JoAnn Collins asked:
Are you a parent of a child with autism, who has been told things,that are not true about your childâ€™s education, by disability educators? Are you a parent who is afraid to stand up to the
deceptions? Would you like to learn six disability advocacy tips, for standing up to some educators who are not truthful? This article will teach you easy to use parenting tips to help you in your fight for your childâ€™s educational life. These tips along with knowledge of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) will help you in your disability advocacy journey. I will give an example of a common lie that is heard by many parents, and follow up with six tips.
Lie: “I am sorry, we cannot give your child speech therapy, because the category your child receives special education under is a learning disability.” (Be sure that your child is tested in all areas of suspected disability! Some school personnel deny services without even testing the child, to see if the child needs services in a specific area such as speech).
Tip 1: Ask for, in writing, a copy of the state or federal law that the school person is using to deny needed special education services.(IDEA does not allow school districts to base services on labels, only educational needs). For example: “Could you please show me, in writing, the state or federal law that states that you have the right to deny my child an educational service that they need.”
Tip 2: If the disability educator made this statement in a verbal conversation, as soon as possible after the conversation, write the educator and quote what they said. Also, keep a copy. It may be necessary to write the special education person a couple of times, to get a response.
Tip 3: Use the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to strengthen your position. For Example: “IDEA states that the purpose of the law is to ensure that all children with disabilities have available to them a free appropriate public education that emphasizes special education and RELATED SERVICES designed to meet their UNIQUE NEEDS . . .Section 1400 Purposes.”
Tip 4: Tell the disability educator, in writing, that since they are not able to show you a state or federal law that states that your childâ€™s label determines service (it doesnâ€™t), that you stand by your position that your child needs speech therapy. Remember to be assertively persistent! Also, use testing to prove that your child is below age and grade equivalents to justify related services.
Tip 5: Consider getting an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE), for your child with a qualified person. For example: If your child has autism, consider taking them to a qualified person who specializes in autism. Make sure they are willing to write a detailed report to include recommendations.
Tip 6: Send the independent educational evaluation report to schoolpersonnel, and ask for an IEP meeting to discuss the evaluatorâ€™s recommendations. If possible, have the evaluator participate by telephone. This article has given you six parenting tips that you can use to successfully overcome disability educatorâ€™s deceptions. You have the right to hold special educational personnel accountable for giving false information. Good luck in your advocacy journey!