with regular class placement.”
Section 300.552 requires that when determining educational placement, each public agency must ensure:
(a) The placement decision—
(1) Is made by a group of persons, including the parents, and other persons knowledgeable about the child, the meaning of the evaluation data, and the placement options; and
(2) Is made in conformity with the LRE provisions of this subpart, including §§300.550 – 300.554;
(b) The child’s placement—
(1) Is determined at least annually;
(2) Is based on the child’s IEP [Individualized Education Program]; and
(3) Is as close as possible to the child’s home [emphasis added];
(c) Unless the IEP of a child with a disability requires some other arrangement, the child is educated in the school that he or she would attend if not disabled [emphasis added];
(d) In selecting the LRE, consideration is given to any potential harmful effect on the child or on the quality of services that he or she needs; and
(e) A child with a disability is not removed from education in age-appropriate regular classrooms solely because of needed modifications in the general curriculum [emphasis added].
Finally, with regard to a child’s IEP, 34 CFR 300.347 requires:
(a) General. The IEP for each child with a disability must include—
(1) A statement of the child’s present levels of performance, including—
(i) How the child’s disability affects the child’s involvement and progress in the general curriculum (i.e., the same curriculum as nondisabled children) [emphasis added]; or
(ii) For preschool children, as appropriate, how the disability affects the child’s participation in appropriate activities;
(2) A statement of measurable annual goals, including benchmarks or short-term objectives, related to—
(i) Meeting the child’s needs that result from the child’s disability to enable the child to be involved in and progress in the general curriculum…or for preschool children, as appropriate, to participate in appropriate activities [emphasis added]…
(3) A statement of the special education and related services and supplementary aids and services to be provided to the child, or on behalf of the child and a statement of the program modifications or supports for school personnel that will be provided for the child—
(i) To advance appropriately toward attaining annual goals;
(ii) To be involved in and progress in the general curriculum in accordance with paragraph (a)(1) of this section and to participate in extracurricular and other nonacademic activities [emphasis added]; and
(iii)To be educated and participate with other children with disabilities and nondisabled children in the activities described in this section [emphasis added];
(4) An explanation of the extent, if any, to which the child will not participate with nondisabled children in the regular class and in the activities described in paragraph (a)(3) of this section.
Continuum of Services
Below is a description of each service available within Queen Anne’s County Public Schools
Infants and Toddlers
The Queen Anne’s County Infants and Toddlers Program, an interagency program among QACPS, Queen Anne’s County Office of Health, and Queen Anne’s County Department of Social Services is a 12-month program that provides services to children birth to 36-months of age. The students have, or may have, developmental disabilities, delays, or special health needs. Staff from QAC Infants and Toddlers meet with and assess every child referred to the program. For each eligible child, an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP) is developed to define the services to be provided to meet the needs of the child and the family.
Many children receive multiple services including special instruction, related therapies, and health services. A service coordinator is responsible for supporting the family and ensuring that services are provided as they are defined on the IFSP.
As of February 1, 2010, QACPS began implementing Maryland’s Extended IFSP Option. This option allows families of children, who have received Infants and Toddlers services and are eligible for preschool special education services, the choice to continue to receive services through an IFSP or to begin receiving services through an IEP. If the family chooses to continue services on an IFSP, the family may choose to continue to receive those services until the child turns four, providing that the child remains eligible.
Child Find services maintain a system for locating, assessing, and identifying children from age three through age 21 who may have a suspected disability and may need special education and related services.
Referrals for Child Find services for are taken by a special education teacher specialist and forwarded to the student’s home school, which is responsible for following the IEP process.
Students with IEPs in need of a special education PreK are those students who demonstrate significant delays that impact their ability to learn in the areas of cognition, communication, social/emotional, motor, and adaptive skills. Students may become eligible for these services after their third birthday. Services offered may include: a highly structured learning environment, use of developmentally appropriate practices, specialized instruction as identified by a student’s IEP team, and related services.
Students requiring these services have varied disabilities and multiple needs that can be met in the general education setting with support and related services. Services offered in the student’s home school may include:
· Consultation or indirect support - provides the general educator appropriate strategies for instruction, behavior management, data collection, observation and feedback in the general education setting.
· Direct service within the general education classroom - provides support for students through team teaching, co-teaching, individualized / small group instruction, the provision of adaptation or modifications to the general education curriculum and assessments
Students requiring these services have academic and/or emotional needs that significantly impact on their ability to learn in the general education environment. Services offered in the student’s home school may include:
Direct service outside of the general education classroom - provides supports for students through the use intensive or multisensory instruction, specialized strategies and techniques in a small group, pullout (self-contained) environment. When indicated on the IEP an alternative curriculum, more specific skill training, or behavioral interventions are utilized.
Program for Emotional & Academic Learning Support (PEALS)
Students requiring these services are those whose significant emotional/behavioral disabilities adversely impact their ability to be successful in the general education setting in school. Students requiring these services usually have normal intelligence but may not be achieving academically due emotional and behavioral difficulties. Services offered may include: a structured learning environment, behavior management system, implementation of behavior intervention plans, social skills instruction, counseling, conflict resolution, and availability of crisis intervention.
Program for children with
Autism and Related Communication
Students with IEPs in of these services are those whose complex communication, learning and social interaction needs result from being diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder or other related communication disorder. Students requiring these services typically have significant delays in the areas of cognition, communication, social/emotional, and adaptive behavior. Services offered may include: a highly structured learning environment, use of visually based strategies, emphasis on the development of language and social skills, use of sensory processing techniques, and the development of individualized behavioral strategies.
