Special Education/IEP


Do I have to sign the IEP at the end of the meeting or is it possible to review it at home for a day and then sign? It's hard to make sure we haven't missed something important.

How is it determined if a teacher is highly qualified? Does this also apply to all consultants and  therapists?  If my son benefits from ĀBA can it be required that the speech pathologist have ĀBA training?

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Dear David,  Thanks for writing to me and for using this service!  I am very sorry that it took me a bit longer than usual to respond!  I hope my answer will be what you are seeking!  You asked two questions, one about consent and one about highly qualified staff, so here goes.  

1.  Unless this is your child's initial IEP, the parent does not have to consent to the IEP by signature.  The parent only provides a signature for the initial provision of special education and related services.  I have searched the Texas regulations for you.  On the TX site
, there is a link to this document which does a good job answering some common questions.

You will see that the consent requirements apply to the initial IEP and the evaluations recommended by the IEP team.  

There is a phone number and email address for the TX contact if you want to check whether what I am saying is accurate or get more information.  

The federal law only requires parents to consent to the initial provision of special education and related services through the child's intial or very first IEP.  The subsequent IEPs roll forward, whether the parent signs or consents, or not. The parent then has to file a request for a hearing to stop the team from implemementing changes with which the parent disagrees.  

I don't think that allows parents to be equal partners with the team, but that is my understanding of the TX regulations.  If this is the initial IEP, then yes, by all means, take it home and review it for as long as you need to be sure it is appropriate for your child!

OK, now on to question number two.  

2.  Highly qualified and a secondary ABA question.  

Here is the link to what you need to know about Highly Qualified Teachers in TX.  Get ready, it's 80 plus pages of information.  It shows the requirements for highly qualified for all age levels of teachers plus special education teachers.  


The HQ status relates to teachers and teaching staff.  Did you know that you have a right to know the qualifications of all staff working with your child?

The therapists and related service providers have thier own licensing and certification organizations.

Here at the first link, you will see the agency that oversees the licensing of the different therapists.  http://search.tea.state.tx.us/search?q=speech+language+pathologist&access=p&outp

You will also find that someone like a speech langauge pathologist is certified by the American Speech Hearing Language Association, ASHA, and the other providers have similar organizations that spell out the duties of the school based providers.  

As for your last question--if your son benefits from ABA, can it be required that the speech pathologist have ABA training...I would like to reframe your question so that it can be answered in a way I think has more teeth.  

Does your son require that staff and service providers have training in order for him to make progress, access the curriculum, and in general recieve a free appropriate public education or FAPE?   You must tie the NEED or REQUIREMENT that a service like staff training provides to his FAPE.  FAPE means that the child is making meaningful progress and receiving benefit from the services.  I would advise you to check out your son's progress reports from the speech therapist, the goals, and parts of the IEP related to speech, and the evaluation used to develop those parts of the IEP.  Determine if there is a documented need for ABA training, or whether the documents now show he is making progress even without that training.  That is a good starting place to let you know what you need to do in order to show that your son needs a certain trained staff.

Also, I would like to encourage you to be more specific when you request ABA training.  ABA is a large umbrella term which can mean many things in practice.  It describes a data-driven way to reinforce behaviors.  Many times, parents actually mean discrete trial training when they say ABA.  Here is an article showing what I mean.  The terminology is important because I would guess the speech pathologist would say she's already had training in ABA, as described as the umbrella term I referenced.


If you feel your son must have staff training in the IEP in order to recieve a FAPE, then the best way to accomplish this is to be sure there are evaluations which recommend that intervention, so that when you come upon questions or resistance, you will have a documented evaluation that demonstrates your son's need for the IEP team's consideration.  

Please feel free to ask me a follow up question as I know I've given you a lot of information here!  

Again,thank you so much for writing to me and I truly hope my answer has helped you as you advocate for your child!  I wish you the best!  

Michelle Davis
Twitter @abc4success  

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Michelle R. Davis, M. Ed.


I can answer questions about disability definitions and criteria for services, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 2004, No Child Left Behind, 504 plans, how to craft an IEP that drives the appropriate services, school placement, dispute options, and least restrictive environment. I worked in the public school system as a special educator and am now in private consulting practice where we assist parents as they navigate the special education process. I have expertise in all educational disabilities except blind/visual impairments and deaf/hard of hearing. This includes ADHD and other health impairments, medical conditions, dyslexia and learning disabilities, Autism, emotional disabilities, language processing problems, and interfering behaviors.


10 years as special educator and administrator in public school system; Director of ABCs for Life Success since 1998; Expert services such as analysis and testimony; Author: Special Needs Advocacy Resource Book: What you can do now to advocate for your exceptional child's education; Special Needs Advocacy Training Institute; internet radio show Teach Your Children Well: Hot Topics in Education; author School Success for Kids with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders released March 2010 (Prufrock Press).

Masters in Special Education with Emphasis on Inclusive Education (Johns Hopkins University); B.S.in Special Education (James Madison University); Conduct training for Universities, public and private schools, parent groups. Adjunct professor current George Washington University and prior George Mason University.

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