When your child with a disability starts school, you can run into a new set of problems. By federal law, your child is guaranteed a free appropriate education in their least-restrictive environment. What this means is that the school system has to accept your child into the school and they have to make necessary and reasonable accommodations for your child. Those accommodations can range from extra test time to a self-contained classroom with a one-to-one aide. In order to get those accommodations, the school is required to come up with a document called an individualized education plan, or IEP. However, getting that IEP isn't always that easy
An IEP needs to have your child's disability, the results of the school's evaluation, and a list of educational goals that need to be met. The IEP will also need to list all the accommodations that your child will need in order to meet those goals. It generally takes a few weeks and several meetings between you and the school to get that done. Once everyone is in agreement, the IEP can be signed. When the IEP is signed, it becomes a legally binding document, which means the school has to put the IEP into action. If that doesn't happen, you do have some recourses granted to you through federal law.
The first step that you have in order to get your child what they need is meditation. You and the school will meet with a neutral third party. That third party will listen to your case as well as the school's case. The mediator will help you come up with a reasonable compromise that will meet everyone's needs. One benefit of going through mediation is that you can get your child the services you need, the drawback is that mediation isn't legally binding. If mediation doesn't get you what you need, you have another choice.
If mediation fails, you can find a lawyer who specializes in disabilities, civil rights, or educational law to actually sue the school and school system. Going through the court system will come up with a binding decision. The school will have to stick to the agreement, as will you. It may take a while to get what you need for your child, but if the school system doesn't abide by the agreement, you can appeal to the judge.
Dealing with your child's disability can be difficult enough without having to fight with schools to get your child the appropriate education. If something happens, you can always go to a lawyer such asBruce K Billman and ask them for their help.Share