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My Child's Special Ed Program Failed - What Can I Do?
"My daughter has made little or no progress after years of special education. All her IEPs contain vague subjective goals and objectives. If our case goes to due process, is the school liable for not providing an appropriate education? Or, is this the responsibility of the parent who signed the IEP?"
is responsible for providing your child with a free appropriate education.
If the school gives you an IEP that includes goals and objectives that cannot be measured objectively and IF the school says you must "take it or leave it" (drawing a line in the sand) and IF from your perspective as a parent, something is better than nothing, here are some strategies you can use.
& Strategies: When You Disagree with the IEP Team
If you are presented with an IEP that you believe is not appropriate for your child, you should say that you donít think the IEP provides your child with enough help or the right kind of help - that your child has not made progress. You should be polite but firm.
Tip: Think how Miss Manners would handle a difficult situation and use this to guide you.
When the team asks you to sign consent to the IEP, using your ballpoint pen, on the hard table top, write the following statement ON THE IEP "I consent to this IEP being implemented but I object to it for the reasons I stated during the meeting."
Then sign your name.
Do not be
surprised if someone gets upset and says you are not allowed to write
on your child's IEP - that it is a legal document. This is not true -
you can write on IEPs. (The person who objects may not know this.)
tries to stop you, continue writing. If someone tries to pull the IEP
away, continue writing while pressing down very hard with your ballpoint
pen. If they yank the document away, continue writing as the IEP tears.
Tape Recording Meetings
If you anticipate problems, you should tape record the meeting. The recorder should be out in the open. For more advice about how to tape record meetings, read the chapter about Maintaining Control in School Meetings in From Emotions to Advocacy
They have a problem - youíve told them that the program is not appropriate for your child. You advised them of this in writing on the IEP and you consented to the program. It should be implemented.
a Thank You Letter
If you take these steps, the school will want to avoid a due process hearing.
pieces of evidence are the tape, the transcript, your letter, and the
a due process
hearing will be necessary to resolve a problem;
happened in one of my cases. When the parent began to write on the
IEP, the special ed director yelled that the IEP was a "legal document"
and the parent was not allowed to write on it, then tore it out of the
parent's hands as she was trying to write her objections on the document.
Pam adds -
(schools offering poor quality services) are similar to the problems people
have with their managed care health plans and HMOs. HMOs don't want to
provide expensive services for serious medical problems. The HMO staff
hasn't been trained to treat serious medical problems.
the school to give your child the help she needs. Sometimes you can persuade
them to see the problems and solutions. Sometimes they will give you what
your child needs because they want to avoid bigger problems.