Letter from the Office of Special Education Programs about transition plans for students with disabilities

In a June 22, 2012 letter sent to Disability Rights Wisconsin, Melody Musgrove, Director of the Office of Special Education Programs in the Department of Education, offered informal guidance about the responsibility of school systems to ensure that students with disabilities whose transition plans call for placement in work settings are placed in the least restrictive environment (LRE). Dr. Musgrove clarified that if a work setting is an appropriate transition service for a student, it must be included in the child’s individualized education program (IEP). She also stated that the LRE provisions of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) pertain to the employment portion of the student’s program and services in a segregated setting (work placement) if the use of supplementary aids and services (job coach, assistive technology) could not support the student in a less restrictive setting. The guidance indicated that schools should count students’ time spent in integrated employment settings as time spent inside the regular classroom. Finally, the letter said that IDEA would not prohibit a work placement in a segregated setting, but the LRE provisions would apply to the employment portion of the student’s program and placement.
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