MariannCrincoliAs a child approaches his or her 18th birthday, most parents feel a loss of control as he or she officially enters adulthood. Parents of children with special needs have even more reason to be concerned, because they have the heavy responsibility of determining whether or not their child is ready to graduate high school and transition to the next phase of life.

When evaluating this, it is helpful to know that there are special education laws that will assist you in making informed decisions — one that is best for your child.

Firstly, all children with disabilities in the State of New Jersey have the right to earn a high school diploma, just like their nondisabled peers. The Individuals with Disability Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEA) sets two paths for children to go about earning their high school diploma. High Schoolers with a disability can take the traditional route by completing the course requirements set forth by their public high school, or by completing the special education program and modified requirements contained in their IEP.

Under federal and state law, children with disabilities have the right to special education and related services through the school year in which they turn 21 or until they graduate, whichever comes first. However, if a child’s 21st birthday falls on July 1st, services will continue through the end of the following school year. This caveat may prove advantageous to a high schooler with a July 1st birthday not quite ready to graduate.

5steps

Special education is governed by federal and state law which requires public school districts to provide children with disabilities a free and appropriate public education that is individually tailored to meet a child’s unique needs and prepare her for the future as an independent member of society.

If you think your child has special education needs, here’s how you should get the process started:

Wednesday, 07 September 2016 23:34

Independent Educational Evaluations

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I Requested An Independent Evaluation and the District Said “No”: Now What?

One of a parent’s most powerful tools is the right to request an independent educational evaluation at public expense. An independent educational evaluation (or “IEE”) is an evaluation performed by someone other than the local agency responsible for the child’s education. Such evaluations supplement child study team evaluations by providing further information about the child's suspected disabilities and potential need for special education and related services. Parents frequently ask when they can request an IEE, how an IEE can help them advocate for their child, and what to do if a district says “no” to a parent’s request for an IEE.

backToSchoolFor a few glorious weeks each year, classrooms are replaced with trips to the Shore, and your family’s summer vacation makes waiting for the school bus seem a distant memory. Yet, while it may feel like the year has just ended, it’s never too soon to start planning for your child’s successful return to school in September.

Of course, the most important resource you and your child’s teachers share is the Individualized Education Program, or IEP. Provide a copy of the IEP to each new staff member who will come into contact with your child each day. This includes the teacher, the aide, and the school nurse.

Reviewing the IEP is important, but no one knows your child better than you do. The best thing you can do to create a successful new school year is to open up a line of communication with teachers and staff early on.

Over the summer, come up with a list of the twenty items you think your child’s new teachers need to know most. This might include your child’s triggers and what keeps him on track, social anxieties, and what kind of environment helps your child to do his best work.

schoolRefusal

School refusal, a significant, persistent refusal to attend school based in emotional distress, is more common than you think. It can be a terrible dilemma for a parent: You know your child needs to go to school, and you know she is not physically ill, but she still refuses to go and you don’t know what to do about it. She promises every night tomorrow she will go, but when school time approaches, she just can’t get out of the car, throws a tantrum or spends the day in the nurse’s office complaining she does not feel well. The school may be saying: “She’s fine; just send her in” or even threatening to call a truancy officer if you don’t. But it’s not that easy.

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