When a student needs help in the classroom due to developmental, physical or mental health needs, they could be eligible for certain types of support and help. The primary intent of special education programs in schools is to ensure the unique need of the child are addressed, which may require providing specially designed instruction and other services. Generally, schools must provide a child with a disability with a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). Some students may require special education supports and services but are currently unable to secure them. This could change soon for many California students who need educational help.
The impact of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD)
When children are exposed to drugs and alcohol while in utero, it can negatively impact the child long-term. The baby may be born with mental and emotional deficits that can make it difficult for that child to succeed in school in the future. A recent change in California law will update the criteria for qualifying for special education services to include FASD within the definition of Other Health Impairment (OHI), a specific special education eligibility category.
The change means that students with FASD could now more easily qualify for special education services. These students will be able to have an Individualized Education Program (IEP), a step that will allow many of them to have a full and appropriate educational experience with needed special education services. This is great news for parents or guardians who have students who struggle in the classroom due to the effects of FASD.
Getting the right support
It can be difficult to navigate the California special education system. A parent or guardian may benefit from seeking legal counsel regarding how to secure the help their child with FASD needs for success in school. A special education attorney can provide guidance regarding IEP compliance, educational concerns, placement, services, and other issues that may arise.