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?
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
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
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
Law Center, PLLC · 810-227-9850 ·
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