Special Education

Questions and Answers on Individualized Education Program (IEP) Development, The State's Model IEP Form and Related Documents

Student Needs Related to Special Factors - Updated April 2011

The following questions and answers address some of the important issues raised by requests for clarification of the federal and State requirements for IEPs.  This document will periodically be updated.  This guidance does not impose any requirements beyond those required under applicable law and regulations.  This document supersedes any previously issued guidance on this topic.

If you have questions regarding the IEP form and related requirements, you may submit them to the following mailbox:  SEFORMS@nysed.gov.


  1. Under Student Needs Relating to Special Factors, after the check-box for Assistive Technology Device or Service, there's also a check-box for whether the CSE recommended use of the device in the home.  What are the criteria for determining whether an assistive technology device is necessary for home use in order to provide a free appropriate public education to the student?
    The need for assistive technology is determined on a case-by-case basis, taking into consideration the unique needs of the individual student. If the CPSE or CSE determines that a particular assistive technology item is required for home use in order for a particular child to be provided FAPE, the technology must be provided to implement the IEP.  In making a recommendation as to whether a student needs the use of the assistive technology device at home, the CPSE or CSE should consider such factors as whether the student needs the assistive technology device at home to prepare homework assignments or to engage in functional skills at home or in other environments related to his/her instructional program. 
  2. In the Student Needs Relating to Special Factors section of the form, if the answer to the question, "Does the student need a particular device or service to address his/her needs?" is "No", what are the valid responses to the subsequent question, "In the case of a student who is deaf or hard of hearing, does the student need a particular device . . . -"No", or "Not Applicable ?"
    It depends.  If the student is deaf or hard of hearing, but does not need a particular service or service in consideration of the student's language and communication needs, etc., then the form would indicate "no."  If the student was not deaf or hard of hearing, then the form would indicate "not applicable."
    If the answer to the first question for a student is "No", can the response to the second question ever be "Yes"?
    No
  3. What might be some special education services to address the language needs of a child who is limited English proficient (LEP)or English language learner (ELL)?

    For all LEP/ELL students with disabilities the Committee must consider how the student’s language needs relate to the IEP.  Schools must provide a student with LEP with alternative language services to enable him/her to acquire proficiency in English and to provide him/her with meaningful access to the content of the educational curriculum that is available to all students, including special education and related services.  The Committee should consider the following questions:

    • Has the student been assessed in English as well as his/her native language?
    • Did the evaluation of the student with LEP measure the extent to which the student has a disability and needs special education rather than measure the student’s English language skills?
    • Does the disability impact on the student’s involvement and progress in the bilingual education or English as a second language (ESL) program of the general curriculum?
    • What language will be used for this student’s instruction?
    • What language or mode of communication will be used to address parents or family members of the student?
    • What accommodations are necessary for instruction and testing?
    • What other language services (i.e., ESL, bilingual education) must be provided to ensure meaningful access to general and special education and related services?

    Examples of special education services needed to address the student’s needs might include, but are not limited to, interpreters, bilingual speech and language therapy, bilingual counseling and bilingual special class.

  4. Can a school district attach a behavioral intervention plan (BIP) to a student’s IEP?
    Yes.  A school district may provide a copy of the student’s BIP with the IEP.  However, the BIP is not a required component of a student’s IEP. 
  5. Must a student’s BIP be part of the IEP?
    No.  There is no requirement to include a student’s BIP as part of that student’s IEP.  However, regulations require that a student’s need for a BIP be documented in the student’s IEP.
  6. What is expected to be entered in the text box following indication that the student needs a BIP?

    If a Committee determines that a student needs a BIP, the IEP must indicate that need.  In addition, other information related to a BIP is required to be included in a student’s IEP, if applicable to the individual student.

    • If a student’s BIP will include the use of a time out room for a student, the IEP must include this recommendation as well as a recommendation as to the maximum amount of time the student will need to be in a time out room as a behavioral consequence as determined on an individual basis in consideration of the student’s age and individual needs.
    • In addition, if applicable, other information relating to a student’s BIP as required by section 200.22(e)(9) of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education must be identified in an IEP.

    The Committee could, but is not required, to include other information related to the BIP as it deems appropriate (e.g., identify behaviors to be addressed by the BIP).

