Know Your Rights

Know Your Rights!

As parents we want the best for our child: the best childhood, the best care and the best experiences in school. Unfortunately, many things are out of our control and we lack the ability to impact them. Often times, parents feel frustrated and unable to influence the schools their children attend. However, it is crucial to know and understand that you have more power than you think and knowing your rights can make a difference for your child!

Parents are the ones that are around their children the most. That is why often times parents will realize there may be an issue going on that requires external assistance. Whether this be low gross motor functioning, low fine motor, speech delays or issues with the child's learning abilities, parents will frequently identify this and begin to worry. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) came out in 2011 and has changed the ways schools and parents can address the child's difficulties. It is important to know what benefits your child deserves to receive from the school districts and how to help your child.

If your child is struggling with verbal comprehension, math, reading, fine motor, gross motor, speech, etc. it is crucial to have him or her evaluated and diagnosed to allow him or her to receive the proper services for remediation and/or accommodations. Today we will specifically focus on learning disabilities, however this pertains to additional developmental delays and other issues that may arise. According to IDEA, as a parent you have the right to request your child get evaluated. The request can be submitted to the Director of Special Services at the school. The school needs to agree that the child is eligible for an evaluation, therefore it is good to have a substantial amount of proof and examples. For example: A child that struggles with word recognition, spelling and decoding. Even after the teacher has provided the child with extra help or you have provided the child with tutoring, nothing is improving. Ask the teacher to write a letter, provide various tests and examples that indicate the child has struggled, ask the tutor to corroborate the facts and gather as much information as possible to provide to the schools. This could be a sign that the child has the following diagnosis: 315.00 Specific Learning Disorder with Impairment in Reading (also commonly referred to as Dyslexia). This issue will not resolve with time and will therefore require more assistance to help the child grow and succeed properly. A child like this should get evaluated in order to help him or her in school! After writing or calling the school, if they deem the child eligible for testing they need to provide him or her with an evaluation.

Unfortunately, many parents do not know that they have more rights than simply being granted an evaluation at school. While many schools have wonderful staff that can provide great testing and evaluations, there are also many schools that provide evaluations that are not comprehensive enough. If a parent thinks that the evaluation did not address the child's specific difficulties and was lacking, you should know that you deserve more! IDEA includes section 300.502 Independent educational evaluation which addresses this specifically! This section states that children with disabilities have the rights to receive an independent evaluation. These evaluations will be provided from an external resource that is not hired by the school. Knowing this and fighting for this is very important because it can mean a world of difference for your child. Many children come to FOCUS for independent evaluations and using the right tools and proper assessments, we diagnose and provide them with thorough evaluations and goals to help attend to their needs.

Neuropsychological and Psychedocatuonal testing are extremely expensive and not covered by insurance. Knowing your rights and demanding an independent evaluation can significantly impact your child's well-being. Testing addresses various difficulties and disabilities the child may be struggling with, reassures and relieves the child of blame, will result in implementing an IEP that will help the child with these issues and can result in accommodations that will significantly improve the child's overall school abilities. If your child is struggling and you think it may be a significant issue that needs to be addressed, don't wait and use your rights from IDEA to help your child!
 
Based on information from the following websites:

https://www.ncld.org/archives/action-center/learn-the-law/individuals-with-disabilities-education-act-idea

https://www.parentcenterhub.org/iee/

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