Do you suspect that your child may have a disability such as Autism? Are you in the process of setting up a school evaluation for your child? This article is for you and will discuss 10 parenting tips that will help you before your child is evaluated.1. Do not depend on special educators to diagnose your child’s autism, or other types of disabilities. Many school administrators put pressure on school psychologists, not to find children eligible for special education under the category of autism (this could be related to the cost of the services, or other issues not known by the parents), as well as other types of disabilities such as specific learning disabilities (SLD).2. If you suspect a disability of any type, you need to take your child for an independent educational evaluation (IEE), with a qualified evaluator, not in your school district. I would recommend a clinical psychologist or a neuropsychologist. By doing this you are increasing your child’s chances of receiving an appropriate evaluation, and in determining specifically what services your child needs to receive an appropriate education!3. Ask other parents of children with disabilities if they know any evaluators that are parent and child friendly, complete comprehensive testing, write whether a child is eligible for special education, and writes very specific recommendations for services that a child needs!4. If you do decide to allow your district to evaluate your child, you do not have to “consent” to all testing that the school wants to do. Some school personnel will recommend testing in areas of strength and not of weakness; if you believe this is happening to your child, tell them that you will not “consent” to testing in that specific area.5. If the school wants to do an autism rating scale, I would recommend the (CARS), which is the Childhood Autism Rating Scale. This scale is easy to fill out and very accurate. Be careful that you tell the school psychologist that you will be filling out the scale and not school personnel. I have seen many times where the rating scale states the child does not have Autism, and I find out that the scale was filled out by special educators-do not agree to this!6. Rating scales are often used in other areas also such as adaptive behavior; again make sure that you are filling out the scale, and not school personnel (or the results are probably not accurate).7. When you sign the consent form make sure that you are asking for all testing reports at least ten days before the eligibility meeting; or you will be postponing the meeting.8. If you took your child for an IEE, you will send the report to the school before the eligibility meeting (also make arrangements for the independent evaluator to participate in the meeting, but this can be done by telephone)9. Try to see if you can find an experienced advocate or an experienced parent to attend the meeting with you. The eligibility meeting can be overwhelming, it will benefit you if you have someone who understands the special education process go with you.10. During the eligibility meeting ask lots of questions, especially about terminology that you do not understand. If your child is found ineligible (despite the school’s testing or the IEE), make sure that your disagreement with this decision is written into the paperwork. Your options are to “obtain” an IEE at public expense if the school evaluated your child (and you disagree with the evaluation), or if you have an IEE that the school refuses to “consider” you may have to file for a due process hearing.The eligibility process can be very trying; if you keep in mind these tips and bring an experienced person with you to the meeting your child’s chances improve of being found eligible for special education! Good luck!
Are you the parent of a child with autism or a learning disability that has filed for a special education due process hearing? Are you disagreeing with special education personnel about the placement of your child, during the due process hearing? Did you know that IDEA 2004 states that a child has the right to a stay put placement, until due process hearings are finished or resolved? This article will discuss what stay put placements are during due process hearings.The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) states under 300.518 that: during the pendency of any administrative or judicial proceeding regarding a due process complaint notice. . . the child involved in the complaint must remain in his or her current educational placement. What this means is that if your child is in a placement, and you file for a due process hearing, the child stays in that placement until the due process is settled or resolved.For Example: Your child with autism is attending a private school at public expense. The school district recommends changing your child’s placement to a school district program, which you think is inappropriate to meet your child’s needs. If you file for a due process hearing, your child would stay in the private school until your due process was resolved or finished. The last agreed upon placement is considered stay put!Several issues on stay put:1. The child’s stay put placement and the child’s IEP must be completely implemented (this means special education and related services also).
2. Stay put applies from the time the parent files for a due process hearing.
3. The school district is basically maintaining the status quo.
4. The school district is prevented from unilaterally changing your child’s placement. Parents must be a part of any decision to change placement.
5. School districts can change personnel but the services must be comparable.
6. Parents may agree to change the child’s placement during the due process if they feel that the current placement is inappropriate.By understanding stay put for special education due process hearings, you will be able to determine what advocacy route that you would like to take, for your child. Filing for a due process hearing and revoking stay put can keep your child in an appropriate placement for a certain period of time. You would then have to prove to a hearing officer that the current placement meets your child’s educational needs, and that the placement needs to be continued.
Are you the parent of a child with autism that has behavioral difficulty at school? Has your child with learning disabilities developed behavior problems, that you believe are related to their frustration with their education? This article will discuss 8 things that you must know about your child’s behavioral difficulty and special education.1. Your child’s behavior is trying to tell you something unfortunately you have to figure out what it is! It may take time, but it is worth the effort!2. The earlier special education personnel address the negative behavior, the easier it will be to positively change the behavior. Some special education personnel let negative behavior go for a long time before trying to deal with the behavior.3. There is a huge connection between academic difficulty and behavioral difficulty! A lot of children who are asked to do academics that are too hard for them may show this in their behavior. If your child develops behavioral difficulty at school be sure and investigate whether they are having difficulties with their education.4. The reaction to a child’s negative school behavior will either improve the behavior (deescalate) or make the behavior worse (escalate). A person that overreacts to a child’s behavior will make the behavior worse. Also untrained staff may also make the behavior worse rather than better.5. 300.324 of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) states that if the child’s behavior impedes the child’s learning or the learning of others, the IEP team must consider the use of positive behavioral interventions and supports to address the behavior. Positive behavioral supports and plans have been shown to increase a child’s positive behavior, which in turn, decreases their negative behavior.6. Special education personnel often rely on punishment rather than positive behavioral supports and plans. Research has shown that punishment only works in the short term to change a child’s behavior.7. According to IDEA a child with a disability can only be suspended for 10 days at a time. After that a manifestation determination review (MDR) must be done, to determine if the child’s behavior is part of their disability. If the behavior is part of their disability, they may not be suspended for more than 10 days or expelled!8. Many schools are relying on seclusion and restraint for children with disabilities. Insist that your child’s IEP specifically list that your child is not to be secluded or restrained in any way. Many children have been killed, injured, or have suffered emotional trauma due to the use of restraints and seclusion. Insist on the use of positive behavioral supports and plans.By understanding these 8 things you will be able to effectively advocate for your child.