Student Support Services
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a federal law that governs special education. IDEA makes available a free appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment (LRE) to every child with a disability. IDEA ensures special education and related services for those children. Children and youth ages 3 through 21 receive special education and related services under IDEA Part B.
Lakes International Language Academy (LILA) provides an inclusive model for special education services through specially designed services and instruction to provide students who have a disability that affects their learning. Qualification for Special Education services is determined after a comprehensive special education evaluation process is completed. If you suspect your child may have a disability, please contact the Special Education Assessment Coordinator.
The Minnesota Department of Education is responsible for the rules and regulations affecting special education in the state. You can visit the Minnesota Department of Education’s special education website for more information.
- Who Qualifies for Special Education Services?
- Evaluating for Special Education Services
- The Individualized Education Program (IEP)
- Related, Direct, and Indirect Services
- Section 504
- English as a Second Language (ESL)
- School Based Mental Health Services
- Special Education Advisory Council (SEAC)
- Frequently Used Terms In Student Services
- Resources and Information
Who Qualifies for Special Education?
LILA provides students with Special Education needs access to appropriate services in the following disability areas:
• Speech or Language Impairment (SP/L)
• Developmental Cognitive Disability
• Physically Impaired (PI)
• Deaf-Hard of Hearing (D/HH)
• Visually Impaired (VI)
• Specific Learning Disability (SLD)
• Emotional/Behavioral Disorders (E/BD)
• Deaf Blind (D/B)
• Other Health Disabilities (OHD)
• Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
• Developmental Delay (DD)
• Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI)
• Severely Multiply Impaired (SMI)
• Developmental Adapted Physical
The Health Services Department is an integral part of SPED services. Health Services partners with students, families, teachers, paraprofessionals and case managers in:
• the evaluation process,
• accomodation development, training and implementation,
• health maintenance and promotion processes including necessary treatments and medication
during the school day.
Identification of school-age children is usually based on the child’s performance in school. If your child is struggling in school, you or the school can request an evaluation. If you have concerns about your child’s performance in school, talk to your child’s teacher.
Pre-referral: Before referring your child for an evaluation, the classroom teacher may plan strategies to see if their performance improves with scientifically research-based interventions. These are called “pre-referral interventions.” At least two pre-referral interventions must be tried and documented for a minimum of 30 days. If your child’s performance improves, an evaluation may not be necessary. If problems continue, an evaluation will help identify more specific ways to help your child learn. A pre-referral intervention does not require your permission, but it is important for you to know what interventions are to be tried and the amount of time that they will be attempted before it is decided whether they are working or not.
Referral: When classroom interventions are not successful, the classroom teacher may make a referral to a Child Study Team (CST). A Child Study Team is made up of a team of learning and behavior specialists. The teacher may not have identified any particular area of concern, but they would like additional input from experts. The CST will review your child’s records and make recommendations to your child’s teacher about how best to work with your child. The CST also helps decide if a special education evaluation might be helpful.
A referral does not mean that your child has a disability. It is the first step to determine if concerns about your child’s performance or behavior in school are due to a disability. If the CST feels that a special education evaluation is recommended, you will be notified. A special education evaluation cannot take place without your written consent. Once LILA receives consent, the evaluation must be completed within 30 school days.
Evaluation: When a special education evaluation is recommended, it means the educational team is concerned about your child’s ability to make progress in school. Although teachers can refer a student to a Child Study Team without your authorization, a special education evaluation can not take place without your written consent. The purpose of the special education evaluation is to determine if your child qualifies for special education services.
A comprehensive evaluation, conducted by a team from the school, evaluates and identifies students who meet criteria to qualify for special education services and need specialized instruction in order to access the general education curriculum. This process starts with the evaluation of your child in all areas of concern. The evaluation should examine all areas of suspected disability and provide a detailed description of your child’s current educational performance and needs. This evaluation may include formal tests, informal measures, and informal observations. A special education evaluation will also include a review of your child’s educational and medical history. It is important to provide medical information to your child’s educational team. Please note that the criteria to qualify for special education services may differ from medical diagnoses.
Inclusiveness: If your child qualifies for special education services, they will be educated with their peers at LILA as inclusively as possible. We consider alternative programming only when the needs of your child cannot be met within the regular school setting with supplementary aid services. Special education services are provided by licensed teachers, licensed staff, and paraprofessionals. Special education services can include specialized teaching, materials, and techniques.
At our Lower School, we hire special education teachers who are also proficient in the target languages, allowing us to provide individualized instruction in Spanish or Mandarin Chinese.
When your child qualifies for special education services, a document called an Individualized Education Program (IEP) is developed. The IEP outlines the unique needs of the student and the specialized goals and objectives that will help them make educational progress.
You are a critical partner in every phase of the special education process, from identifying your child’s need for special education to establishing the IEP for your child. We rely on your input to help identify your child’s strengths and needs. You are a required and important member of your child’s IEP team.