Learning for Life
Students with IEPs in of these services are those who demonstrate significant delays in measured intelligence, adaptive functioning, communication, and academic functioning. The program builds on the student’s Alternate Maryland School Assessment (Alt-MSA) outcomes. Services offered may include: instruction in a self-contained, resource, or general education environment, as indicated on the IEP; applications of learning to current and future real-life situations; experiences in work, and transition activities.
Related Services and Support Staff
Decisions on whether students need additional support services are made by IEP teams based on the services needed to implement IEPs in the LRE. Below is a description of each related service available within Queen Anne’s County Public Schools.
Audiology services consist of complete hearing screenings and assessments. Audiology services also include the recommendation, distribution, and monitoring of Assistive Listening Devices (ALD), such as FM systems and sound field systems for the classrooms. As a member of the IEP team, an audiologist may also recommend acoustical modifications and accommodations within the classroom. Support services are provided to students, staff, and parents regarding hearing loss, hearing status, and equipment.
Interpreting/transliterating services are provided for students and parents who are deaf and hard of hearing. Interpreting/transliterating services for students include sign language interpreters, oral interpreters, and cued speech transliterators, based on an IEP team recommendation. Interpreting services are provided to students during the instructional day, for extra-curricular activities, as well as for parents and teachers who are deaf and hard of hearing at education-related activities and events.
Job Coach Services
Job coach services are provided to students that need support in employment situations, and are a part of transition services. Job coach interventions provide one-on-one or small group support and training to students and business staff. The increased supervision assists the student in developing appropriate work behavior and interpersonal communication skills.
The goal of occupational therapy services is to enable students with disabilities to be functional participants in their educational environment. Occupational therapy services are provided directly and/or indirectly (through consultation) to students as indicated in their IEP. Occupational therapy services include: (1) Identification, referral, assessment, intervention, and consultation; (2) Adaptation of the environment, and selection, design, and fabrication of assistive and orthotic devices and other technology to facilitate development and promote the acquisition of functional skills; and (3) Preventing or minimizing the impact of initial or future impairment, delay in development, or loss of functional ability as it relates to educational goals.
The goal of physical therapy service is to enable students with disabilities to achieve functional independence in the school environment. Physical therapy services are provided directly and/or indirectly (through consultation) to students as indicated in their IEP. Physical therapy addresses the ability to move parts of the body, to assume and maintain postures, and organize movement into functional gross motor skills. Physical therapists work with students to build strength and endurance for functional mobility (e.g., climbing stairs, opening doors, moving about the school, carrying materials, accessing the playground, participating in field trips).
Speech Language Services
The purpose of the speech and language program is to provide service to students who have significant communication problems that affect their ability to access the curriculum. Speech language pathologists (SLPs) are assigned to all schools in the county based upon individual student needs. Speech language pathologists use a continuum of service delivery models including consultation, individual, small group, and classroom collaboration as determined by the students’ IEPs.
Transition services are designed to assist students with disabilities to move from public school into post-school activities such as training, college, employment, independent living. During transition planning, the team identifies the need for transition goals in the areas of employment, social/emotional, daily living/health, recreation/leisure, community access, mobility, and communication. Transition services must be addressed in the student’s IEP when a student reaches 14 years of age. The transition facilitator assists the team in determining appropriate transition services and providing information for anticipated services and support services beyond the school system. The student must also be involved in the decision making process.
School Psychology Services
School psychologists provide 12-month consultation, observation, assessment, and interventions services to support student achievement in the prevention and/or remediation of educational, emotional, or behavioral problems. Comprehensive school psychological services are comprised of diverse activities in concert with the activities of teachers, administrators, school counselors, and other school staff. These activities complement each other and are most accurately viewed as being coordinated rather than as separate services. As members of the IEP Team, school psychologists: 1) provide consultation to school staff and parents on issues involving psychological principles related to curriculum development, learning, and student development; 2) conduct Functional Behavioral Assessments and develop Behavior Intervention Plans for behaviors significantly interfering with learning; 3) review/conduct psychological assessments of cognitive, behavioral, social/emotional, adaptive and academic functioning; 4) determine educational disabilities, write IEP goals/objectives, and develop IEPs; 5) provide counseling and evidence-based interventions on a consultative, individual, or group basis with students to support attainment of academic goals/objectives; and 6) provide staff development to improve learning and behavior within inclusive school environments.
School Social Work Services
School social workers provide consultation, observation, and interventions services to support student achievement in the prevention and/or remediation of educational, emotional, or behavioral problems. School social workers expand the level of services delivered in schools to provide a continuum of mental health services for children and adolescents through the development of strong school-family-community partnerships. These services may: (1) Involve school-employed and collaborating community mental health professionals working together in schools to implement a full array of prevention, mental health promotion, early intervention and treatment programs; (2) Result in the delivery of mental health services provided outside of the school setting by providers who are linked to the school.
Itinerant Vision Services
Itinerant vision services are provided to students, who are blind or who have vision impairments, by certified teachers of the visually impaired. Itinerant teachers of the visually impaired teach specific skills, e.g., Braille, so that the students can participate in the general education curriculum and assist with the modifications and accommodations, including technologies that are identified in students’ IEPs.
Itinerant Hearing Services
Itinerant hearing services are provided to students, with a hearing loss, by certified teachers of the hearing impaired. Itinerant teachers of the hearing impaired provide specialized instructional strategies so that the students can participate in the general education curriculum and assist with the modifications and accommodations, including auditory listening devices (ALDs) that are identified in students’ IEPs. Communication modalities may be supported by an oral interpreter, as identified in students’ IEPs.