Occupational Therapy Guidelines Revision Project

The Bureau of Special Education (BSE) and the Connecticut Occupational Therapy Association (ConnOTA) are resuming work on revisions to the Connecticut State Department of Education’s publication, Guidelines for Occupational Therapy in Educational Settings (1999).

The forthcoming work is based upon regional focus groups held in June 2014 to gather feedback and recommendations from the field and to re-engage the field in the work.  A Strategic Committee composed of practitioners, administrators, and higher-education personnel will draft proposed revisions by July 2015 in collaboration with the BSE.

It is anticipated that revisions to the Guidelines document will reflect current school-based practices such as aligning services to the Common Core State Standards (CCSS); Universal Design for Learning (UDL); Scientific Research-Based Interventions (SRBI); and school mental health.

Please see the following resources, for more information on the role of school-based occupational therapy practitioners and how they enhance positive student outcomes:

What is the role of the School-Based Occupational Therapy Practitioner

Occupational Therapy in School Settings

Occupational Therapy and School Mental Health

 

Please contact Jim Moriarty at 860-713-6946 or james.moriarty@ct.gov with questions regarding the Guidelines revision project.

Transfer Students with Lapsed Individualized Education Programs (IEPs)

In response to questions regarding appropriate procedure when students with lapsed IEPs transfer into districts, the Bureau of Data Collection, Research and Evaluation has developed a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document to assist districts.

You may access the FAQ document at the following link:

FAQ Regarding Lapsed IEPs – Reevaluation or Initial Referral

NIMAC/NIMAS UPDATE

As districts order text books and other print instructional materials, the procurement process must include the enactment of a written contract with publishers of the materials to provide electronic files containing the contents of the print materials to the National Instructional Material Accessibility Center (NIMAC).  The publishers are required, on or before delivery of the print materials, to prepare and provide the print content using National Instructional Material Accessibility Standard (NIMAS) filesets, in order for the content to be stored in the NIMAC and produced or rendered into specialized formats (braille, large print, digital text or audio) as needed.  

Resource links are provided below that include: new suggested language for purchase orders/written contracts with NIMAC in order to access updated materials and links, creating accessible digital instructional learning materials, and Frequently Ask Questions about NIMAS/NIMAC.

NEW Purchase Order Language

Digital Technology

Frequently Asked Questions about NIMAS and NIMAC

 

Technical Edits and the Individualized Education Program (IEP)

As a result of questions regarding a district’s authority to make technical edits to a student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP), the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) issued a guidance memorandum on September 9, 2014. Accompanying that memorandum was a copy of Connecticut’s IEP document with highlighted sections that correspond to the guidance in the memorandum.  The highlighted sections of the IEP document indicate the areas of the IEP document that can only be changed by a planning and placement team (“PPT”) or through the IEP amendment process.

The complete guidance memorandum as well as the highlighted IEP document is available for your review by following the links below.

Technical Edits and the IEP – guidance memorandum

Technical Edits and the IEP – highlighted IEP document

 

Early Childhood Outcomes (ECO) and the IED-II (2004)

The State Department of Education, Bureau of Special Education, will continue to use the Brigance IED-II (2004) as the assessment instrument to collect and report early childhood outcome (ECO) information in the State Performance Plan (SPP) and Annual Performance Report (APR).  The IED-II (2004) is the same assessment instrument that has been used since 2005.  The state will not be converting to a new edition nor a new assessment instrument for the 2014-2015 school year.

A letter was recently issued to all of Connecticut’s school districts informing them that the Brigance IED-II (2004) will continue to be the assessment instrument utilized for ECO reporting.  The letter also contains ordering information for those school districts that may need additional IED-II Developmental Record Books.  Please click on the attached link for access to the letter to districts.

ECO Brigance Letter 2014-2015

Transportation for Students Receiving Transition/Vocational Services

The safe transportation of students, including students with disabilities, is a high priority for every Connecticut school district.  This includes the transportation of students who, as part of an individualized education program (IEP), are participating in community-based transition services and employment worksite settings provided by school districts and/or transition/vocational service providers.

On July 28, 2014, Charlene Russell-Tucker, Chief Operating Officer of the Connecticut State Department of Education, issued a memorandum to Directors of Special Education and Pupil Personnel Services clarifying Connecticut regulations related to the transportation of such students.  Connecticut regulations state that all operators and vehicles used to provide transportation for students with an IEP must comply with the statutes/regulations of the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

To review a complete copy of this memorandum and a student transportation FAQ, please follow the link below.

Transportation for students receiving transition-vocational services letter

Transportation for students FAQ

 

 

 

Stepping Forward: A Self-Advocacy Guide for Middle and High School Students

A new Guide, Stepping Forward: A Self-Advocacy Guide for Middle and High School Students, has been created as an instructional tool for the development of self-advocacy skills and transition planning.

Stepping Forward was developed through a joint effort between the Connecticut Parent Advocacy Center (CPAC), the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE), Bureau of Special Education (BSE), and Transition Consulting, LLC with funding provided by the Connecticut Bureau of Rehabilitation Services (BRS). This manual replaces the Educational Journey for Self-Discovery and Advocacy: a Handbook for Students (2003).

