As the parent of a special needs child, you know how important it is to ensure that your child gets the help he or she needs at school. Students with specific needs may require additional assistance and guidance in the classroom, often through the form of an Independent Education Program. You have the right to an active and involved role in your child’s education, including decisions the school makes for your child and more.
When you know your rights, you will be in a better position to shield the interests of your child in the classroom. No one knows your child like you do, which means you are the best advocate he or she has in the education system. You may have to fight for specific interventions or to compel the school to adhere to the terms of the IEP. You have a vital and important role in your child’s entire educational experience.
What are your rights and your child’s rights?
Special needs students have the right to a free public education that meets the unique needs of the individual child. Your child may not be able to express his or her wishes or discuss specific things about his or her education, which is why it is particularly important for you to know your rights. These include:
- You have the right to know when the school plans to evaluate your child.
- You have the right to request an evaluation if you think your child needs it.
- You have the right to seek an independent evaluation if you think the school’s conclusions are wrong.
- You have the right to request evaluations for your student in his or her native language.
- You have the right to review and request a copy of all your child’s school records.
- You have the right to an explanation of all your rights as a parent and your child’s rights.
Navigating the special education system in California can be challenging, especially if the school is not supportive or you believe the system is disserving your child in any way. You may find it helpful to know your rights, especially if you believe that your child is not getting the help he or she deserves. With your persistence and pursuit of a fair education, your special needs student can succeed in his or her classroom and have a full educational experience.