Reimagining Education

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What do I do if the school won’t offer me an IEP evaluation?

Again, another call from a parent desperately seeking solutions for her child:  a Mother whose 3d grade child is struggling in a Missouri public school called asking “What can I do?”

The situation:  Her child, now in 3d grade, acts out in class, and though the child has been receiving A’s and B’s, she questions the merits of the reporting and fears her child is not learning.  The Mother says she knows her child can learn, but she is quite certain by now that her child has some type of learning disability.

Has this child been advanced socially so the school does not have to address the problem?  IEPs and special education can be costly and very involved.  Perhaps there is nothing nefarious and the disability has simply gone unnoticed, but it finally is catching up?  Is there a disability at all?  And if not, what exactly is the problem?  To continue punishing this child is not working.

The Mother said she requested an evaluation of the child to see if there is a learning disability over 100 days ago and has received no response.

Now, I know as a Mother that 3d grade really advances beyond the basics of the child’s prior school experiences and it is critical that the child have all the basic learning skills under their belt by 3d grade.  So, if those skills were not built, you will really begin to see problems at the 3d grade level.

Again, I must inform her that I am not an advocate.  However, I do know a few things…and a few people, like a special education specialist.  Here is what the expert said:

“The district is to respond with an evaluation within 30 days…so this mom can file a complaint against the district by calling DESE.  This is the action most likely to get results, because it leads to a child complaint and due process (which is costly and the district definitely does not want to occur).

Calling the appropriate person at DESE to file a complaint against the district is the most expeditious route for the parent and they should get the results they are seeking:  attention to their child’s educational needs.”
Soon I will have all this information posted to our resources page, now under development.  For now, here’s a link to the DESE website for special ed:

Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Special Education Division

I offered other information as well, already found on our resources page that any parent starting out on the path of specialized education for their child should know,  like “What Every Parent Needs to Know About IEPs” and the US Dept. of Special Ed. IEP Guide.  A law called the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act guarantees the right to a quality education to people with learning disabilities.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a law ensuring services to children with disabilities throughout the nation. IDEA governs how states and public agencies provide early intervention, special education and related services to more than 6.5 million eligible infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities.

Most importantly, I encouraged this Mother to educate herself on her rights and to become the very best advocate for her child.  I pointed her to agencies that offer support and advocacy training and I truly hope she will work it with the school.  Then, in case she is not successful with the school, I told her about our financial assistance and parent training program.

I simply cannot wait until our prgram launches this next spring!  Then maybe I’ll know what it’s like to be Superman!!

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