Related services are supportive services or activities necessary for some students with disabilities to maximize their educational outcomes. Related services may include, but are not limited to: Occupational Therapy, psychological services, Social Work, School Health and School Nurse services, Speech-Language Pathology services, and Special Transportation.
Some related services such as Occupational Therapy and Developmental Adapted Physical Education (DAPE) cannot be provided as a stand-alone service. In order to receive the support of some related services, the student must be eligible for special education services under a primary disability other than Speech-Language. In addition, the IEP team must determine if the need for a related service is necessary to support the student’s IEP goals and objectives.
Related services may be direct or indirect. Direct services are provided directly to the student from a professional. Indirect services are provided from the professional to the teacher, families, or others that work directly with the student. Indirect services may include consulting, progress reviews, observations, and/or discussing strategies to help the student function better.
At LILA, Section 504 services are overseen by the Director of Student Services, but are written by the 504 Coordinator or Dean of Students.
Examples of physical or mental impairments that may be covered under Section 504 include: epilepsy, AIDS, allergies, vision impairment, broken limbs, cancer, diabetes, asthma, temporary condition due to accidents or illness, ADD/ADHD, learning disabilities, autism, depression, intellectual disability, traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder, and post-COVID conditions (Long COVID).
Examples of major life activities that can be affected by the student’s disability include: learning, thinking, concentrating, reading, speaking, walking, breathing, sleeping, caring for oneself, as well as major bodily functions, including brain function, immune system function, or digestive functions. This is not an exhaustive list.
Your child may be referred by anyone for a 504 evaluation, including a parent or guardian, teacher, school employee, or community agency. If your child fails to qualify for special education under IDEA, they may be referred for a 504 evaluation. The 504 evaluation should include classroom observations, performance-based testing, academic assessment, teacher and parent/guardian reports, and medical and/or psychological evaluations.
If the evaluation team determines that your child qualifies for accommodations or modifications under Section 504, the team is responsible for writing a formal plan.
A 504 PLAN:
Includes specifics on how modifications or accommodations will be provided and by whom.
Names the person who will be responsible for ensuring all components of the plan are implemented. (504 coordinator or general education teacher)
- Is distributed to all of your child’s teachers, specialists, and support staff.
- Is placed in your child’s cumulative file.
Your child will be placed in the regular education environment unless it is demonstrated that their specific needs cannot be met in the regular education environment. If this is the case, your child may receive special education services or services from support staff.
Students who are handicapped consistent with the definitions set forth in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 will be identified, evaluated, and provided with appropriate accommodations in the educational setting. Contact the district 504 coordinator at your school to find out more about 504 identification requirements, plan development, parental rights and services.
English as a Second Language services are provided to students who demonstrate limited proficiency in the English language. Students are identified through a Home Language Survey and additional English language proficiency testing. If you would like more information on the English as a Second Language Services at Lower School, please contact the Lower School ESL Coordinator. For ESL services at Upper School, please contact the Upper School ESL Coordinator for more information.
A school based mental health program allows outside mental health agencies, with whom LILA has an agreement, to provide services onsite during the school day. These services are offered as a convenience to families - onside services remove barriers to access, and lessen time away from school and work for students and families.
LILA currently partners with Vona Center for Mental Health to offer children's mental health services onsite at LILA. Families connect directly with the agency to arrange services, and your insurance is billed for services provided. More information can be found on the Vona Center for Mental Health website.
Minnesota law requires each school district in the state to have a Special Education Advisory Council (SEAC). Each local council must meet no less than once each year. The number of members, frequency of meetings, and operational procedures are to be locally determined.
Here is what the statute says:
In order to increase the involvement of parents of children with disabilities in district policy making and decision making, school districts must have a SEAC that is incorporated into the district's special education system plan.
This advisory council may be established either for individual districts or in cooperation with other districts who are members of the same special education cooperative.
- A district may set up this council as a subgroup of an existing board, council, or committee.
- At least half of the designated council members must be parents of students with a disability. When a nonpublic school is located in the district, the council must include at least one member who is a parent of a nonpublic school student with a disability, or an employee of a nonpublic school if no parent of a nonpublic school student with a disability is available to serve.
SEAC MEMBERSHIP CRITERIA
The Special Education Advisory Council at LILA is an open council. The SEAC reports directly to the Director of Special Education. LILA staff members are appointed by the Director of Special Education. The council is open to all parents/guardians of LILA students receiving special education services. Any parent or guardian who attends a SEAC meeting is considered to be a council member.
Membership by position: The chair of the special education advisory council is the Director of Special Education. The chair and any designated staff are considered members by position.
Designated staff: The Director of Special Education may designate special education staff to serve on the council. The position of secretary is a designated staff position.
