The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires the IEP Team to consider five special factors in developing, reviewing, and revising a child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP). The five special factors are listed in IDEA and read as follow:
(i) In the case of a child whose behavior impedes the child’s learning or that of others, consider the use of positive behavioral interventions and supports, and other strategies, to address that behavior;
(ii) In the case of a child with limited English proficiency, consider the language needs of the child as such needs relate to the child’s IEP;
(iii) In the case of a child who is blind or visually impaired, provide for instruction in Braille and the use of Braille unless the IEP Team determines, after an evaluation of the child’s reading and writing skills, needs, and appropriate reading and writing media (including an evaluation of the child’s future needs for instruction in Braille or the use of Braille), that instruction in Braille or the use of Braille is not appropriate for the child;
(iv) Consider the communication needs of the child, and in the case of a child who is deaf or hard of hearing, consider the child’s language and communication needs, opportunities for direct communications with peers and professional personnel in the child’s language and communication mode, academic level, and full range of needs, including opportunities for direct instruction in the child’s language and communication mode; and
(v) Consider whether the child needs assistive technology devices and services.
Comments about Special factors
- Positive behavioral intervention and supports is one of the most crucial aspects to an IEP, but also one of the most difficult to tailor. This is where a Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA) becomes important. As the name suggests, an FBA is used to create a hypothesis on the function of the impeding behavior using concrete observation and data. You cannot create positive behavioral intervention that will be successful until you first understand why the child is using the behavior in the first place. Once an accurate FBA is completed then the IEP Team can formulate positive behavioral interventions and supports.
- In the Congressional finding of IDEA it was noted that “In 2000, 1 of every 3 persons in the United States was a member of a minority group or was limited English proficient.” It is safe to assume that a decent percentage of children with IEP’s will also be limited English proficient. For this reason, it must be considered when developing a child’s IEP.
- Assistive technology device means any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of a child with a disability. The term does not include a medical device that is surgically implanted, or the replacement of such device.
- Assistive technology service means any service that directly assists a child with a disability in the selection, acquisition, or use of an assistive technology device.
- Children who are blind or visually impaired must be administered an evaluation before removing Braille as a means for providing instruction.