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Monday, December 1, 2014

Strategies When Schools Refuse to Classify Students with Disabilities

The Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) is a special education law that safeguards that public schools attend to the educational needs of students with disabilities. IDEA mandates that schools implement special education services to eligible students as defined in a student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP). IDEA also outlines specific requirements to assure a least restrictive environment (LRE) and a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) for students with disabilities.

What Can Parents do to Resolve a Dispute with a School?

The Individuals with Disabilities Act offers various options for managing disputes between parents and schools concerning a school district’s delay or denial to evaluate a student because it is
using a Researched Based Intervention or RTI process.  Such complaints would be based on the district’s violation of Child Find.
  1. State Complaints:  This is a written complaint that can be filed by any organization, individual, or group of individuals, claiming that a school district has violated a requirement of Part B of IDEA or the state’s special education law or regulations, including Child Find.  Child Find is a part of IDEA that requires states to identify, locate, and evaluate all children with disabilities, aged birth to 21, who need early intervention or special education services.  State complaints must be filed within one year of the alleged violation.  IDEA requires every state to have a formal procedure for filing complaints. Information on how to file a state complaint should be available from your state’s Department of Education or Parent Training and Information Center.
  2. Due Process Complaints:  This is a written complaint filed by a parent or school district pertaining to any situation concerning the identification, evaluation, educational placement or violation of a free and appropriate public education to a student with a disability. Due process complaints must be filed within two years of the incident, and each state’s Department of Education must offer a model form to assist in filing a due process complaint that meets the requirements of IDEA. Reach out to the Department of Education in your state or Parent Training and Information Center to acquire more information.  
Filing complaints under IDEA, is a serious and time-consuming undertaking.  So before commencing with either of the options outlined above, make sure you are well educated about and fully comprehend federal and state mandates. 

Where Can I Get More Information?

The National Center for Learning Disabilities offers a free copy of Parents Rights in the Era of RTI or go to the NCLD website to learn more.

Cheers, Erica

Dr. Erica Warren, Learning Specialist and Educational Therapist

Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials.  She is also the director of Learning to Learn, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to www.goodsensorylearning.comwww.dyslexiamaterials.com & www.learningtolearn.biz  

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