Are you the parent of a child with Autism, or a learning disability who receives special education services? Does your life with your child seem overwhelming, and you sometimes find it difficult to be the advocate for school issues, as you need to be? Or have you given up advocating for your child’s education because you feel that you cannot win? This article will give you 6 ideas on how you can overcome apathy, successfully navigate the special education maze, so that your child can receive an appropriate education!1. Realize that special education is an entitlement for your child under Federal Special Education law (IDEA 2004), and that he or she is depending on you to fight for the services that they need!2. Now that school is back in session, try and attend a few parent trainings (on federal and state education and disability law), where you can learn about the law, and gain important advocacy information, as well as meet other parents in your area. Look for groups that provide parent training at your States parent training and information center (PTIC), or local disability organizations such as the ARC or United Cerebral Palsey (UCP).3. If a local advocacy group does not exist consider starting one with other parents. Attend a few groups so that you can decide what is important to include in your advocacy group. Encourage all members to support each other in their advocacy efforts by perhaps attending each others meetings, or role playing certain situations that may arise. Bringing in knowledgeable speakers will empower your advocacy!4. Join online organizations that not only educate parents, but have access to knowledgeable people such as lawyers or independent evaluators. Consider joining COPAA (Counsel of Parent Attorney’s and Advocates http://www.copaa.org ); for a small yearly fee you can join the listserv that has parents, advocates, and attorneys discussing education advocacy issues. You may ask questions and seek advice on any advocacy situation that you are dealing with. By receiving expert help you will be empowered in your advocacy!5. Pursue an independent educational evaluation (IEE) to determine what related and special education services that your child needs in order to receive an appropriate education. Try and find a child friendly qualified evaluator that is either a Clinical Psychologist or a Neuropsychologist. It may take several months for an appointment so now is a good time to plan for the evaluation. Do not forget to mention your child’s need for extended school year services (ESY) if this is an issue with your school district-a recommendation from an independent evaluator that a child needs ESY is helpful to convince educators that this is needed. Ask your evaluator to put specific recommendations for amount and type of ESY in his or her evaluation report.6. Try and find another experienced parent or an advocate who can attend meetings with you, educate you on education law, give you advocacy tips, and share information on how you can overcome roadblocks to an appropriate education for your child. Experienced advocates can guide you through the process, as you successfully navigate the special education maze! Make sure any advocate you choose knows IDEA 2004, and your States education law, as well as a willingness to stand up to school personnel and roadblocks that special educators put up!Use these tips and you will well be on your way to overcoming special education apathy, for your child’s educational benefit!
Do you have a child with autism or dyslexia that is not receiving a free appropriate public education (FAPE) from their school district? Have you found a private school that has the knowledge and experience with your child’s type of disability-perhaps a school devoted to children with autism? Did you know that parents that place their children in private schools because they are not receiving FAPE, can be reimbursed for the cost? This article will discuss 4 tips to help you in giving your school district 10 day written notice for a private school placement, due to lack of FAPE.Tip 1: Contact a Parent Training and Information Center and try and get as much information as you can on how to fulfill the legal requirements for 10 day written notice. Every state has at least one PTIC, and most have experienced parents available to help other parents.The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) deals with the issue of 10 day notice at 300.148; the category is called: Children With Disabilities Enrolled by Their Parents in Private Schools When FAPE is at Issue.The law requires that at the most recent IEP meeting prior to removal of the child from the public school, you must inform the IEP team that you are rejecting the placement proposed by the public agency, state your concerns, and also tell school personnel of your intent to enroll your child in a private school at public expense. Reimbursement can be reduced or denied by a hearing officer, if Tip 1 is not carried out!Tip 2: Bring a parent input statement to the IEP meeting before removal, and include the following: your rejection of the schools proposed placement for your child, your reasons for rejecting the placement, your concern that your child will not receive FAPE, and also your intent of enrolling your child in private school. Make sure that the input statement is attached to your child’s IEP!IDEA also requires a 10 business day written notice prior to the removal of your child from the public school. Reimbursement can be reduced or denied by a hearing officer, if Tip 2 is not done!Tip 3: Write a brief letter to special education personnel in your school district and state why you think your child is not receiving FAPE, why you are rejecting the proposed placement, and that you intend to ask for reimbursement for private school due to the school districts denial of a free appropriate public education. Even if you have written a parent input statement that is attached to your child’s IEP, send this letter also. Date the letter, keep a copy, sign the letter, and either hand deliver the letter to the special education office or send by the post office Certified with a return receipt.Tip 4: Make your child available for any evaluations from your school district; prior to the actual removal of the child. If a parent refuses to allow their child to be evaluated, a hearing officer can reduce or deny reimbursement.School districts can place a child in a private school at public expense. Though most parents must file for a due process hearing, to receive reimbursement for a private placement, due to lack of FAPE. Try and find an advocate, another parent, or a special education attorney who is experienced in due process hearings. Many parents have won the right to have their children educated in private schools, due to school districts inability to appropriately educate their children. Good luck!
Help is available– and the law is on your side. Its promise is simple: Every child counts. Every child is entitled to an education. Every eligible child with a disability is entitled to a “special” education – one that confers “meaningful benefits.” That is what Congress has said. That is what the United States Supreme Court has said.The law protects every child. The law protects you as your child’s parent.Individualized Education Plan (IEP) – Every special-education student must have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) developed by a team that includes parents, teachers, school administrators, and other professionals. An IEP establishes educational goals and describes the special services that will be provided to the student.Due Process – Special-Education law provides many due-process hearing and appeal procedures.
“Section 504″Classroom accommodations are available to many students (K-12 and college) who have disabilities.There are only five modes of communication that can lead to a disability; they are auditory, visual, verbal, nonverbal and tactical communication.If your child’s disability is affecting their education, they may be eligible to receive services under the IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation act of 1973. The IDEA requires public schools to locate and identify children with disabilities who may need specialized education. These children must “have available” to them a free appropriate public education (FAPE) that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs” 20 U.S.C. sec. 140(d). Children with disabilities must “to the maximum extent appropriate [be] educated with children who are not disabled” 20 U.S. C. 1412 (e)(5).Many parents find themselves in a situation where their child is either struggling academically or having discipline problems in school. Often times, there maybe an unidentified disability causing these problem. If they do have a disability that is negatively affecting their education, they would likely benefit from special education services.Special Education services may include:
Speech and language therapy
Resource specialist programs
Modification of the regular education programs
Special day classes
Residential treatment, and many more.If you believe your child will benefit from special education services call a professional. Your child only goes through their education process once, so give your child the best chance for the future by making sure they have the type of education that helps them learn and succeed. Nothing is more important to their future.