Nutshell Videos: Education Series

4 years ago

By Georgia Fruechtenicht

Individualized Education Programs (IEP) Nutshell Video by Georgia Fru (6:24)

An IEP is a written plan that describes the special education and related services that a student receives. The process is governed by a federal education law called the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). In order to be eligible for an IEP, a student must have an educational disability under state rules and the disability must impact the student’s education to an extent that creates a need for specialized instruction. Georgia Department of Education Parent Information Fact Sheets

504 Plan Nutshell Video by Georgia Fru (4:05)

The purpose of a 504 Plan is to remove barriers to learning and provide equal access to education for a student who has a disability. 504 Plans fall under two civil rights laws, the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, which prevent discrimination based on disability. “Disability” under 504 Plans is defined as a physical or mental impairment that affects one or more major life activities. 504 Plans offer support to students through accommodations. What is a 504 Plan at

Multi Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) Nutshell Video by Georgia Fru (4:23)

MTSS is a problem solving approach to identify and support students who are struggling. The struggle may be academic or behavior, or both. Support is added through interventions based on the students needs. If students do not make adequate progress with interventions, then the Student Support Team may refer a student for an evaluation for special education services. Each school in Coweta County has an MTSS coordinator who can provide more information.  A Family Guide to understanding Georgia’s Tiered System of Supports

Difference between IEPs and 504 Plans Nutshell Video by Georgia Fru (6:51)

IEPs and 504 Plans are different.  

1) Different laws create them. IEPs come from an education law. 504 comes from Civil Rights Laws.  

2) They define the word “disability” differently. IEPs have categories of educational disability and specific criteria. 504 definition is a more broad definition.

3) The level of support is different. IEPs offer individualized instruction based on a student’s unique needs. 504s offer accommodations that change the environment to remove barriers to learning.

4) Progress Monitoring. IEPs have regular reports with progress towards goals. 504s measure progress by general education report cards and assessments.

5) Funding. Districts get federal and state funding for IEPs. There’s no funding for 504s Plans. 

What’s the difference between an IEP and a 504 Plan at

Nutshell Videos: Disability Resource Topics

4 years ago

By Georgia Fruechtenicht

Supplemental Security Income Nutshell Video by Georgia Fru (3:16)

Pays disability benefits to children and adults who have disabilities and have low income. SSI recipients also get Medicaid.  SSI Fact Sheet

Katie Beckett Nutshell Video by Georgia Fru (4:41)

The Katie Beckett Deeming Waiver is a way to get Medicaid benefits even if you don't qualify for Medicaid. It "waives" the financial requirement and is based on the level of care that is required to take care of a child with significant disabilities and/or healthcare needs that is under age 18. Watch the video for a brief explanation and see the links below for more information.  Application on the Georgia Medicaid Website

Champions For Children Nutshell Video by Georgia Fru (2:00)

Champions is an Easter Seals program that provides funding for children with disabilities up to age 18. The expenses have to have therapeutic benefit. In order to qualify, the child must have been denied Katie Beckett based on not meeting the required level of care. 

Family Support Funding Nutshell Video by Georgia Fru (3:06)

Pays for disability-specific services based on individual and family’s unique needs. Eligibility includes having a diagnosis of developmental disability and not receiving other funding. Family Support Services info on the DBHDD Website

New Options Waiver/Comprehensive Supports Waiver Nutshell Video by Georgia Fru (5:54)

Also known as "NOW/COMP Waiver" or "the Waiver." Offers home and community-based services to individuals with developmental disabilities and intellectual disabilities. Eligibility includes meeting the level of care that would be required in an intermediate-care facility. May apply at any age, but more likely to be funded after age out of school. Funding is based on need and there are waiting lists. Application for Developmental Disabilities Services

Georgia Crisis Access Line (GCAL) by Georgia Fru (2:12)

Call GCAL at 1-800-715-4225. Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year to help you or someone you care for in a crisis. GCAL professionals will provide crisis intervention services on the phone, send mobile crisis teams to the location of the crisis if needed, and assist in finding resources. Guide to Mobile Crisis Services

Guardianship and Alternatives by Georgia Fru (3:57)

When a child turns 18, he/she is an adult. Parents no longer have a legal right to make decisions for them. Guardianship is a process where the court appoints a person (a guardian) to make certain decisions for another person (a ward). The court must determine that the ward is unable to make those decisions on their own. There are alternatives to guardianship such as supported decision making, powers of attorney, and releases of information. Guardianship Guide from the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities

Estate Planning and Special Needs Trusts by Georgia Fru (4:06)

If you do not decide what happens to your estate after you die, the state decides. Having a will gives you control. You may consider drafting a "letter of intent" as part of your will. If your child inherits money or property (from you or someone else), his/her benefits could be terminated. A Special Needs Trust protects funds so that an individual's resources stay below the allotted cap to receive SSI dollars.  An attorney can create a special needs trust.  Pooled Trusts are also an option. There are two pooled trust option in Georgia: 

1) Georgia Community Trust of BDI 

2) The Arc Georgia Pooled Trust