When you have a child with a disability, like autism, Down syndrome and cerebral palsy, it’s tough to navigate the school system. Unfortunately, school districts often worsen this situation by not supplying the special education support that children with special needs are entitled. When that happens, the best thing that you can do as a parent is to learn what your rights are and seek educational advocacy.
What Are Your Rights?
If your child has a developmental disability, California public schools must hold an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) team meeting with you. At this meeting, they are supposed to work together with you to assess your child’s needs and figure out what extra educational resources they will provide. The schools legally must supply these resources, but many do not.
Sometimes it feels impossible to challenge these decisions on your own. Schools are not penalized with fees if they don’t give your child with special needs the support he is entitles to, so they will often turn down parent requests so they can save money. This can mean that your child will not receive tutoring, specialized classes, or direct contact with educators specially trained to work with children who have disabilities. Children with developmental disabilities who lack these resources have a significant disadvantage in life.
Some parents try to figure out how to provide these resources on their own but hiring your own special needs education team or opting for private school can costs tens of thousands of dollars per year. This is a cost most parents cannot bear and shouldn’t have to accept.
Get an Educational Advocate
School districts know what they are required to provide, but they also know that if they choose not to offer them, you will not fight the decision, or you won’t know how. That’s where an educational advocate organization comes in.
An advocate will help you create an IEP that will boost your child’s learning outcomes. They can research the proper services for your child and attend IEP meetings with you. Most importantly, they know the laws and will make sure your IEP team and school district are doing what they are supposed to do. If needed, they can file for hearings and represent you at those hearings.
If you have a special needs child, don’t miss out on your legal right to an education that works for your child.
If you feel overwhelmed and you need help, please contact us.
American Disability Association is dedicated to the wellbeing and protection of children with disabilities and actively provides support to enhance their quality of life. Whether you are dealing with federal or state benefits or struggling with a school district to get proper education for your child, we have the resources to help you. Many individuals and families managing a disability are not aware of the wide array of services available to them, or they do not know how to apply for these benefits in a way that is likely to succeed.
Contact us for help. Dial (877) 283-4807 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.