Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Colorado Increases Translation Resources for Parents of Special Ed Children

On Saturday, Colorado Legislature passed a bill that will extend access to translated education documents for parents who don’t speak English fluently and who have children with disabilities.

The bill known as HB 1623 will help extend access to translator and interpreter services. Another bill would allocate $500,000 to which school districts can apply.

Parents and advocates have often expressed the need for translated documents for an individualized education plan process, known as IEP, which is a lesson plan specially designed for an individual K-12 student with special needs.

In order to develop an IEP, parents meet with school administrators and teachers on an annual basis. Federal law requires parents to receive a final draft in their preferred language. But education advocates say the final draft comes too late in the process to allow parents to make changes or ask questions about it, which includes technical language.

“I’ve seen the disproportionate impact that a language barrier brings, specifically in Latino kids. It’s going to drastically increase parental involvement in the IEP process. This is going to lead to us better serving students,” expressed Bri Buentello, a former special needs teacher and Director of Government Affairs for Stand for Children Colorado, an education advocacy group.