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Special Education

The school nurse is a member of the IEP team and should be contacted for all initial assessments, triennial assessments and any Special Education student who has a health condition that would impact school attendance/participation or academic performance.

After obtaining written permission from the parent (a copy of the Special Education Assessment Plan) the school nurse must review existing health records, including vision and hearing screenings, contact the parent to identify any health concerns and may request medical information from physicians, therapists or other sources that will be relevant to the special education assessment process. Observation of a student in the classroom, playground, office, or other educational settings may help the nurse to assess age-appropriate behavior or developmental status of the student. Nurses may also perform a physical assessment which includes some or all of the following: General appearance and manner, height, weight, blood pressure, vision and hearing screenings, and a health and developmental history.  This "health assessment" is done once for the initial assessment of a student being considered for special education services and once again every three years to re-assess eligibility.

Students who have a health condition which affects their daily functioning and requires school accommodations should have an Individualized Health Plan (IHP).  The IHP is developed by the school nurse in coordination with the student's health care provider and parents.  If the student also qualifies for special education then the IHP becomes part of the student's IEP.  A student in special education may require a Specialized Health Care Procedure (SHCP) to be performed during school hours.  The SHCP differs from the IHP in that it typically involves an invasive procedure (e.g. tube feeding, catheterization, tracheostomy suctioning), done on a regular basis that the student cannot do for himself.  School nurses must delegate some of the neccesary student health care services to unlicensed assistive personnel (UAP).  The school nurse is responsible for training, supervising, and evaluating the UAP in the performance of the SHCP.  See section on Individual School Health Plans for further discussion.

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