|EDUCATION QUESTION OF THE MONTH
Q. Zero tolerance is being strictly enforced at my son’s school even for symptoms related to his TS. Are there any legal protections regarding suspensions for my son who has TS but doesn’t have an IEP?
A. Students with IEPs or 504 Plans have specific legal protections regarding suspension under Federal law and Manifestation Determination.
Students who have a diagnosis of TS but who do not have either an IEP or 504 Plan are considered to be general education students and may be punished like children who do not have a disability. However, there is an important exception which all parents of children with TS should know about.
Federal law states that even if a child does not have an IEP or 504 Plan, they may receive the same protections of Manifestation Determination that would be available if they did have an IEP or 504 Plan if the school has a ‘Basis of Knowledge’ prior to the incident for which they are being disciplined. The law states that the school will have this ‘Basis of Knowledge’ if one of the events below has occurred prior to the behavior for which the student is being disciplined.
Parents of children with TS may want to consider beginning every year by writing a letter to an administrator stating their concerns that due to a diagnosis of TS with common related disorders that their child needs special education services. Even if the school does nothing else, this will provide protections in case there is an incident for which the school is going to long-term suspend your child. All correspondence regarding ‘behaviors’, symptoms and discipline should be retained as they may serve as important documentation in the future. If you would like more details regarding this law http://idea.ed.gov/explore/view/p/%2Croot%2Cdynamic%2CTopicalBrief%2C6%2C
- if the parent of the child expressed in writing to a teacher or administrator that they are concerned that their child is in need of special education services and related services
- The parent of the child requested an evaluation/assessment of their child (often referred to as a Psycho-educational Evaluation)
- The teacher of the child, or other personnel in the school, expressed specific concerns about a pattern of behavior demonstrated by the child directly to the director of special education or to his/her supervisor.
Ask the Tourette Association Education Advisory Board a question about Education - all questions
will be answered.
- Section 504 - provision of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Federal Law) which prohibits recipients of federal funds from discrimination against persons with disabilities
Section 504 Plan - A legal document outlining accommodations and modifications provided by the school so that a child is not discriminated against.
- Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) - Federal Law - stated purpose (in Section 1400 (d)(1)) is “…to ensure that all children with disabilities have available to them a free appropriate public education that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment and independent living” and “to ensure that the rights of children with disabilities and parents of such children are protected….”
IDEA specifically includes Tourette Syndrome under the definition of Other Health Impairment (OHI)§300.8(c)(9)); the Department of Education explains why Tourette Syndrome is included under OHI:
"Discussion: ... we do believe that Tourette syndrome is commonly misunderstood to be a behavioral or emotional condition, rather than a neurological condition. Therefore, including Tourette syndrome in the definition of other health impairment may help correct the misperception of Tourette syndrome as a behavioral or conduct disorder and prevent the misdiagnosis of their needs.
Changes: We have added Tourette syndrome as an example of an acute or chronic health problem in §300.8(c)(9)(i)."
§300.8(c) "Definition of disability terms. The terms used in this definition of a child with a disability are defined as follows:
...(9) Other health impairment means having limited strength, vitality or alertness, including a heightened alertness to environmental stimuli, that results in limited alertness with respect to the educational environment, that:
(i) is due to chronic or acute health problems such as asthma, attention deficit disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, diabetes, epilepsy, a heart condition, hemophilia, lead poisoning, leukemia, nephritis, rheumatic fever, and sickle cell anemia, and Tourette Syndrome; and
(ii) adversely affects a child's educational performance"
IDEA regulates Independent Education Programs (IEPs).
- IDEA Basics- audio and slides
- IEP (Individualized Education Program) - Each public school child who receives special education and related services must have an Individualized Education Program (IEP), designed for that student, and must be a truly individualized document. The IEP is developed by teachers, parents, school administrators, related services personnel, and students (when appropriate) documenting the specific supports school personnel will be provided to enable the child to meet individualized academic and functional goals.
- in our online store - IEP Essentials for Parents - Publication #E128 (or downloadable E128DD) - Explains the basics of the IEP including what it is, the steps
to obtain one, the formal meeting process, eligibility, and developing an IEP.
- Understanding Assessments & Evaluations - audio and slides
- IEE (Independent Educational Evaluations) - audio and slides
- LRE (Least Restrictive Environment) - students with disabilities must be educated with non-disabled peers, to the greatest extent appropriate - audio and slides
- F.A.P.E. - Section 504 and the IDEA require that a Free and Appropriate Public Education be provided to all eligible students who attend school which receives funds from the US Dept. of Education.
- FERPA - Family Education Rights and Privacy Act. A Federal statute with the purposes of ensuring that parents have access to their children's education records, and to protect the rights of children and parents by limiting access to these records without parental consent, and to manage misleading or incorrect information.
- Red Flags - article
- Understanding Behavioral Symptoms of Tourette Syndrome- article
- Educator's Guide for Developing IEP and 504 Plans for Students with Tourette Syndrome - article
- Classroom Strategies, Accommodations and Modifications for Students with
Tourette Syndrome - publication #E115b available in our online store for a nominal charge
- Vocal Tics in the Classroom - an Educator's Guide- Webinar - slides, audio, downloads
- Handwriting Issues - article
- A Guide for Paraprofessionals - article
- Tourette Syndrome InService - developed so that anyone can make a presentation about TS
and related issues - slides, videos, downloads, and a video about how to present - view online or ORDER FREE DVD
- Tourette Syndrome in the Classroom, School and Community - Seminar for educators - filmed at an all-day live presentation by members of the Tourette Association Education Advisory Board- addresses the following topics:
- Online Video "Stand Up for Tourette Syndrome"
Short video (3 min., 39 sec.) in which school kids STAND UP for TOURETTE SYNDROME by helping Luke, a young boy with TS explain his TS to a group of kids who have been acting really mean to him - video is downloadable as is a Teachers' Guide - click here.
- DVD with Teacher's Resources:
HBO Documentary, I Have Tourette's But Tourette's Doesn't Have Me.
The DVD features content shown on the HBO broadcast plus a variety of resources for educators, families, and children interested in learning more about Tourette Syndrome, and supplementary information from experts John Walkup, M.D., Susan Conners, M.Ed., and Evan Trost, M.D. DVD available through our online store (#DVD-13M, DVD-13NM, DVD-13V).
Free Teacher's Guide - Click here to View or Download
- Book with Teacher's Resources:
In this novel, Carrie, a seventh-grade girl has just been diagnosed with TS. Targeted to early teens, Quit It explores Carrie's struggles to cope with TS while trying to fit in with her peers. Available in our online store (C100M, C100NM).
Free School Reading Program and Sample Lesson Plan Using Quit It. Click here.
- School-Based Educator/Clinician Programs
The Tourette Association offers programs to special education directors, IEP team chairpersons, regular and special education teachers, school psychologists and social workers, school nurses, paraprofessionals, speech therapists, occupational therapists in professional association, conference, and university settings. Presentations are given on Tourette Syndrome and associated disorders; attendees receive course materials and may receive CEU Approved Credit if available (click here for program details and contact information).
- in our online store - A Workbook for Conducting a Functional Behavioral Assessment and Writing
a Positive Behavior Intervention Plan for a Student with Tourette Syndrome - Publication #E126 - Practical guide and valuable resource to address complex behavioral issues. Includes Overview of Functional Behavioral Assessments, FBA Worksheets, Positive Behavior Interventions.
SELECTED ADDITIONAL RESOURCES