A child with a diagnosis of delay or difficulty processing information may require help through schooling and beyond. Fortunately, the federal and state governments have provisional laws to allow children who meet these special needs to receive an equal education.
A family who needs guidance through the special education process may benefit from gathering information from different sources. Learn more about what some laws provide for a child going through public education.
What is IDEA?
The federal government implemented the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act or IDEA to set the standards for special education nationwide. The department sets standards and ensures that school districts comply with the requirements that every student receives equal access to public education.
What is the foundation of IDEA?
Educators and healthcare providers agree that early identification and intervention are vital to ensuring children proceed through school with appropriately designed instruction to address their individualized challenges. In general, schools are required to test children at various intervals along the way to discover underlying processing difficulties. In addition to parent and teacher feedback, private testing, and formal medical diagnoses, the results of these tests may help inform the school of the potential eligibility for a child to receive an Individualized Education Program or IEP.
How can a family ensure a child gets what is necessary?
If a family believes their child may be entitled to special education services, they should ask that the child be evaluated for this purpose. If the student qualifies for special education, the school will propose a course of action and is required to involve the family in the decision making process before adopting one. These supports, along with annual goals, accommodations, information regarding the student’s present levels of performance and more should be documented in an IEP. An IEP does and should change as a child grows and gains necessary educational and social skills and be re-visited annually. If there are sufficient changes in the interim, either the family or the school may wish to update the IEP more frequently.
A family who suspects that a school is not taking all the requisite measures to ensure their child receives the educational opportunity to which he or she is entitled may want to seek the help of a professional well-versed in handling special education disputes through informal steps and resolution, assistance at IEP meetings, or more formal dispute procedures.