  7. For students with severe needs, where do items such as harnesses and helmets belong on the new IEP forms?

    If a student needs an intervention that is medically necessary for the treatment or protection of the student (such as a soft helmet for a student with a seizure disorder), these needs could be appropriately identified under the Present Levels of Performance section of the IEP.  Devices needed to address special transportation needs of the student would be documented under the ‘Special Transportation’ section of the IEP.  However, a Committee may not recommend and a school may not use movement limitation, including helmets and harnesses, to address student behavior1. See http://www.p12.nysed.gov/specialed/publications/policy/BIattach-909.htm.
  8. Should use of a time out room be documented in a student’s IEP?
    Yes.  Section 200.22(c)(2) of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education requires that a student’s IEP specify when a BIP includes a recommendation for the use of a time out room for a student with a disability.
  9. In the section Consideration of Special Factors there is a text box to add clarification in the area of behavior.  There are no text boxes or extra space for clarification for the other factors.  For example, if a student needs assistive technology, you check yes but there is no way to comment on what that device may be.
    The specific recommended special education program or service is not identified in the Consideration of Special Factors chart; only that the student needs a device or service in order to receive FAPE.  If the student needs an assistive technology device, the specific device and/or services would be documented under the section Assistive Technology Devices and/or Services.  The additional text box related to behavior considerations has been added to document specific needs of the student to be addressed by the BIP (e.g., use of a time out room). 
  10. In the Student Needs Relating to Special Factors section of the IEP, if a student needs speech/language services does that go here?  Does the portion of this section of the IEP having to do with communication needs apply to every student who has communication needs or only to students who are deaf and/or hearing impaired? (Added 4/11)
    If any student needs a particular device or a service to address his/her communication needs, that is indicated under the Student Needs Relating to Special Factors section of the IEP by indicating "Yes" in the box in that section.  The particular service or device needed will be recommended by the Committee during the course of the meeting and will be documented in the section of the IEP entitled Recommended Special Education Programs and Services.
  11. Regarding the Student Needs Relating to Special Factors section---if a student is recommended for Speech Therapy (either in conjunction with a program or as a related service only), is it automatic for a district then to mark the Yes box for the Communication Needs area of this new section? (Added 4/11)
    If any student needs a particular device or a service, including a related service, to address his/her communication needs,  a ‘Yes’ must be indicated in the box in “Special Considerations” section of the IEP.  The particular service or device needed would be documented in the section of the IEP entitled Recommended Special Education Programs and Services.
  12. In the Student Needs Relating to Special Factors section of the IEP addressing special considerations for students with limited English proficiency, must this section be checked as "Yes" for every student with limited English proficiency? (Added 4/11)
    The IEP must include documentation that the Committee considered special factors related to the language needs of students with limited English proficiency in the development of the student’s IEP.  If the Committee determines that a student requires a special education service to address his/her language needs as they relate to the IEP, the applicable box in this section of the IEP would be checked "Yes."  The Committee must ensure that a device or service, including an intervention, accommodation or other program modification needed for the student to receive a free appropriate public education is indicated in the IEP under the applicable section of the IEP.  Not all students who are limited English proficient may need a special education service to address his/her language needs as they relate to the IEP.  In this case, the "No" box would be checked.
  13. Why isn’t “Orientation and Mobility” included in the Student Needs Related to Special Factors section of the IEP for students who are blind and visually impaired? (Added 4/11)
    The State’s IEP form includes in this section only those special factors a Committee must consider that are required by federal and State regulations and that are in addition to the factors that must be considered for all students (the results of the initial or most recent evaluation; the student’s strengths; the concerns of the parents for enhancing the education of their child; the academic, developmental and functional needs of the student).  
  14. If “yes” is checked on the Consideration of Special Factors section for “student needs strategies, including positive behavioral interventions,” and “no” that they do not need a behavioral intervention plan (BIP), is there a way to document why a BIP is not needed? (Added 4/11)
    The IEP does not need to specify why a BIP is not recommended.  As applicable, consideration of a student's need for a BIP should be provided to a parent in prior written notice.  However, there is a text box on the State’s IEP form in this section where a district could choose to provide such an explanation.
  15. If the student does have behaviors that impact his or her learning or that of others and the "yes" box is checked in the Student Needs Relating to Special Factors section of the new IEP, could there be an instance where there is not a need for a BIP?  One such scenario could be that the behaviors are controlled/managed through program accommodations and/or a class-wide positive behavior support.  How would this be documented in the IEP? (Added 4/11)

    In the case of a student whose behavior impedes his or her learning or that of others, the Committee must indicate on the IEP form if the student would need strategies, including positive behavioral interventions, and supports and other strategies to address that behavior.  If, after considering the needs of the student, the Committee determines that strategies and supports are needed, the box must be checked “Yes.”

    Does the student need strategies, including positive behavioral interventions, supports and other strategies to address behaviors that impede the student's learning or that of others?   Yes   No

    If the Committee determines that the student needs a BIP as one of the strategies/supports, the IEP form must also indicate this recommendation.

    Does the student need a behavioral intervention plan?   No   Yes:  To address self-abusive behaviors.

    If the Committee determines the student needs strategies/supports to address the behavior, but does not need a BIP, the ‘No’ box is checked.

    Does the student need a behavioral intervention plan?    No    Yes:

    The other strategies/supports, including program accommodations, needed by the student to address his/her behaviors must be indicated elsewhere in the IEP form under the “Recommended Special Education Programs and Services” section of the IEP.

  16. If “yes” is checked in the “Does the student need a behavioral intervention plan” box, is it appropriate to add the need for physical intervention to be used at times when the student’s aggression is an imminent safety concern? (Added 4/11)
    The IEP must, in the case of a student whose behavior impedes his or her learning or that of others, include strategies, including positive behavioral interventions and supports and other strategies to address that behavior.  Physical intervention can only be used in emergency situations consistent with State regulations and should never be considered as a planned intervention to address the student’s behavior. 

1As of the date of this publication, there is an exception to this prohibition only for 18 specific named students attending one out-of-State residential school pursuant to section 200.22(e) of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education.  This exception does not apply to any other NYS students attending public or private schools.   

Last Updated: March 28, 2014