OSEP Provides Favorable Response to BPDD/DRW
OSEP provides favorable response to BPDD/DRW query about Least Restrictive Environments for youth in transition
Two Wisconsin advocacy groups, Disability Rights Wisconsin and BPDD wrote a letter to the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) asking for more guidance on least restrictive environment for youth receiving community-based transition services. OSEP responded with a favorable letter on June 22, 2012. BPDD and DRW believe the letter provides more guidance to states on how to apply LRE to work placements. Specifically, the letter makes these points.
- USDOE clearly states that transition services are a coordinated set of activities for a child with a disability that are designed as part of a results-oriented process. This process is meant to help the child move to post-school activities, including integrated employment (which includes supported employment).
- Transition services (including work placements) should be based on a child’s strengths and interests.
- USDOE clearly states that a work placement if it is included as part of a youth’s transition service's must be included in the child’s IEP and then is subject to provisions of a Free and Appropriate Public education (FAPE) and Least Restrictive Environment (LRE).
- USDOE clearly states that when work placements are part of transition services, they must meet the LRE test, which includes the IEP team’s determination that the youth is only receiving services in a segregated setting (segregated work placement) if the use of supplementary aids and services could not support the youth in a less restrictive setting. We believe those supplementary aides and services can include job coaches, job carving, and assistive technology.
- USDOE clearly states that, just as the LRE test applies in the classroom, supplementary aids and services based on peer reviewed research must be provided to the youth to help him or her make progress in the work placement setting. An IEP team must consider those aids and services that can help the student participate with non-disabled peers.
- USDOE clearly states that State Educational Agencies (Department of Public Instruction in Wisconsin) have the responsibility to monitor whether LRE is being met for youth in work placements. Therefore, a district would be expected to show a variety of work placements based on the strengths and interests of the youth.