Developing an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for your child is a time intensive process. The school evaluates your child, analyzes their learning style, schedules meetings with you and the rest of the IEP team and makes recommendations for your child’s education. What if you disagree with the school’s recommendation after investing all of that time and energy?
You know your child better than anyone else, and you are better equipped to provide the school with important insight into your child’s needs and learning style. If you feel uncomfortable with the school’s proposed IEP, voice your concerns to the IEP team. You are able to challenge the team’s decision on your child’s eligibility, the school’s evaluation, placement plan and services that your child will receive.
If you are unable to reach an agreement with the IEP team, you may ask for mediation, request a due process hearing or file a complaint with the California education agency.
- Mediation: If you pursue mediation, a third party hears the details of your child’s assessment, and helps both parties come to an agreement. The third party will be an impartial individual who has not been involved in the process up until that point.
- Due Process: If you request due process, a hearing officer will be presented with your child’s assessment, each side’s concerns and recommendations, and then the officer will make the final IEP decision for your child.
- Filing a complaint: You only file a complaint if you believe that the school has broken the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). You would file a complaint with the California education agency, explaining how the school violated IDEA.
Do not panic if you are still uncertain about the IEP decision after challenging the IEP team. Your child’s IEP is reevaluated each year to ensure that their needs are being met. The review process gives you and the school a chance to address warning signs, and alter the existing IEP on a regular basis. It is also a great time for both groups to recognize growth in your child’s learning, and to reinforce education tactics that are working well.
If you are unhappy with how the school is handling your child’s education, and believe that your child is not getting the help that they deserve, consider contacting an education lawyer who can advocate for your child during IEP meetings, and help develop a plan that it right for them.