If you are the parent of a special needs child, you understand how this can impact virtually every area of his or her life. Exceptional learners may need additional support while they are at school, and you have the right to advocate for his or her specific needs. To identify what is necessary for your child, it is typically best to start with a careful assessment of the individual child, his or her specific struggles and your goals as a parent.
Special needs students in California have the right to certain types of educational interventions and help in the classroom. An Individualized Education Program outlines these specific interventions, and teachers and administration have to provide the help. If your child is struggling in certain ways at home and with interactions in daily life, it could indicate the need for an evaluation and an IEP.
Specific issues to monitor
It is not always easy to determine if a child will need specific types of support at school or how to help him or her succeed. If any of the following issues are impacting your life or affecting your child’s quality of life, it could indicate the need to seek additional help at school as well:
- Medical issues, including cystic fibrosis, congenital conditions, allergies, asthma and more
- Developmental issues, including autism, intellectual disabilities and Down syndrome
- Behavioral issues, such as severe ADHD, Tourette’s, sensory integration issues and more
- Mental issues, such as anxiety, mood swings and depression
Any of these can make it difficult for your child to succeed in the classroom. As a parent, your goal is to ensure your child has a reasonably beneficial experience at school, and this may mean seeking an IEP. Interventions can include everything from minor accommodations with schoolwork to one-on-one physical support for the entire school day.
Fighting for the interests of your child
You want what is best for your child whether it is in your own home or at school. It may be necessary for you to fight for his or her needs, from the initial evaluation to ensuring the school follows the requirements outlined in the IEP. It will be beneficial for you to understand special education laws and the steps you may have to take to advocate for your child.