Helping parents understand their child’s special education services through your local school district and special education advocacy.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) mandates that all children in the U.S. receive a “free and appropriate public education” in the least restrictive environment possible, provided by their local school district. While the process may differ from state to state and sometimes from school district to school district– the basic framework consists of an initial evaluation, followed by the development and ongoing implementation of a “504 plan” or an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). A 504 plan levels the playing field for students with disabilities, while IEPs focus on the provision of individualized, special education advocacy and related services.

As an Advocate I offer special education advocacy, I’ll help the parents and children with special needs, when a parent or teacher suspects that a child is having difficulties in the classroom learning environment, the child’s school’s special education department should be notified to test the individual child. If the school district finds reason to suspect a learning disability and the parents’ consent to an evaluation, the child’s school should plan testing with the following, physical, social, psychological, and behavioral development for the child to be assessed. After the findings of the assessment, the goal and objective are planned. Sometimes these steps can take months or years. This is where my team and I step in the help the parents understand their child’s legal rights. The parents and school committee joins together to determine whether the child should receive special education advocacy services. If so, an IEP team is assembled to create an instructional plan.

Your Child’s Rights – Schools must notify parents of any plans to evaluate a child or modify an IEP. Parents have the right to attend all IEP meetings and to request sessions to discuss potential IEP changes. They are entitled to an impartial hearing if they disagree with a course of action proposed by the school district. For info contact, Ms. Edwards at (707) 803-9889