Native Language and the IEP Process

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Maryland State Department of Education DSE/EIS Technical Assistance Bulletin
Revised Aug. 15, 2017

If the Individualized Education Program (IEP) team is not cognizant of the native language of a student, it may not accurately assess what the student knows and can do. The IEP team must consider the language needs of the student as those needs relate to development, review, and revision of the student’s IEP. Moreover, if the IEP team is not cognizant of the native language of the parents, it may not fulfill its obligations to obtain informed consent because the parents may not fully understand the decisions being made and their impact on the student. The Technical Assistance Bulletin outlines the various areas in which native language adds a unique layer to the IEP process, not only with regard to oral communication but also the translation of certain documents.

Topics Covered:

  • How is “native language” defined?
  • How is native language related to informed consent?
  • Under IDEA, what information must be provided in a parent’s native language?
  • Under Maryland law, what information must be provided in a parent’s native language?
  • How does a parent request translation of an IEP document?
  • Do local school systems collect data on the language spoken in a student’s home?
  • What services are available to meet interpretation and translation needs?
  • How does the Maryland State Department of Education assist local school systems to support parents who speak a native language other than English?

Read Native Language Technical Assistance Bulletin, Maryland State Department of Education, Devision of Special Education/Early Intervention