What is a NAPSEC Program?
Over 6.7 million students with disabilities are being served through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) in the United States. Of these students, 3.4% are served in private specialized day and/or residential programs. IDEA requires that a continuum of alternative placements and services exist in order to address the individual needs of students with disabilities. NAPSEC member programs provide educational therapeutic services to both publicly and privately placed individuals that are not able to be successfully educated in the regular education environment. These services also include infants and toddlers served in early intervention programs and postsecondary college experience and adult living programs which serve individuals who have graduated or are over 21.
Continuum of Alternative Placements and Services
IDEA requires that each public agency ensures that a continuum of alternative placements is available to meet the needs of children with disabilities for special education and related services. The continuum required must include the alternative placements that are listed in the definition of special education under Section 300.26 of IDEA - instruction in regular classes, special classes, special schools, home instruction and instruction in hospitals and institutions and make provision for supplementary services, such as resource room or itinerant instruction, to be provided in conjunction with regular class placement. NAPSEC member programs represent the IDEA continuum by providing services for all ages and disabilities in private early intervention programs, schools, residential therapeutic centers and adult living programs.
Least Restrictive Most Appropriate Environment
IDEA requires that educational services to individuals with disabilities be provided in the least restrictive environment (LRE), meaning the most appropriate environment based on the individual’s unique learning needs. The law requires that individuals with disabilities must be educated, to the maximum extent appropriate, with individuals who are nondisabled. The removal of an individual from the regular education environment occurs only if the nature or severity of the disability is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily.
The law requires each public agency to ensure that a continuum of alternative placements is available to meet the needs of individuals with disabilities for special education and related services. The continuum provides a range of services to meet the unique learning needs of each individual. It includes instruction in regular classes, special classes, special schools, home instruction, and instruction in hospitals and institutions.
The principle of LRE is intended to ensure that an individual with a disability is served in a setting where he or she can be educated successfully. It is each individual’s unique IEP that forms the basis for the placement decision. Importantly, parents have the right to be members of the group that decides the educational placement of their child.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires each state must have in effect policies and procedures to ensure that all children with disabilities residing in the state who are in need of special education and related services, are identified, located, and evaluated. Child Find requires all school districts to identify, locate and evaluate all children with disabilities. This obligation to identify all children who may need special education services exists even if the school is not providing special education services to the child. This includes all children who are suspected of having a disability, including children who receive passing grades and are advancing from grade to grade.