Thursday, April 11, 2013

5 Things You Can Do to Prevent Cuts to Special Education From Hurting Your Child!

Are you the parent of a child receiving special education services from your school district? Are you concerned about schools around the country stating that they are broke? Would you like to know how to prevent cuts from hurting your child? Then this article is for you! The article will be discussing ways that you can ensure that your child continues to receive needed special education services!

Special Education services are considered an entitlement under Federal law and cannot be cut due to lack of funding. Children with disabilities have the right to be provided with all special education services they need and they must be provided free of charge. Some school districts also tell parents that there are waiting lists for certain services. Waiting lists also are not allowed under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 2004 ( IDEA 2004). So the truth is that children with disabilities are to receive all of the special education services they need regardless of cost or ability of the school district to pay for the services.

Below are a few ways that you can fight for the continuance of your child's needed services:

1. Gather data that your child continues to need the services. Save school papers, standardized testing, teacher comments, school psychological evaluations; anything that proves that your child needs the services.
Also if your child is not making educational progress they may actually need more intense special education services and not less, which you can advocate for!

2. Educate yourself about IDEA 2004 so that you will have the ammunition you need to advocate for your child!

3. Consider taking your child for an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE) so that you will have the ammunition that you need, to fight school personnel, when they try and cut your child's services! An IEE with a qualified professional who will not only test your child, but also write a comprehensive report, of all services that your child needs. You may take this report to an IEP meeting as your evidence that your child continues to need the services, they are receiving.

4. You may want to consider filing a state complaint with your State Department of Education for denying your child needed special education services or cutting needed services. Send all of your evidence in with your written complaint, because even though State Departments of Education are supposed to investigate the complaint they rarely do.

5. If you have a lot of evidence that your child needs the services and school personnel refuse to give them to your child, or continue stating that they will cut the service; consider filing for a due process hearing. This type of hearing is very formal and is heard in front of a hearing officer not a judge. If the parent files though the school district is required to hold a resolution meeting within 15 days to see if they can settle the dispute. The parent should bring a list of acceptable solutions to the dispute with them to the resolution meeting, and if at all possible a special education advocate! If a resolution is agreed upon it needs to be put in writing and signed by both sides.

Do not panic if special education personnel state that your child's services will be cut due to lack of money! There are things that you can do as your child's advocate! I would also recommend contacting a local newspaper and see if they would be willing to write a story on your child and the proposed cuts! Good luck because your child is depending on you!

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