LRE and Transtion

Developed by the IDEA’s Partnership
Community of Practice on Transition
April 22, 2014
IDEA [email protected] 2014
Least Restrictive
Environments (LRE)
and Transition
• This presentation was developed by the IDEA’s
Partnership Community of Practice (CoP) on Transition
• The CoP includes decision makers, practitioners and
consumers from 12 states, 10 national organizations and
a number of federal centers that have expertise in
• Working together they discussed the issue, proposed the
content for each of the slides and developed the notes
that will help you to use this resource
• It is our hope that individuals at the state and local level
will use this resource to begin or advance the discussion
about the importance of integrated settings in school age
transition and beyond
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About this resource…
Did You Know?
In February of 2014, the Department of Labor established
that, nationally:
Of those that have been employed, the unemployment rate
o For people with disabilities is 14.3%, while
o For people without disabilities is 6.8%
This data is consistent with structured data collected
monthly every year since 2009.
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o 68.5 % of individuals without disabilities are employed, while
o 19.1% of individuals with disabilities are employed.
The Data Generates Some Questions to Explore
o How do school and adult service professionals envision the work life
of youth after graduation?
o Does what we envision influence the choices that we offer to students
with disabilities?
o Does what we envision influence outcomes for individuals with
o How is policy and practice around transition and employment
o What do you know …and feel… about the changes?
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o How do families and youth themselves envision the work life after
Does Least Restrictive Environment (LRE),
a key principle of IDEA, apply to transition,
job preparation and job placement?
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In 2012, Disability Rights Wisconsin (DRW) and
Wisconsin Board for People with Developmental
Disabilities posed this question to the Office of Special
Education Programs (OSEP):
The Context for the Question
… and the Answers
• Segregated employment is under examination
• In many places, sheltered work is no longer supported as a
work preparation or post school option.
• Judicial decisions clarify the direction for policy and practice
• Not all in the disability community agree. Policy clarifications
were needed
• Too many school- age providers have not made the practice
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• Integrated competitive employment receiving greater support
in states
Key Points from OSEP Response to DRW
Read the entire response using the link on the Resource Slide
‘The LRE requirements are a fundamental provision of Part B of the IDEA.
According to the LRE requirements in 34 CFR §§300.114-300.118, each
public agency must ensure that (1) to the maximum extent appropriate,
children with disabilities, including children in public or private institutions
or other care facilities, are educated with children who are nondisabled…”
“Placement decisions, including those related to transition services
(including work placement), must be based on these LRE principles and
made by the IEP Team.”
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“Nothing in the IDEA requires a specific service, placement, or course of
study, but leaves such decisions to the IEP Team for the individual child.
The IDEA emphasizes the importance of parental involvement and student
involvement, when appropriate, in the development of the IEP. “
Integrated Employment Litigation
o The Case
o The Finding
• Court found that OR invested too heavily in sheltered work options
• Court found that OR failed to invest in other options, including integrated
work and supported work options.
o The US Department of Justice involvement
• The Olmstead Decision (which defined an ‘integration mandate’ under
ADA) prompted The US Department of Justice to become involved. The OR
decision affirmed that ‘integration mandate’ does apply to employment
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• The lawsuit charges violations to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
and the Rehabilitation Act by “confining individuals with disabilities to
segregated settings where they have little – if any – interaction with nondisabled peers. Moreover, they are paid far below the state’s minimum
wage of $8.80 for doing rote tasks that offer no training, no skills, and no
Integrated Employment Litigation
Providence City and Providence School District - Providence, RI
• Filed by the Office of Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice
• The case asserts that the city failed to provide adequate support for integrated
employment options for citizens with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Citizens were paid a sub-minimum wages and had little or no interaction with nondisabled settings and peers.
• The case asserts that the School District operated a school-based sheltered
workshop for students ages 14 and over with intellectual and developmental
disabilities that transitioned youth and young adults directly to adult workshops.
• Between the school aged sheltered workshop and the adult workshop, citizens with
disabilities were subject to unnecessary segregation over many years.
o The Finding
• Both the school district and the city must invest in adequate supports for integrated
employment options
• Mandated person centered planning for students currently in the school-based
sheltered workshop and meaningful choices to their achieve post-secondary
employment goals
• Some citizens received financial compensation for years of work at a sub-minimum
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o The Case
Landmark Case
RI is considered to be a Landmark Case because
The actions are specific in:
odefinition of terms
Including: supported employment services, career development
plan, person centered planning, … and more
oessential components of a public system,
infrastructure and methods for public programs
Including: supported employment services, integrated day services,
career development planning, transition planning, interagency
collaboration …and more.
