COVID-19

COVID-19 Related Information

To try to help families during this difficult time with school closures due to Covid 19, we have added a COVID-19 section to the LTF3 website.

To view the original homepage of the LTF3 website, click here.

 

Special Education Guidance for Families with Children with IEPs

See below for the latest guidance from the Bureau of Special Education in the following areas:

  1. Guidance on Act 13 dealing with districts notifying families on how services will be provided to students during the school closures.
  2. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for Families of Students with Disabilities
  3. Graduation requirements for the graduating class of 2020
  4. Resources for families (links)

Bureau of Special education (BSE) Guidance on Act 13 of 2020 gives direction to school districts (LEAs)  and "requires each school entity to provide written notice to the parent or guardian of each student with an IEP of the school entity's plans for ensuring the student receives FAPE as required under IDEA."  This could be in the form of a Prior Written Notice/Notice of Recommended Educational Placement (PWN/NOREP).

"LEAs should pay particular attention to specially designed instruction, related services, and transition planning."

"Once school resumes under typical circumstances, a child's IEP Team must make an individualized determination whether and to what extent appropriate compensatory education or other future services may be needed, within a reasonable timeframe and consistent with applicable requirements, including to make up for any skills that may have been lost during the closure."

Also, families can request that their child's district offer the continuation of Direct Instruction with their child through distance learning.  For example, if your child is taught math directly by their Special Education teacher, families can request that this instruction continue through distance learning.  Related services, like speech and language, can be requested by families to continue these services, as well. Families would make sure confidentiality is not breached by having the sessions occur in a private area.

We would also like to bring attention to some of the practices we have been made aware of in some districts in Western Pennsylvania.

  1. Districts asking families to do the probes (assessments or assignments) that are used for Progress Monitoring
  2. Districts asking families to sign waivers asking them to waive their child's rights to compensatory time for course work and/or related services.

If you know of this situation, you can contact your district's Special Education Advisor or the Bureau of Special Education at 1-717-783-6913 to report these actions.  Families are under NO obligation to do their children's probes or signing away their child's rights to compensatory time.

Any questions or concerns can be sent back to this email or to the LTF3's Parent Assistance Line at 412-394-5930.

We know school entities and Intermediate Units are working hard to guarantee the continuation of the Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) to our children and families are a part of that partnering process."

For Families by Families!

The Pa Family Network invites you to join other families and individuals with disabilities to discuss the current impact of the Coronavirus in our lives.

Get the Latest updates…answers to your questions…Discuss concerns… and Network with other families…

Francine Hogan is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.

Topic: FAMILY FORUM with the PA Family Network
Time: Jun 3, 2020 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Jun 3, 2020 07:00 PM
Jun 10, 2020 07:00 PM
Jun 17, 2020 07:00 PM
Jun 24, 2020 07:00 PM
Please download and import the following iCalendar (.ics) files to your calendar system.
Weekly: https://us02web.zoom.us/…/tZYld-yrqDMoEtKbNM5_kqiDDNYt…/ics…

Join Zoom Meeting
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82805368286…

Meeting ID: 828 0536 8286
Password: 990010
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Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kXeq9mIsl

Reading Your Pandemic Prior Written Notice

By Caitlin McAndrews, Esq.

By this point, most school districts in Pennsylvania and Delaware have sent some form of written notice to parents of children with IEPs, advising what educational services to expect while schools are closed during the pandemic. Some districts have sent letters, some have sent Notices of Recommended Educational Placement (NOREPs) or Prior Written Notices (PWNs). (NOREPs and PWNs are different names for the same type of document.)

The content of these documents varies significantly. Some districts provided information about specific services that individual students could expect to receive remotely; others sent the same document to all families and advised only that schools were closed and services would change.

