Are you the parent of a child with autism that has been denied needed educational services, for your child? Have you been told by school district personnel, that your child cannot receive a certain service, because the price is too high? This article will discuss ways that you can overcome these tactics used by some school personnel, for the benefit of your child.
The purpose of special education taken out of The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is "to ensure that all children with disabilities have available to them a free appropriate public education that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment, and independent living."
IDEA does not allow, school districts to use the "money" card, to get out of providing needed educational services to children with disabilities. The reality is, that many school districts try this tactic many times a day. And the sad thing is, that many parents believe them. Do not fall for this tactic! Stand up for your child, as you are the only advocate that they will ever have.
**School administrator: "Mrs. Jones we would love to give Mary 90 minutes of speech therapy a week, but our district is small, and we cannot afford it."
**Bad reply from the parent: "Oh I totally understand, I didn't mean to ask for so much."
**School administrator: "Oh I am sure that you didn't. But you have to understand that we have a lot of children in our district, and we want to help them all. How about 30 minutes a week?"
**Parent: "30 minutes will be fine."
The problem with this conversation is, that the parent should have discussed evidence she had of her child's need. The parent also did not clarify, that the amount of time offered was for direct service. Many times special education personnel will write down consultative services, rather than direct services; without the parent being aware of it.
**School Administrator: "Mrs. Jones we would love to give Mary 90 minutes of speech therapy a week, but our district is small, and we cannot afford it."
**Good Example from the parent: "Mr. Parker, my daughter Mary needs 90 minutes of direct speech language therapy per week, to make progress in her education. As you will see from the Independent Educational Evaluation that I have here, the registered Speech/Language Pathologist recommends 90 minutes of direct service per week. I am not concerned with the school districts budget, but what I am concerned about is Mary's right to receive a free appropriate public education."
**School Administrator: "Why would you go and get an independent evaluation, don't you trust our speech /language pathologist to recommend the best for Mary."
**Parent: "The Speech/Language Pathologist that works for this district, is only recommending 30 minutes direct service per week, despite Mary's low test scores in areas of receptive and expressive language. Mary needs 90 minutes of Speech Language therapy per week, if you refuse to give it to her, I will consider filing for a due process hearing.
**School Administrator: "Oh, you don't have to get nasty."
**Parent: "I was not getting nasty. Due process is my right, if I disagree with your decision, which I do."
School administrator: "We will consult with out speech language pathologist, and consider giving Mary the 90 per week of direct speech therapy."
**Parent: "Thank You."