It is important that children get a good education, but difficulties can get in the way. Physical challenges, developmental delays and behavioral issues may put your child at an academic disadvantage. 

All children in America have the right to a free appropriate public education, according to U.S. law. Your child may need extra support for educational success, yet you may encounter problems getting that support. Many parents find they need someone in their corner as they advocate for their children. Below are some common issues you may encounter when dealing with special educational needs. 

Disability identification

Your child can qualify for special education services if he or she has a disability covered under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and if that disability sufficiently impedes learning. The school will determine this by performing an educational evaluation. 

Your child may not qualify for services. The school may determine that your child does not have a covered disability, or that the disability is not severe enough. If you disagree with that decision, you may ask for further evaluation, mediation or a hearing. 

On the other hand, your child may qualify for services. In that case, you and the school staff design an individualized education plan for your child. 

Parental inclusion

As a parent, your input is crucial to creating a suitable IEP. However, many parents can feel kept out of the loop. Scheduling conflicts may make it difficult to attend IEP meetings. Your child’s school may not inform you of your rights under the IDEA. Know your rights and those of your child. Do not let the school neglect to fulfill their legal obligations. 

IEP implementation

The best-designed IEP is useless without follow-through. Check with the school and with your child often to be sure the IEP is being executed. You, your child and the school should constantly assess which accommodations are working and which need modification. Schools may prefer not to implement costly or inconvenient measures even if they are the ones that would best serve your child. Your ongoing commitment to your child’s education is critical to your child’s academic success.