Membership by attendance: At LILA, family members participating in meeting discussions at SEAC are considered council members beginning with the first meeting of attendance.
SEAC MEMBER RESPONSIBILITIES
Each member has the responsibility to be familiar with the agenda of the council meetings, which are sent via email prior to the meeting. Membership and attendance will be recorded on the meeting sign-in sheet.
COUNCIL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
- The SEAC advises on special education matters at LILA. The council does NOT set special education policy.
- The council collaborates with special education staff at LILA to improve special education services for students and families.
- Minutes must be taken of all meetings. Minutes are taken by the SEAC secretary and are reviewed and approved by the Director of Special Education. Approved Minutes will be distributed via email to all LILA families with children receiving special education services within two weeks of the SEAC meeting.
- Meeting dates and times will be announced via email at least two weeks in advance of the meeting date. A reminder email with electronic RSVP will be sent one week in advance of the meeting date. Meeting dates and times are subject to change based on council input and needs.
- Federal and State law require all school districts that provide special education services to have Parent Advisory Councils. Please see Sec. 8., Minnesota Statutes 2004, section 125A.24 (Parent Advisory Councils) for further information.
- Federal law requires that the council meet at least one time yearly. At LILA, the SEAC strives to meet two to three times per year.
There are many reasons for participating in a SEAC meeting, including these:
- Help families and children with disabilities at LILA.
- Share what you’ve learned since your child began their education.
- Gain information and skills that may help you work more effectively with your school.
- Meet others with similar goals, both families and school professionals.
- Build positive relationships with others in the district.
- Become more knowledgeable about special education at LILA.
By sharing your unique perspective and insights as a family, you may help the school work more effectively with families and improve outcomes for all children.
We encourage parents of students who receive special education services to attend the SEAC meetings at LILA. We value your input, and your advice can help us to make improvements in special education programming and services. Questions about SEAC can be sent to the SEAC Secretary, Rana Campbell-Beams.
Accommodation - Allows the student to do the same work as the general education students with a change (i.e. taking tests in a quiet room). This change does not alter the rigor of the material being taught.
Adaptations - Word used interchangeably with accommodation.
Assistive Technology Device - Any item, piece of equipment, or product system that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of children with disabilities (can be low or high tech).
Assistive Technology Service - Any service that directly assists a student in the selection, acquisition or use of an assistive technology device.
Behavior Intervention Plan - A plan to address challenging behaviors; it addresses both the source of the behavior and ways to deal with the behavior so the student can make positive changes.
Case Manager - The person who coordinates a student’s IEP and sees that it is carried out. This person is the first point of contact for any issues or concerns that you may have.
Child Study Team - The team that determines if an evaluation is warranted.
Consent - Means that you say “yes.” Consent means that you understand and agree in writing to the activity that is being requested, such as an evaluation or an IEP.
Curriculum - The coursework being taught.
Direct Service - Specialized service provided directly to the student from the professional to work on goals and objectives.
Evaluation - Testing and observations used to determine the eligibility of the student for special education services.
Inclusion - Full - Student that qualifies for special education and spends the entire school day in the general education classroom.
Inclusion - Partial - Student that qualifies for special education and spends part of the day in the general education classroom.
IEE (Independent Educational Evaluation) - An evaluation provided by a mutually agreed upon independent professional at no cost to you. The school district is required to give you several choices of qualified professionals to perform the IEE. You can then choose which professional conducts the IEE. To request an IEE, you need to notify the Director of Special Education, in writing, that you disagree with the district’s evaluation and are requesting an IEE. Keep a copy for your records as well. You also have the right to a second opinion at any time at your own expense. The school district must consider this information.
Individualized Education Program (IEP) - An educational service program for a student age 3 up to age 21. Services need to begin within 30 calendar days from the date the student is found eligible.
IEP Team - A group of people responsible for defining a student’s educational program. The IEP Team must include:
- A representative of the district who is authorized to assign resources, known as the Administrative Designee.
- At least one of the student’s special education teachers.
- At least one of the student’s general education teachers.
- The student, if appropriate
- There may be more team members as appropriate.
Indirect Service - Professional staff that consult with team members on services, modifications, adaptation, and any issues related to the IEP goals/objectives.
Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) - The educational setting appropriate to meet the individual student’s needs while providing the opportunity to be educated with children without disabilities, to the greatest extent appropriate.
Modification - A change that lowers the rigor of the material and changes what a test or assignment measures.
Personal Care Assistant (PCA) - An individual helping a child learn skills so they can be more independent at school, at home, and in the community.
Pre-Referral Interventions - Before referring a child for an evaluation, the classroom teacher must plan strategies to see if your child’s behavior or academic progress improves with simple changes in curriculum or environment. At least two pre-referral interventions must be tried and documented. If the child’s performance improves, an evaluation may not be needed. If problems continue, an evaluation will help identify more specific ways to help the child learn.