We have had many parents contact us to inquire about the meaning of these documents and how to respond. Consider the following questions in reviewing your child’s pandemic notice:

  • If your child normally receives specialized instruction with a special education teacher, do you know if your child will still have contact with that teacher? When and how often? Will the teacher deliver online classes and/or distribute work?
  • If your child normally receives specialized instruction within the general education environment, will he or she participate in the same online classes or receive the same work packets as general education students? Who should you and your child contact with questions about instruction and work?
  • If your child normally receives specialized academic instruction, do you know how your child will access instruction in those areas? Is your child expected to sign online for scheduled classes or complete assigned work?
  • If your child normally receives speech/language, occupational, or physical therapy, will he or she have teletherapy sessions with a pathologist over the computer? If so, when and how often? If not, can you speak to the therapist for tips to support your child at home and help prevent or reduce regression?
  • If your child uses a specialized curriculum, do you have access to materials?
  • If your child normally receives social skills instruction, do you know how that instruction will continue to be delivered, if at all?
  • If your child receives counseling or psychological services, will he or she continue to receive services through a teletherapy model? If so, when and how often?

If you do not know the answers to any of these questions, or if reading these questions sparks others, reach out to your case manager or special education coordinator. The U.S. Department of Education has encouraged parents and schools to be flexible and collaborative, so approach communication as productively as possible. Be polite but firm in your request for information about services for your child. If you do not get clear information, follow up. You should have sufficient information to understand the services that your child, as an individual, will receive.

This is a trying time for everyone, and it can be especially difficult for children with disabilities. Carefully reviewing your school district’s plan for providing services, and working together to obtain clarification and structure now can help minimize regression and educational struggles in the long run.


McAndrews Law Offices
We are a nationally recognized firm that provides families of Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Metropolitan Washington, D.C. Area, and New Jersey with exceptional legal representation in Special Education, Estate Planning, Abuse of Vulnerable Citizens, and the representation of individuals involved in higher education allegations of misconduct.

Main Office: 30 Cassatt Avenue, Berwyn, PA 19312

www.McAndrewsLaw.com
610-648-9300

McAndrews Law Offices | 30 Cassatt Avenue, Berwyn, PA 19312

Free Summer Tutoring

Learn more here http://www.gwensgirls.org/event/academic-support-initiative/, including information about options for students with IEPs.

June 2020 Meeting Agenda

DUE TO COVID-19 WE WILL BE HOLDING THE MEETING ENTIRELY ON THE ZOOM PLATFORM

Topic: Local Task Force Zoom Meeting Link
Time: This is a recurring meeting that occurs on the first Wednesday of each month
Join from PC, Mac, iOS or Android: https://paiu.zoom.us/j/199666919
Or join by phone:
+1 646 558 8656 or +1 669 900 6833 (US Toll)
Meeting ID: 199 666 919
International numbers available: https://zoom.us/u/alogmfj2

Or join from a H.323/SIP room system:
Dial: 162.255.36.11
Meeting ID: 199 666 919

We appreciate all members attendance to be available to answer questions from attending families. This information is vitally important during this time of crisis.

Document: 

RMU Trees Network webinar: Learn about Teletherapy

RMU (Robert Morris University)  Trees Network “has been established to create a system of interconnections for families of children or young adults with intellectual disabilities.” Learn more at https://www.rmu.edu/academics/provost/trees

They have shared their first newsletter and their first event is planned for May. Monday, May 18 practitioners from DePaul School for Hearing & Speech, 3 Rivers Music Therapy, and Heart of Gold, Pittsburgh Therapy Project will share their insights on teletherapy. Find details and registration information below.

Access the entire newsletter here April 2020

Join Us to Learn About Teletherapy

Have you ever wondered whether teletherapy might be right for your child? Are you a professional who wants to learn more about on-line service delivery?

Join us Monday, May 18 at 6 p.m. for a virtual presentation on teletherapy.  Practitioners from DePaul School for Hearing & Speech, 3 Rivers Music Therapy, and Heart of Gold, Pittsburgh Therapy Project will share their insights.

DePaul's Michelle Parfitt, Director of Early Intervention, and Mary Lofreso, SLP, will share their experiences with speech and language teletherapy. 

We will also hear from Allison Broaddrick, board certified music therapist and CEO of 3 Rivers Music Therapy and Incadence, a virtual music therapy firm. 

And, we will be joined by Elizabeth Sherman, owner of Heart of Gold, Pittsburgh Therapy Project LLC. Sherman is a trauma-sensitive occupational therapist who specializes in a strengths-based approach to therapy informed by Trauma Center Trauma Sensitive Yoga, the D.I.R./Floortime model and Sensory Integration.

For additional information or to register, email Karen Oosterhous at Oosterhous@rmu.edu

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