*Read the full analysis using the link on the resources slide
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opresumption of capability to work in an integrated
Integrated Employment Policy
o 27 states have Employment First policy
o 12 states have cross-disability policy. The rest focus specifically on
intellectual and developmental disabilities.
o 18 states have additional efforts underway, but no significant policy
Source: State Employment Leadership Network ( SELN), 2013
*Look for state specific information in the SELN document in Resource Slide
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o Employment First is defined as an official directive from a state
government agency stating that employment in the community in the
general workforce is the first and primary option for individuals with
disabilities and /or it is the intent of the state to move in that
Other Factors Impact Employment
• ‘Soft Skills’, sometimes called employability skills (work ethic,
communication, grooming, etc.) are important for all students,
including students with disabilities
• Benefits Counseling (accessing both work and benefits) is critical
to sustaining employment
• Transportation is directly related to getting and keeping
• Like employment, transportation can be segregated or integrated
• Like employment, integrated options should be considered first
• As with all integrated options, early and consistent focus increases
the likelihood of success
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o As you become more involved in learning and acting on
integrated employment issues, be aware of other factors
that advance employment opportunities and community
There is a National Focus on the Connections
between Transportation and Employment
o Accessible transportation is a national concern
• United We Ride is an initiative of the National
Coordinating Council on Access and Mobility
• Easter Seals Project Action is a technical assistance
center funded by United We Ride to promote universal
access to accessible transportation for people with
*Visit the links in the resource slide to learn about United We Ride and Project Action
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o Integrated transportation is an area of focus
Inclusive Transportation Means
• The tenets of Least Restrictive Environment pertain to
transportation services students receive in school and also across
school settings as students transition
• Students with disabilities use the same transportation as their peers
without disabilities
• Families, students, and educators learn about transportation
options through content embedded in instruction
• Educators, pupil and public transporters work together to develop
inclusive transportation supports and options for students
• Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP)
• Response to the letter from the Disability Rights Wisconsin: OSEP letter
o Cases (information on other cases available on LRE wiki)
• Oregon
• Rhode Island
• Olmstead
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o Employment First
• Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP)
• Employment First
• Employment First Leadership Mentor Program
• Integrated employment Tool Kit
• Soft Skills to Pay the Bills
• Association of People Supporting Employment First (APSE)
• Employment First
• Employment First Resources
• APSE Employment First Statement
• APSE Employment First White Paper
• State Employment Leadership Network (SELN)
• State Employment First Policies
• Employment First Resource List
• MAP of SELN Member States
• 2014 SELN Factsheet
• Alliance for Full Participation
• NGA Report: A Better Bottom Line: Employing People With Disabilities
• NACDD Report: The Time is Now: Embracing Employment First
• Wisconsin Partners in Employment grant tools “Let’s Get to Work”
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Resources cont.
Resources cont.
o Related Issues
• Transportation
• United We Ride
• Project Action
• Project Action Tool: Supporting the Transition of Students with Disabilities
with Inclusive Transportation Practices
• Disability Benefits 101 website
• RSA Technical Assistance guide
• "School Days to Pay Days” (Institute on Community Inclusion)
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• Soft Skills to Pay the Bills (ODEP)
Critical Dialogue
• In communities…with providers and families
• With youth and young adults with disabilities
One of these Dialogue Starters might help…
or revisit the questions on Slide 4 of this presentation.
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• In schools…with teachers and transition staff
Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental
Disabilities Have Been the Focus of Much of the
Sheltered Work Dialogue….
• In your view, is low expectations an issue that uniquely
impacts students and young adults with intellectual and
developmental disabilities?
• In your view, what impact does the expectation for
competitive employment have on our view of services to all
students with disabilities?
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The Office of Civil Rights commented on the employment
litigation by warning that “low expectations can shape service
Many sheltered work arrangements were originally
designed as ‘transitional’ employment options
o Sheltered workshops are ineffective at transitioning
individuals with disabilities to integrated employment;
o Only 5% of sheltered workshop “employees” transition
into community-based jobs
Why do young adults persist in sheltered work
long after they leave high school?
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In August 2012, the National Council on Disability (NCD)
issued a report on subminimum wage and supported
employment. Some of the key findings of the research
Many wonder how quickly the system can retool
to move away from sheltered work…
• In some cases, when sheltered work has been eliminated,
segregated Day Developmental programs begin or increase.
Note: The RI decision addressed day developmental programs and
made it clear that all habilitation services must not ‘unnecessarily
segregate’ individuals with disabilities.
• In your view, where are the gaps related to providing
training and placement into competitive integrated work
o Knowledge gaps
o Skill gaps
o Other….
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What is your reaction to this system response?
Through informal polls* , we have learned that some
practitioners and family members believe that
sheltered work is an acceptable employment outcome
for some students … or in some situations?
o Do you know what families in your local area know and
believe about this issue?
o How will you use this presentation to help you begin your
local dialogue?
* Polls were conducted on a national webinar and LRE /Employment presentations in 3 states
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o Do you know what practitioners in your local area know
and believe about this issue?
For more information about the
IDEA Partnership
The IDEA Partnership is funded by the U.S. Department of
Education Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) and is
part of the Technical Assistance and Dissemination network
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Visit the website:
Call toll free line at: 1-877-IDEA INFo

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