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Santa Cruz Special Education Law for Parents Blog

Making the second half of the school year better for your child

Students across California are returning to school after the winter break, whether they feel ready or not. Unfortunately, some students may be dreading this return, particularly if they had a difficult first half of the year.

If your child is among those who struggled, then there are ways you can help them improve their experience in the second half of the year.

Is your child's school delivering what it promises?

No matter where your child goes to school, you should expect that he or she will receive an education. And when the school specifically advertises certain educational approaches or services, you should expect your child to receive those as well.

Unfortunately, too many parents learn a difficult lesson when they discover a school has misled parents about its offerings. In some cases, these failures can and do lead to legal action. 

The importance of understanding a child's specific disability

No two students are exactly the same; every child learns a little bit differently. The same goes for children with learning disabilities -- or any disability, for that matter. Figuring out a child's specific needs can help teachers and school faculty tailor the educational experience accordingly.

For example, if your child has attention deficient and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), he or she may require help in the classroom. However, this doesn't mean he or she needs the exact same help or accommodations as another child with ADHD. This is especially true if your child is also a perfectionist.

Court orders L.A. county jails provide special education services

Young people make mistakes; they break the law and take risks. And teens who also suffer from conditions like learning disorders can have an especially difficult time when it comes to making good, safe decisions. Sadly, it is not uncommon for young people in California jails to have various types of learning disabilities and special educational needs.

Unfortunately, many jails and juvenile detention centers in the United States only offer a general education curriculum. This can be extremely difficult for special education students who go to jail.

Parents sue school over mistreatment of special education student

Last month, parents of a special needs student filed a lawsuit against their daughter’s high school for mistreatment by the special education teacher.

Their daughter attended special education classes during the 2015-2016 school year, where she was cared for primarily by the special education teacher. In the lawsuit, the parents argue that the teacher mistreated their daughter over the course of the year and later, after the teacher returned from a leave of absence.

Could your child's pediatrician help him or her in school?

A child with learning disabilities or special needs benefits greatly from added services and assistance in the classroom. And when these resources are tailored to a child's needs as closely as possible, there can be a greater opportunity for academic success.

As such, it is crucial to collaborate with the people who may be best suited to help a child and school work together when it comes to developing an Individualized Education Program or a 504 plan. Typically, this includes counselors, teachers, parents and school administrators. However, you might also consider asking your child's pediatrician to weigh in.

Chronic absenteeism and students with developmental disabilities

There are times when students must miss school. They may be sick, on vacation or tending to a family emergency. The hope for most parents is that their child will be able to catch up on missed work and there will be options to minimize any impact that the absence has on a student's performance.

Unfortunately, this doesn't always happen. In some cases, students miss so much school that they fall too far behind to catch up. They might fail classes or even have to repeat a grade. And while many people might assume these actions are reserved for truant or misbehaving students, they can and do affect students with developmental disabilities.

Are suspensions unfairly penalizing students with disabilities?

Discipline in schools is a highly divisive and nuanced topic. There are countless styles, strategies and statistics that lead to different conclusions and approaches. And just because one method of discipline works for many students doesn’t mean that it works for every student.

Because of this, it is important for schools to regularly assess their disciplinary policies and make changes when it is of detriment to some or all the students.

Who helps to create IEP plans?

Creating an Individualized Education Program (IEP) plan for a child is critical for students with special needs who depend on them. And considering how important they are, it makes sense that numerous parties will be involved in developing them.

This can come as a relief to parents who want to ensure all their child's needs are being met in the classroom because it means that there will be various perspectives involved in creating a comprehensive plan. In this post, we will look at the people who may attend IEP meetings and help in the creation of your child's plan.

Report: These are elements of positive special education programs

If your child has special needs in the classroom, then you likely go to great lengths to find academic options and programs that will not just meet your child needs, but also help him or her succeed.

This can be a difficult process, and parents often find quickly the solutions that do not work for their child, rather than the ones that are effective. However, a recent report could prove to be helpful to parents in this situation, as it reveals the philosophies and policies in California charter schools that serve as effective, positive ways to help students with disabilities.

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