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Special Education/excessive absences and homebound services


A new 9th grade student has an IEP that specifies Nursing Services for allergy management, asthma management and behavioral intervention, each for 15 minutes per day.  This is what the IEP specifies for conditions that, along with weather and other illnesses (e.g., bronchitis) the parent worries about in school, seem to keep this student at home approximately 8-9 days out of 10.  What are the school's obligations pertaining to homebound education in Arizona?  Homebound has not been requested, but this child is not getting much of an education this year. Self-contained or not, objectives and benchmarks are not been met, and important in-class exchanges are being missed.  Do you have any advice to dispense?

The school in this case is obligated to deliver special education service as stipulated in the IEP.  However, delivery of medical service is a debated topic...but it boils down to what the team put in the IEP, and I believe needs to be delivered.  If medical services can be provided by nursing care at home, or have a trained parent then you need only to supervise whether and how it is being delivered.

The Hoenig vs Doe case established a guideline for how long students can be out of school prior to implementing service.  While this was specifically addressing suspension and expulsion, it refers to "out of school."  I believe that this applies here.  When the child has ten straight or ten cumulated school misses the district should then make provisions for providing service in lieu of the child no being able to be in school.  If I were the director of that district's special education I would be offering homebound for extended absences to deliver only the services in the IEP.  When providing homebound it is not the same as the child being in class, but is better than just ignoring the need.  There are times when the child is so ill that even homebound won't be effective, but I would leave that to the parent to decide.

Legally, this one is not common, so you might find several opinions.  I always felt that it cost the district too much, in the range of 100K, to go to Due Process, so I erred on the side of caution, which I would do here.  

First, someone from the IEP team should discuss this with the district's Special Education Director, then the Director probably wants to call their Exceptional Children Program Specialist at ADE and get an opinion from them.  Then make a decision that is in the best interest of the child, staying financially responsible to the district.

Sorry it took me so long, have been out of the office.

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Dr. Norm Bishop


I have spent nealy 40 years in the area of Special Education. I have had the pleasure of teaching pre-school, elementary, middle, high school and college levels, as well as, served in school district administration buildings in classroom/legal support positions. I have also spent some time working in a State Department of Education Exceptional Student Services Office and am now currently Division Head and Director of Institutional Research at Alice Lloyd College in Pippa Passes, Kentucky. I also teach special education classes on campus. I have also taught full time teacher preparation at Northern Arizona University on the Tucson Campus, Seattle Pacific University, and at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, Wyoming. In addition to that I have taught adjunct at Seattle Pacific University, City University in Seattle, Ashford University, and Grand Canyon University.


I have experienced directly special education legal issues, process and procedure, and have taught at all levels in every special education category except gifted. My major expertise is diagnostic prescriptive teaching, literacy as it relates to disabilities, technology in special education, and Educational Leadership. My greatest passion in the field is building new programs, implementing and doing the research to see how they work. My Dissertation and principle research interest is in the area of inclusive education, primarily co-teaching of students with disabilities in the general education classroom.

Council for Exceptional Children, Association for the Supervision of Curriculum, National Reading Council.

Teaching Exceptional Children, Published computer assisted instruction, titled PAL, Special Education Basics, college Textbook, Teaching with Precision, college Textbook, Various devotionals at the website,

I have a B.A. in Secondary Education, a Masters in Special Education (cross categorical), administrative certification, and a second B.A. in Elementary Education. I completed my doctorate in Educational Leadership at Northern Arizona University.

Awards and Honors
Best Summer Program in the Nation (Honorable Mention, when I was Teaching) Multiple local awards

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