Referral - families, teachers, or staff knowledgeable about the student can make a referral for a special education evaluation. When classroom interventions are not successful, a referral will be made for a Child Study Team to consider whether the student should receive further evaluation. The team decides the areas to be evaluated and the types of evaluations to be completed.
Related Services - Services required to help a child benefit from special education. An example may be special transportation or Occupational Therapy.
Response to Intervention (RtI) - A 3-tiered model of instructional support available for all students. It includes providing high quality instruction and interventions matched to student need, monitoring progress frequently to make changes in instruction, and applying child response data to important educational decisions.
Resource Room - A room other than a general education classroom where a student may receive their special education services. The room is a special education setting.
Section 504 - A Federal Civil Rights Law. Section 504 protects the rights of individuals with disabilities in programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance.
Special Education Advisory Council (SEAC) - Acts as an advisory body to the district’s special education department on behalf of students receiving special education services. The SEAC will meet a minimum of once per school year, or more often, to allow the district to share insight into the special education department and solicit family input.
Procedural Safeguards Notice
A copy of the procedural safeguards must be given to the parents/guardians of a child with a disability under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) at least one time a school year. A copy must also be given to the family:
- Upon initial referral or parent/guardian request for evaluation.
- Upon receipt of the first state complaint with the Minnesota Department of Education in a school year.
- Upon receipt of the first due process complaint in a school year.
- On the date the decision is made to change the placement of a child with a disability due to a violation of a code of student conduct.
- Upon request by a parent or guardian.
State agency responsible for providing laws and rules regarding special education in Minnesota, disability definitions and criteria, information for families and students, and more.
Federal agency providing leadership and financial support to assist states and local districts to improve results for infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities, ages birth through 21.
The Minnesota Council on Disability advocates for policies and programs in the public and private sectors that advance the rights of Minnesotans with disabilities.
Phone: 800-945-8913 or 651-361-7800
State agency that provides Minnesotans with a variety of services intended to help people live as independently as possible.
Public state-wide program that seeks to improve the quality of life for children with special health needs and their families.
Phone: 800-728-5420 or 651-201-3650
MDLC is the designated Protection and Advocacy System (P&A) for Minnesota and addresses the unique legal needs of Minnesotans with disabilities. MDLC provides free civil legal assistance to individuals with disabilities statewide on legal issues related to their disabilities. All individuals with disabilities are eligible to receive help, regardless of age or income level.
Phone: 800-292-4150 or 612-334-5970
PACER offers assistance, information, workshops, and referrals for families and professionals to help make decisions about education and other services for children with disabilities.
Phone: 800-537-2237 or 952-838-9000
State agency that receives and investigates complaints about services for mental illness, developmental disabilities, chemical dependency, or emotional disturbance.
Phone: 800-657-3506 or 651-757-1800
Organization focused on promoting positive mental health for children, adolescents and families.
Phone: 800-528-4511 or 651-644-7333
NAMI MN is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of children and adults with mental illnesses and their families.
A private, statewide non-profit organization to promote and protect the human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Phone: 800-582-5256 or 651-523-0823
Down Syndrome Association of Minnesota
Non-profit organization that is dedicated to empowering individuals and families, creating community, and celebrating the abilities of people with Down syndrome.
Phone: 800-511-3696 or 651-603-0720
National non-profit organization serving individuals with ADD/ADHD and their families.
Organization of families, educators, caregivers, and professionals committed to supporting individuals with autism spectrum disorders.
Non-profit dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for Minnesotans affected by brain injuries.
Phone: 800-669-6442 or 612-378-2742
The Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota (EFMN) offers services for people with epilepsy and seizures across Minnesota and eastern North Dakota.
Phone: 800-779-0777 or 651-287-2300
MADC advocates for and promotes a better quality of life and social wellness of Deaf people through its membership, activities and advocacy.
Non-profit organization that defends the rights of blind Americans, and provides information and support to blind children and adults.
MNSBA is a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing awareness about Spina Bifida and enhancing the lives of those affected.
Non-profit agency funding research into muscular dystrophy, ALS and related muscle-debilitating diseases that take away physical strength. MDA also provides healthcare and support services, including assistance with durable medical equipment.
Phone: 800-572-1717 or 952-832-5517
Professional organization of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists promoting the welfare of individuals with communication disorders and representing the professionals who serve them.
UCP MN educates, advocates and provides support services for people with cerebral palsy and their families.
Nonprofit organization supporting the needs of individuals and families affected by Tourette Syndrome and Tic Disorders.
Organization that offers children and adults with intellectual disabilities year-round sports training and competition.
Phone: 800-783-7732 or 612-333-0999
The SPRC is the only federally supported resource center devoted to advancing the implementation of the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention. SPRC is funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
Suicide Prevention Hotline: 800-273-8255