If you have a child with a learning disability or other special needs, you almost certainly understand the frustration that comes with helping them get the "free and appropriate public education" which they are legally entitled to. Although school administrators and teachers often have good intentions, the reality of the situation is that time and money are tight, and paperwork sometimes becomes a substitute for real accommodations.
A couple months ago, we wrote about new guidance documents issued by the U.S. Department of Education regarding the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The agency reiterated some important messages, including the advice that Individualized Education Plans must be designed and implemented with grade-level learning in mind.
The era of No Child Left Behind is coming to a close. On December 10, President Barack Obama signed into law the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), which replaces No Child Left Behind. The transition to ESSA will begin next August, with major changes coming in the 2016-2017 school year.
It was 40 years ago this month that access to education fundamentally changed for children living with disabilities. In November 1975, a federal law was enacted that has since been named the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). One of the law's main goals was to ensure that students with disabilities were not denied the opportunity for a "free and appropriate public education." That education also had to be modified to fit their unique needs.
In our last post, we began speaking about the process of filing a complaint with the California Department of Education when a school district fails to comply with an individualized education program (IEP). It should be clarified that compliance complaints are different from due process hearings, which would be appropriate when there is a disagreement about the terms of an IEP. When the issue is failure to follow special education laws or to carry out the terms of an existing IEP, though, a compliance complaint is appropriate.
For parents who have a child with special needs, obtaining appropriate accommodations with the school district is a critical step to ensuring their child has a positive education experience. Unfortunately, obtaining accommodations is not always an easy process. In some cases, there can be challenges with eligibility, placement in the proper setting, or obtaining needed resources and services. In other cases, the difficulty may be having an established plan consistently carried out.
Being different can easily lead to extra challenges for children at school. If your child has special needs and learns differently because of dyslexia or acts differently because of autism, extra help can draw the unwanted attention of bullies.
First, what is social promotion? It is a practice of passing all children to the next grade level even if they have low achievement.
Summer goes go by quickly. Before you know it the advertisements for back-to-school clothing and supplies pop up everywhere. If your child has autism or other special needs, advance planning will smooth the adjustment to a new grade, new teacher and maybe even a new school.
After many lean years, California lawmakers have set aside $10 million to fund training for teachers and administrators on more positive methods of disciplining students. This multi-tiered system of supports ranges from a positive school climate to individualized counseling.