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.
An Individualized Education Program lists the educational goals for a child with special needs, including how these goals can be met. Annual IEP reviews can be a source of anxiety for parents, but they do not have to be with preparation.
Since the mid 1970s, federal law has mandated that students with special needs be given access to the same free, public education as other children their age. With the passage of that law, the model of special education turned from one of exclusion (and even institutionalization) to one of inclusion.
As we have said before on our blog, schools that receive federal funding, whether they're here in California or in another state, are required by law to help students with disabilities get a proper education. From individualized education plans, or IEPs, to other accommodations, schools do have resources they can tap into to make this happen.