A parent always wants his or her child to succeed in school, but this is not always easy. Because of certain types of disabilities, a child may need extra support, special education services and accommodation in the classroom, and in most circumstances. One of the most common ways to do this is through an Individualized Education Program. Parents should understand what an IEP is, how it will help the child and what to do if the teacher or school does not follow it.
An IEP should lay out an individualized instruction plan that will help the child make meaningful educational progress in the least restrictive environment. Each child with a disability will need specific types of supports and services unique to his or her needs and challenges, and an IEP is custom-tailored to the individual student. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act is a federal law that protects the rights special needs kids, specifically through IEPs.
The process of creating an IEP starts with a complete evaluation of the student’s needs. This will identify needs and the specific types of accommodations and services he or she requires. This may include speech therapy, occupational therapy, technology assistance and even extended time on tests to name a few. A parent has the right to know what’s in an IEP and the specific ways the school will help the student.
Obtaining an IEP for a special needs student in California is only half the battle. There are times when a parent will have to fight to ensure a school follows the terms of the plan and respects the right of the student. It can be complicated to challenge a school and navigate matters involving special education law, which is why it is often helpful to work with an attorney experienced in this specific area.