From Emotions to Advocacy
The Special Education Survival Guide by Pam & Pete Wright
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FAQs: Resolving Problems and Disputes with the School
Q: Is the school responsible for ensuring that my child reaches the goals in his or her IEP?
A: No. The IEP sets out the individualized instruction to be provided to your child, but it is not a contract. The school is responsible for providing the instructional services listed in an IEP. School officials must make a good-faith effort to help your child meet his or her goals. However, the school is not responsible if your child does not reach the goals listed in the IEP. If you feel that your child is not making progress toward his or her goals, then you may wish to contact the school and express your concerns. The IEP team may need to meet and revise your child's IEP.
Q: What if I disagree with the school about what is right for my child?
the right to disagree with the school's decisions concerning your
cases where the family and school disagree, it is important for both
sides to first discuss their concerns and try to compromise. The compromise
can be temporary.
must either resolve your complaint itself, or it can have a system
where complaints are filed with the school district and parents can
have the district's decision reviewed by the SEA. In most cases, the
SEA must resolve your complaint within 60 calendar days.
also wish to call the Parent Training and Information (PTI) center
in your state. Check our Directory
learn a lot from talking to parents of children who are already receiving
special education services. There are many different local parent
groups. Find one, and go to a meeting. If there aren't any groups
in your area, contact the nearest group and ask for its newsletter.
These can be full of
your child gets speech therapy two times a week, and you think he
or she needs therapy three times a week. What do you do?
How can I support my child's learning?
Explain any special equipment, medication, or medical problem your child has.
Let the teacher(s) know about any activities or big events that may influence your child's performance in school.
Ask that samples of your child's work be sent home. If you have questions, make an appointment with the teacher(s) to talk about new ways to meet your child's goals.
Give your child chores at home. Encourage behavior that leads to success in school, such as accepting responsibility, behaving, being organized, and being on time.
Volunteer to help in the classroom or school. This will let you see how things work in the school and how your child interacts with others. It will also help the school.
that you and the school want success for your child. Working together
can make this happen.
What if I still have questions and need more information?
contact your state's Parent Training and Information (PTI) center.
Your PTI will have a lot of information to share about the special
education process in your state.
Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy
For information about Schools and the Rules of the Game, read Chapter 4. Chapter 5 is Obstacles to Success. Chapter 6 is Resolving Parent-School Conflict. You will learn how to resolve a crisis in Chapter 7.
For information about IEP Meetings, read Chapter 25, Preparing for Meetings and Chapter 26, Meeting Strategies.
More FAQ Sheets on FetaWeb.com
about Special Education - What Is it? Who is Eligible?
This article is an excerpt from "Questions Often Asked by Parents about Special Education Services", NICHCY Briefing Paper LG1 (4th Edition), September 1999.
NICHCY Briefing Papers are developed in response to questions and concerns of individuals and organizations that contact the Clearinghouse. NICHCY disseminates other materials and can respond to individual requests for information.
This document was reviewed by the U.S. Office of Special Education Programs for consistency with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Amendments of 1997, Public Law 105-17, and the final implementing regulations published March 12, 1999.
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