A major complaint that parents of kids with special learning needs such as attention deficit disorder, autism or learning disabilities have is that school districts do not provide their children with a quality education.
Every child has the right to have a good education. Parents can take steps to give their child a better future by standing up to the school district.
All students with special needs have the right to be evaluated by the school district to determine if they meet the qualifications under special education law for special support at school.
Trust your instincts; if you think your child is not learning normally, submit a written request to your principal to have your child tested. It’s very important to submit the request in writing. Don’t accept excuses such as, we’re too busy, or your child doesn’t really have problems, or that your child’s learning problems are your fault.
If your child has been tested and is receiving special educational services, you will be attending IEP meetings. These meetings can be very stressful and one sided unless you remember that you know your child better than anyone else. You are an important member of the IEP team. Even though the meeting is a negotiation, you and your child have rights granted by law.
Be sure to get a copy of the school’s draft IEP and all testing results before you go to the IEP meeting. You have the right to see beforehand what they found in their testing and what services and goals they intend to offer your child. If you don’t understanding the testing, reach out to a professional who understands educational tests and can help you understand what the results show and what services your child is entitled to.
Take someone who knows your child with you to the IEP meetings to give you moral support. Never ever sign the IEP at the meeting. Take it home and look it over to be sure it contains everything you agreed to at the meeting.
Special education law is very complicated, so remember that there is help available from advocates and attorneys. Consult a professional if you have come up again a wall and can’t get the school to listen to your repeated requests. Visit my list of educational attorneys and advocates in the Los Angeles area.
Want to know more! Visit my blog to get articles and radio interviews from special education attorneys about the best IEP tips, understanding IEPs, handling a due process hearing, or getting a great 504 plan for your child.
Dr. Kari Miller is a board certified educational therapist and director of Miller Educational Excellence, a Los Angeles based educational therapy facility whose mission is to bring about unlimited possibilities for underachieving students by guiding them to discover their true brilliance and use it to change their lives.
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