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Last Updated: 11/20/2017
 

 Ask the Attorney with John Brower, J.D.

 

Question:  I am concerned that my child's teacher has not been trained in my child's specific disability and therefore has a difficult time understanding my child or implementing my child's IEP. What does the law require?

 

Answer:  In the 1997 reauthorization of IDEA Congress and the Department of Education in its regulation implementing IDEA recognized that there is a shortage of special education teachers in general, and in some areas, a lack of training. At the same time teacher training, qualifications and staffing is generally under state and local control. Therefore, the IDEA regulations regarding personnel qualification are generalized in nature. See 34 CFR 300.136 or http://www.michedlawcenter.com/UsefulLinks.htm.


At the same time, it was recognized that that all the personnel that work with children with disabilities must have specialized skills and knowledge. To that end, 34 CFR 300.382 (see above link) goes into some detail as to the requirement that each state create strategies to address skill and knowledge development.
As 34 CFR 300.382(j) (see link) discusses joint training of parents and special education, related services, and general education personnel in a child's specific disability I have used this section in IEP meetings, and as part of the relief requested in due process hearing (or settlement agreements) to justify the school staff receiving training in the child's disabilities. Sometimes the training is provided for by the child's professionals and at other times, by intermediate school district or state department of education experts.


In terms of the Michigan certification and training requirements for special education personnel, those can be found in the recently revised Administrative Rules, starting at R 340.1782 and continuing to R 340.1799, (again, the above referenced link to the Michigan regulations).


As with many issues that arise in a special education setting, in my opinion staff training or staff qualifications is the type issue that is best first addressed with the person in charge of the staff that works with your child. Then if needed, the issue can be addressed via an administrative complaint if the terms of the IEP are not being fulfilled, or raised with the IEP Team if training is needed in order to have the child benefit from his or her IEP.


Hope this provides some clarification as to this important issue.
 
John F. Brower, JD
Education Law Center, PLLC
www.edlawcenter.com

 

Education Law Center, PLLC 810-227-9850 www.michedlawcenter.com 

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