Questions and Answers
When you have a child in special education, the terms, acronyms, rules, and regulations can be complicated. Here are some answers to common questions about special education, and where to go to find more information.
Click below for answers to the following special education questions:
What should I do if my child has an IEP but is not making any progress?
Because you feel that your child is not making progress, it is important to request an IEP meeting as soon as possible. At this meeting, there should be a detailed discussion about the type of assistance your child is receiving and for how long each day. You should also ask her teachers if your child is making progress toward meeting her IEP goals and objectives. Request documentation, such as your child's work samples and assessments, to support their claim.
You can also contact the Parent Advocacy Resource Center in your state. They may be able to provide you with information, suggestions, and guidance specific to your child's needs.
Parents can be the strongest and most knowledgeable advocates for their children, so trust your instincts and don't give up until your child receives the type of education that she needs and to which she is entitled!
I am considering moving to a different state. Can my child, with an active IEP, transfer into another program? Who do I need contact to make this transition?
It is important to plan the move far enough in advance to make sure your childs current IEP is clear and specific before you go.
I am concerned my child's school is not really following her IEP. What can I do about this?
In addition, you may wish to explore LD OnLine's directory of Parent Advocacy Resource Centers.
Lastly, if your childs IEP is still not being followed, contact an educational advocate or special education lawyer. LD OnLine has a Yellow Pages directory that might be helpful to you and the Wrightslaw website has useful information. Remember to listen to your instincts and trust that you have tremendous insight and knowledge about your child.
How do I know when my child no longer needs an IEP?
Children with IEPs should be reevaluated at least every three years. This evaluation is often called a "triennial." Its purpose is to find out if the child continues to be a "child with a disability," as defined by IDEA, and what the childs educational needs are.
IDEA was originally enacted by Congress in 1975 to make sure that children with disabilities had the opportunity to receive a free and appropriate public education, just like other children. The law has been revised many times over the years. The most recent amendments were passed by Congress in December 2004. Because the law is continuously changed and updated, school districts must modify how to determine if a child has a disability. Check with your childs school to see what eligibility criteria they are currently using.
- The local educational agency (your childs school) is no longer required to consider a severe discrepancy between achievement and intellectual ability in oral expression, listening comprehension, written expression, basic reading skill, reading comprehension, mathematical calculation, or mathematical reasoning.
- A school may use a process that determines if a child responds to scientific, research-based intervention as a part of the evaluation process.
What does "adversely affecting educational performance" actually mean when considering speech services for a child? Does a child have to be failing to be considered eligible for speech services?
"Adversely affecting educational performance" is a phrase from the IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act). The interpretation of this phrase has been debated for many years. Many students are doing fine academically, but still have a speech impairment. Because school systems often include adequate oral communication as part of their performance standards, children with only a speech impairment can receive services.
You may find helpful information from the American Speech–Language–Hearing Association (ASHA).
If my son's therapist is absent, can a substitute with no special training fill in and work with students?
School systems do not always provide a substitute therapist for short term absences. In some cases, paraprofessionals work with a child. This gives the child more opportunities to work on a particular goal, but the paraprofessional must be supervised by a certified individual. Typically, if there is a substitute therapist, it is a licensed one. If you have further questions about your district's policies, speak with your therapist directly or the district director of special education services.