What is an IEP, and why might my child need one?
An Individualized Education Program (IEP) is a document that outlines the specific support and accommodations that a child with special needs may require in order to succeed in school. These accommodations are tailored to the individual needs of the child and can include a wide range of services and strategies. Some examples of the types of support and accommodations that can be included in an IEP are:
- Additional instructional time or one-on-one instruction
- Adaptive technology or assistive devices
- Specialized instruction or tutoring
- Modifications to the curriculum
- Behavior support or counseling
- Occupational therapy or speech therapy
- Changes to the physical environment of the classroom
- Testing accommodations
- Transportation services
- Access to specialized programs or schools
It is important to note that each child is unique and therefore every IEP is different, as it is tailored to the child’s individual needs. The IEP team, including the child’s parents, teachers, and other specialists, all work together to identify the appropriate support strategies and accommodations that will help the child succeed in their education.
What special education services do you provide?
At our firm, we have a team of experienced attorneys who have dedicated their careers to fighting for the rights of individuals with special needs. With over 55 years of combined experience practicing special education law, we are committed to ensuring that your child’s rights are protected, and that they receive the best education possible. We will work with you and the school to develop and implement an Individualized Education Program (IEP) that accurately reflects your child’s unique needs, and ensures that the school is meeting its legal obligations under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. We will advocate for your child’s right to be placed in the ‘least restrictive environment’ possible for their needs. In case of disputes with the school district, our firm will represent you and your child in due process hearings and work towards a resolution that is in the best interest of your child. We can also assist in obtaining appropriate evaluations and assessments for your child, implementing assistive technology, securing early intervention services, and setting up an Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP). The Law Offices of Sears and Sears P.C. believe that every child has the right to a quality education, and we will do everything in our power to ensure that your child is given the best opportunities to succeed academically.
What medical conditions qualify for an IEP?
There are no specific medical conditions that are used as qualifying criteria when evaluating a child’s candidacy for an Individualized Education Program. Instead, federal law stipulates that for a child to be granted an IEP, they must be ‘adversely affected’ to the extent that they are not able to perform ‘at grade level’ when given instruction for that grade level. The areas in which the child must be ‘adversely affected’ include:
- Oral Expression
- Listening Comprehension
- Written Expression
- Basic Reading Skills
- Reading Fluency Skills
- Reading Comprehension
- Mathematics Calculation
- Mathematics Problem Solving
Because of the wording surrounding the federal law on IEPs, no specific medical condition is necessary for a child to qualify for an IEP. The child must simply be ‘adversely affected’ in one of the prior listed areas. Oftentimes, there are coinciding medical conditions that may be limiting a child’s educational development, but a child having a medical condition does not automatically qualify them for an IEP. Along the same lines, a child who does not have a medical condition is not automatically disqualified from obtaining an IEP. There are many factors that must be taken into consideration in regards to an IEP for a child. To get the most accurate evaluation of whether or not your child may qualify for an IEP, request a consultation from The Law Offices of Sears and Sears P.C, and we will be able to advise you on your child’s situation.
What if the school does not follow my child’s IEP?
If a school fails to follow a child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP), the parent or guardian of the child can file a due process complaint under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). IDEA is a federal law that guarantees a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to all students with disabilities. The due process complaint allows for a hearing to be held to determine if the school has failed to provide the child with a FAPE. If the hearing determines that the school has failed to provide a FAPE, the school may be required to take corrective action, such as revising the child’s IEP or providing additional services. Additionally, the child may be eligible for compensatory education to make up for the educational opportunities lost as a result of the school’s failure to follow the IEP. If the school is found to be in violation of IDEA, they could also be in violation of Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in any program or activity that receives federal financial assistance. If you believe that your school is not following your child’s IEP, contact The Law Offices of Sears and Sears P.C., and we will evaluate your case and advise you on the best course of action.