The Illinois regulations related to special education were recently revised, effective January 13, 2016. Many of the changes clarify language or remove provisions specifically applicable to prior years. Additionally, references to cognitive disability have been changed to intellectual disability and teacher certificate to educator license (particularly throughout 226.800 Personnel Required to be Qualified, 226.810 Special Education Teaching Approval, 226.820 Authorization for Assignment, and 226.840 Qualifications of Evaluators). The other changes, outlined below, primarily bring the regulations in line with recent changes to the School Code. Districts, charter schools, and cooperatives should take particular note of these changes.
- 226.125 Specific Learning Disability: Dyslexia. This is a new section that defines dyslexia and provides that it is one of several disorders included as a specific learning disability. The section also requires that students suspected of having dyslexia or identified as dyslexic be referred for a case study evaluation.
- 226.180 Independent Educational Evaluation. Previously, schools were required to send notice of an IEP meeting within 10 days of receipt of an IEE at public expense or within 10 days of parental request if the IEE was at parental expense. Under the revised version, the school must send notice of an IEP meeting within 10 days of receipt of an IEE, regardless of whether it was conducted at public or parental expense.
- 226.220 Development, Review, and Revision of the IEP. This section provides that a new IEP shall be implemented no later than 10 school days after provision of prior written notice (rather than 10 calendar days). The section also adds that if the new IEP is developed with less than 10 school days remaining in the school year, it will be implemented by the beginning of the next school year (or start of ESY if provided for in the IEP).
- 226.230 Content of the IEP. The revised section related to post-secondary goals requires goals in the areas of employment, education or training, and independent living (removes the “as needed” qualifier for independent living goals).
- 226.560 Mediation. This section now provides that the agreement of the parties to use mediation triggers “stay put.” If mediation is unsuccessful, parents have an additional 10 days to request a due process hearing to continue to invoke “stay put.”
- 226.570 State Complaint Procedures. The revision provides that when a state complaint is filed, ISBE will require that the school submit a written response and provide a copy to the parent or other complainant.
- 226.710 Policies and Procedures. This section states that a district’s (or cooperative’s) policies and procedures related to special education must be maintained and presented to ISBE upon request but no longer must be submitted to ISBE for approval.
- 226.800 Personnel Required to be Qualified. The subsection related to aides who do not hold an educator license now specifies that aides (who do not hold a nursing license) may not perform any nursing activity as defined in the Nurse Practice Act, including tube feedings, catheterizations, administration of medication, tracheal suctioning, tube insertions, blood draws, or dressing changes.