Part 17 - Special Education Interpreting: Challenges and Legal Aspects By. Silvia Gonzalez Koch



This edition of NASET’s Assessment in Special Education series was written by Silvia González Koch from Arlington Public Schools, Virginia.  This article provides analysis of the challenges that educational language interpreters face in providing services in Special Education procedures and focuses on interpreting in Eligibility Meetings. The author provides relevant information about special education and the laws that guide it, as well as resources and ideas for coping with these challenges

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Addendum Resources

Interpreters will find useful text and media resources. The following are recommended as a starting point; they focus on Special Education in the state of Virginia; however, interpreters will find a wealth of resources for various states, as well. Special Education law, processes, and terminology are very similar across the United States, although states are allowed limited authority to determine aspects of Special Education.

1. Definition of Special Education.

a .A Parents’ Guide to Special Education, developed by the Virginia Department of Education will help interpreters understand Special Education. It describes the law, processes, procedural safeguards, parental rights, helpful acronyms, abbreviations, and a glossary of Special Education terms.

2. Special Education law.

a.The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Special its history and categories are explained by the group, UnderstandingSpecialEducation.

b.The Center for Parent Information and Resources offers information, in English and Spanish, about the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, enacted by Congress in 1975 as well as about recent amendments.

c.Published by, How IDEA Protects You and Your Child, provides a clear explanation of the purpose and services of IDEA.

3.Special Education process.

a.The steps in the special education process are shown by the

Virginia Department of Special Education in

4.Special Education terms.

a.An extensive list of Special Terms and Definitions is offered by Understanding Special, at

b.This extensive Glossary includes terms translated from English to Spanish.

c.Special Terms and Definitions commonly used in meetings for development of Individual Education Programs (IEP) are explained by Understanding Special at

5.Procedural safeguards.

a.The Virginia Department of Education offers information about Special Education, including Virginia Procedural Safeguards, in English and in seven other languages, at

  1. ment of Education offers information about Special Education, including Virginia Procedural Safeguards, in English and in seven other languages, at

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