Parent’s Guide to the ARD Process: An Introduction
Hello. Welcome to the Disability Rights Texas video “Parent’s Guide to the ARD Process: An Introduction.”
This video was designed to walk parents through the process of obtaining special education services and supports for their children with disabilities.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a federal law ensuring services to children with disabilities throughout the nation.
IDEA describes early intervention, special education and related services used by more than six-and-a-half million children with disabilities nationwide.
Who is eligible for services under IDEA?
- Children ages 3 to 21
- Who have a disability and
- Who need special instruction designed to meet their unique education needs
Under IDEA, children with disabilities are entitled to a free appropriate public education, or FAPE.
Schools must provide special instruction — known as special education — free of charge to children who qualify for services.
According to the law, special education must prepare students for further education, employment and independent living.
In Texas, the ARD Committee is the group of individuals, including parents and guardians, that makes decisions about a student’s special education program.
In an ARD Committee meeting, the group determines a child’s eligibility for special education services and supports and develops the child’s education plan.
The ARD Committee must meet at least once a year to create or change the student’s special education plan
By law, many people are part of the ARD Committee and must attend the ARD Committee meeting, including:
- A school administrator
- A regular instruction teacher
- A special education teacher
- The student’s parents or guardians
- A special education evaluator, such as a school psychologist
- The student, if over age 18, or younger if appropriate
In addition, parents may bring along a friend or advocate for support.
The ARD Committee reviews the student’s most recent test results, known as evaluation reports, and records to determine whether that student is eligible for special education services.
If the child is found eligible, then the group identifies the student’s unique education needs and decides on the most appropriate programs and services for that student’s success in school.
If a student needs specially design instruction, parents will be asked to give written consent for the school to provide special education services and supports.
During the ARD Committee meeting, parents and school staff should work together to develop the student’s individual education plan.
The IEP is the student’s individual education plan. It is also the name of the form the ARD Committee completes during the ARD Committee meeting.
The IEP outlines the specific free and appropriate special education services and supports a student will receive in school.
Two important points to remember are:
- The student must be taught in the least restrictive environment; AND
- The student’s parents or guardians must agree with the education plan.
ARD Committee meetings may be held multiple times during the school year to review the student’s progress, to determine if the IEP needs to be revised, or to address other concerns. Either a parent or the school can ask to have the student’s IEP reviewed and revised at any time.
The IEP must contain measurable goals in each area of need. This means you must be able to track the student’s progress.
The IEP should list the specific services and supports the school will provide, as well as when and where those services will be provided.
The group will decide what services and supports are needed to:
- Enable the child to meet specific education goals
- Participate in the regular curriculum, including extracurricular activities
- Be educated alongside nondisabled children
In creating the IEP, the group will discuss:
- Supplemental aids and services the student needs to participate in regular education classes and activities, including assistive technology, one-on-one assistance and modified curriculums.
Specific plans for each service and support, including:
- Date services will begin
- Minutes per session
- Frequency of sessions
- Location of services
- Person providing service
- Assessment and training plan for special aids and devices
- In addition, the IEP should include a description of any educational or extracurricular activity in which the student will not participate with nondisabled students and why.
✓ Review the IEP form before signing
At the end of the meeting, parents are asked to sign the IEP form, showing they agree with the education plan. Before signing, review the completed IEP form to make sure you understand all the details. You can take the form home and review it before signing, if you want.
Remember: You have the right to help determine how your child will be educated in school.
Disability Rights Texas would like to thank the Texas Bar Foundation for its generous support and for funding production of this video.
For more information on special education supports and services, call our statewide intake line at 1-800-252-9108 or visit our website at www.DisabilityRightsTx.org.