Finding Your Child The Right Education

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Finding Your Child The Right Education [EXPERT]
What you need to know about the law and your rights when seeking special education for your child.

If you know your child is struggling in school, don't wait in hope that things will get better. Act on your child's behalf; get an assessment and find your child the support that may be needed. Here are the three basic steps you need to know to get the process started:

Step 1: Request that the school evaluate your child. Put this request in writing!  A school can easily deny that they received a verbal request but a written request documents the date of which it was made. This is important because the school system has 60 days from the date of your request to complete the evaluation. The school then must provide a parental consent for evaluation for you to sign, so ask for that upfront and return it quickly.

Step 2: Evaluation is completed. It is mandated in the law that this evaluation is "full and individual," meaning that the evalution must be focused specifically on that child and must assess all areas related to the child's suspected disability. The results of the assessments are what will be used to determine eligibility for services. If you disagree with the evaluation, you have the right to request an Independent Education Evaluation at the expense of the school. Most parents don't know this and the school does not inform you of this! Make sure you put the request in writing! 5 Ways Divorce Benefits Your Kids

Step 3: An IEP (Individual Education Plan) meeting is scheduled by the school and the meeting is held. The school system is required to do the following:

  • Contact every member of the IEP team, including the parents, and send notifications of the meeting.
  • Provide to the parents, with a minimum of 10 days of notice, the date of the scheduled meeting along with an opportunity to reschedule (if they are unable to attend the scheduled date and time).
  • Indicate, in the written notification, the purpose, time and location of the meeting.
  • Inform the parents of all members who will be attending the meeting.
  • Inform the parents that they can bring additional people to the meeting who have worked with or have additional/special knowledge about the child.

Parents are members of the IEP Team and as members of the team, if they don't agree with the plan that is developed, they have the right to disagree to the implementation of the plan until an agreement can be reached. Parents should also be active participants in the creation of the plan.

Article contributed by
Advanced Member

Leslie Petruk

Marriage and Family Therapist

Leslie Petruk is a Child & Family Therapist

Location: Charlotte, NC
Credentials: BCC, LPC, MA, NCC
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