Any person who is 26 years old or less, has TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) and has not graduated from high school may be eligible for special education services in Michigan. A federal law, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), mandates that special education services must be provided to eligible persons. This law requires school districts to provide, at no cost, special education services to eligible persons with disabilities, including brain injuries.
Michigan law requires each school system to develop an educational plan for each eligible infant, toddler, child and youth. These programs are called the Individualized Family Services Plan (IFSP) and the Individualized Education Program (IEP). In addition, your school should provide counseling services to those students not qualifying through IDEA but who may need emotional or cognitive assistance.
The IFSP is for infants and toddlers from birth through age two who are experiencing developmental delays or who have a diagnosed physical or mental condition that may result in development delay. When possible and appropriate, services must be provided in natural environments, including the home, community settings and settings that are normal for children of the same age without disabilities. Family participate is an integral part of early intervention services.
IFSP progress is evaluated annually. Evaluations involve a number of people working with the child. The results of the evaluation, along with any other available information from the ongoing assessment with the child and family, are used to determine which services are needed and provided. Reviews of the IFSP can be conducted more often if necessary or if requested by the family.
For eligible students, a plan for appropriate services is written in an Individualized Education Program (IEP). The IEP is relevant for all students from preschool (at least three years of age) through high school graduation or age 26. The aim is to make sure all the requirements for the child's education are fulfilled. The IEP is a contract that is intended to respond to the individual needs of the child and family. The services offered to each child will vary depending on the type, level and severity of the disability. The IEP determines the types of education services and assistance for which the child is eligible. IEP's are transferable between school districts.
Development of the IEP is a group effort among school personnel (e.g., general and special education teachers and an administrative representative from the school district), family members (the parent and the student when appropriate) and other individuals (e.g., physician, social worker, case manager, etc.) who have knowledge or expertise regarding the child. The IEP is reviewed annually and each student receives a thorough re-evaluation every three years. However, if the child is not making expected progress, or if an unexpected event arises, an IEP can be reviewed and revised more frequently.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires transition planning for special education eligible students beginning at age 14 or earlier if necessary. A Transition Plan arranges an appropriate course of study as students move from adolescence to adulthood. Students will learn academic, vocational and life skills necessary for independent or semi-independent functioning.
If a student goes on to college and requires special accommodations, the student will need to "self identify" that they need accommodations which can be verified by a former IEP, section 504 plan or a letter from a doctor, clinical rehabilitation worker, certified social worker or psychologist. If the college will not make the accommodations, the student or their guardian will need to follow the rules under the Americans with Disability Act for requesting accommodations or to file a complaint.
Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 applies to any college or university that receives federal funding and states that "on otherwise qualified individual with a disability ... shall, solely by reason of her or his disability, be excluded from participation in, be denied benefit of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance."