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Being absent requires documentation and communication

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Children or young adults with disabilities sometimes have to miss school. That is a simple fact. They may have illnesses related to the disability or miss school due to a variety of appointments. Even with notes excessive absences can be seen as truancy based off of school policy. Parents often do not realize this until it happens. It does and most times it happens because of lack of communication.

Parents first need to know the policy. If the student will be missing a lot of school, let people know and also know the reasons why. Get to know the school nurse. Have a doctor document in letter form what the illness or condition is and why the student may miss school. Parents should ask for this letter to be placed in the student file. Make sure the entire Individualized Education Program (IEP) team is aware of this issue and that it is noted in the IEP. If the student missing school impedes their learning at any point the IEP team should meet to discuss how the work can be made up.

Catching up on work can happen in a variety of ways. Such as:

• Extra homework each day following a period of time out.
• Homework sent home when the student is out.
• Home based instruction where a teacher comes to the home and teaches on a 1:1 basis for a certain period of time.

These are just some suggestions. The IEP team can decide on a solution.

If a parent gets a fine (because even these may be done automatically without the circumstances behind it) they should know the local district justice. Provide them with the documentation and it should be resolved. The bottom line is to document and communicate with others.

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