You may view this exciting resource by visiting the BSE webpage at http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/cwp/view.asp?a=2626&q=322676 or by directly accessing the following link: Stepping Forward: A Self-Advocacy Guide for Middle and High School Students (2013) [PDF]

 

SAVE the DATE for Back to School Meeting!

Please plan to join us on September 17, 2014, for the 11th Annual Connecticut State Department of Education, Bureau of Special Education Back to School Meeting.

For details and registration information, please view the meeting flyer below.

BSE 2014 Back to School Meeting Registration Information

Paraeducator Needs Assessment Results

Earlier this school year, the University of Connecticut (UCONN) University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) conducted an online statewide survey of paraeducators’ training needs. This survey was based on the Council for Exceptional Children’s (CEC’s) Special Education Paraeducator Common Core Specialty Set (SEPCCSS). SEPCCSS contains 10 professional development guidelines and specific knowledge and skills that paraeducators working with children with disabilities should possess.

Participants were asked to rate their perceptions of their knowledge and skills within each of the SEPCCSS domains: Foundations; Development and Characteristics of Learners; Individual Learning Differences; Instructional Strategies; Learning Environments and Social Interactions; Language; Instructional Planning; Assessment; Professional and Ethical Practice; and Collaboration. In addition, participants were asked one open-ended question concerning the specific topics on which they desired additional training.

Responses were received from 2,438 paraeducators working in public schools in Connecticut. Information about the sample of paraeducators responding to the survey and the students they support is shown below:

  • The sample provided services to students across the PK-12 system, though more paraeducators appear to work in elementary school (1- 4; 31 percent) versus middle (7-8; 13 percent) or high school (9-12; 14 percent).
  • The majority of paraeducators working for greater than 10 years (54 percent) did not have a bachelor’s degree (59 percent) and were not certified as teachers (91 percent).
  • Paraeducators primarily provided services to students with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) receiving special education services (85 percent). However, fewer paraeducators had read the relevant pieces of their students’ IEPs (71 percent) or had their roles and responsibilities as mandated by the IEP explained to them (67 percent).
  • Twenty percent of the paraeducators reported not receiving any training in the previous 12 months; of those who reported receiving training, there was considerable variation in the number of training hours reported. Paraeducators also indicated a preference for small group/one-day workshops (51 percent) that were held during school hours (79 percent). Responses also indicated their desire for training on the following topics: specific disabilities, behavior management, technology, general education, language and communication, medical needs of students and the special education process.For additional results from the needs assessment, please visit the UCEDD Web site at: www.uconnucedd.org.

IEP/Smarter Balanced and Connecticut Alternate Assessment Updates

On May 22, 2014, a follow up to the May 12, 2014, e-mail regarding the revised Individualized Education Program (IEP) page 9 and the 2015 Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) Test Supports/Accommodations Form was forwarded to Connecticut directors of special education and pupil personnel services from Dr. Patricia Anderson, education consultant in the Bureau of Special Education.

The following is the content of that e-mail:

Directors of Special Education and Pupil Personnel Services:

This follow up e-mail to the May 12 e-mail dissemination of page 9 of the IEP (ED620) and the IEP Manual guidance is to let you know that the following documents have been updated with this new information and posted on the CSDE Web site under PPT Process and IEP Forms as follows:

IEP Forms

Individualized Education Program (IEP) Forms

  • Revised 5/2014: IEP Manual and SDE Forms  [PDF] [DOC] ***
  • Revised 5/2014: IEP Page 9 (ED620) [PDF], [DOC], Smarter Balanced Test Supports/Accommodations Form [PDF]

SDE Forms

IEP Forms***             ED620   [PDF] [DOC] Revised 5/21/14

***PLEASE NOTE: In ED620 – the primary change was made to page 9 – State and District Testing and Accommodations. HOWEVER – slight modifications were made to update two other IEP pages to reflect the change from CMT/CAPT to Smarter Balanced and CT Alternate Assessments:

  • Page 4 in the top header of the Present Levels of Performance page; AND
  • Page 7 – #8 under Evaluation Procedures

Student Assessment is sending out the following Updates for Special Populations this week in the SBAC (Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium) Weekly Update regarding a slightly modified version of the Smarter Balanced Test Supports/Accommodations Form (latest version is dated 5-22-14); page 2 of the Accommodations Form now contains the Supports/Accommodations Quick Guide (dated 5-21-14), which is a brief description of all the supports and accommodations available on all statewide assessments; and some additional tools. All of these documents are posted on the Student Assessment Web site and will be on the Smarter Balanced Assessments Resources section of the Bureau of Special Education’s Web site next week.

Updates for Special Populations

In preparation for the 2014-2015 school year, various documents have been created for special populations. They include:

If you have any questions, please contact CSDE staff as follows:

Student Assessment/Accommodations Questions:

Joe Amenta                        (860-713-6855)  joseph.amenta@ct.gov

Janet Stuck                         (860-713-6837)  janet.stuck@ct.gov 

IEP Questions:

Patricia Anderson              (860-713-6923)  patricia.anderson@ct.gov

Gail Mangs                        (860-713-6938)  gail.mangs@ct.gov