When Teachers Won’t Provide Accommodations in the IEP

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My child has language-based learning disabilities and fine motor problems that make it impossible for him to produce legible written work. His IEP includes accommodations to help with these problems. Some of his regular education teachers won’t provide these accommodations. What can I do?

If regular education teachers are not implementing the accommodations in your child’s IEP, you need to document this. A good strategy is to write short polite letters to people in authority. Begin by writing a polite letter to the principal. Describe the problem and ask for his help.

Your letter should be factual, not emotional. Do not blame or portray your child as a victim.

Your First Letter

Dear Mr. Principal:

As you know, my son Rob has severe language based learning disabilities and fine motor problems. He is unable to produce legible written work. As a result of these disabilities, his IEP states that he will receive accommodations, including X and Y and Z.

Some of Rob’s regular education teachers are not providing the accommodations in his IEP. I have talked to them but nothing changed. I need help.

I’d like to schedule an appointment to talk with you. My work phone number is 888-123-4567. My home number is 888-765-4321 after 6 p.m.


Marie Parent

Moving Up the Ladder

Assume nothing changes.

Move up the bureaucratic ladder to the next person in authority. Write a letter that describes the problem and your attempts to resolve it. Attach copies of the other letters you wrote to school personnel.

Dear Ms. Special Education Director:

Two weeks ago, I wrote a letter to Mr. Principal. I advised him that my son’s regular education teachers are not providing the accommodations in his IEP. I asked for his help in getting the teachers to implement the accommodations.

When I met with him, I had the sense that his hands are tied. I’m turning to you for help.


Marie Parent

Your Next Step – Taking Action

Continue up the ladder to decision-makers with more power – the Superintendent and school board members.

If the problem continues and you need to take action –- to request a due process hearing or a file a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights – your polite factual letters will be excellent evidence. You advised several school authorities about the problem in writing. You asked for help. No one stepped up to the plate.

Under those circumstances, even Ms. Manners would take them to court.

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89 Comments on "When Teachers Won’t Provide Accommodations in the IEP"

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I have a problem with the School System my child attends, the teachers constantly refuse to follow the IEP. I have climbed the latter numerous time and have even had to go to the school board numerous times reguarding this. each time Im promised it wont happen again. Then the next year I run into a teacher who states my child could do the work if he could and calls him just lazy. My child compensates well and on casual appearance appears to have no problems. And we are always very successful when the IEP is followed. He has Dyslexia, and multiple other learning disabilities. Im so tired of going through this numerous times a year. Now he failed math and the teacher didnt contact me, the secial ed department etc and it was found out didnt even follow his IEP. When I found he was failing I called and Ard but she went ahead and inputed his grad.

Teresa, If the school does not clearly follow the IEP they must put in writing in a “prior written notice” as to why. Also many times IEP’s are written so vaguely that it does not specifically state who will provide services and when. If this is the case you need to get that changed and again if they say no they need to put it in writing as to why. Keep at it. This is important to your child. One thing I do is tape record the meetings with a digital tape recorder so that I don’t forget anything. I always tell the team I am going to bring the tape recorder so they know. Usually the meetings go better with this. If you have an advocate that will help also. You may hire an attorney as a last resort.

My son has not been receiving individualized special education social skills training as defined in his IEP. I called a special meeting and the special ed teacher told me that she did not have time to do independent sessions with him and that she would get someone else to do it. It has been several months since that meeting. My son says he has not had anyone talk to him or teach him how to deal with the kids bullying him at school, i.e. the reason for the additional accommodation. However, the school guidance counselor tells me that he has had three sessions. I believe my son to be truthful, but the school is saying he is receiving help in this area. My son swears he is not. He says that he has been pulled out of PE and spent the hour in the office one time, but was not told how to handle dealing with the bullying.

Thank you for this helpful information.

Should an IEP mtg. be void if an extra school psychologist attends that was not on the list of attendees?Autism teacher called and had a 5 minute conversation with me on 8-23-10.On 9-10-10 I received a copy of son’s IEP hidden in his backpack by his teacher.The effective date had changed from 4-1-10 to 8-23-10.It also stated that a team meeting took place on 8-23-10 & that I was part of the phone conference. At no time did anyone invite me to a meeting. Nor was I told I was part of a phone conference. The school did a similar thing to another parent of an autistic child.Only on her copy of the IEP it stated that they contacted her and she refused to attend. What is the best way to respond.There have been too many issues with this county and someone needs to kow about it.

Dawn – you’re obviously concerned about “the issues” – does sound like odd things going on. But don’t get off track. Bring your focus back to your child and getting the program that your child needs to progress in the curriculum and prepare him to move to the next grade. Is the IEP you have appropriate to his needs? If not, you may need to request another meeting to review and revise as needed. (I wouldn’t worry about “voiding” a previous meeting.)

IDEA has specific provisions about team makeup, ensuring parent participation, inviting “others” to the meeting, notifying parents who will attend, annual IEP review, changes/amendments without a meeting, etc. 20 U.S.C. 1414 (d) and regulations beginning at 300.320. Your response? Go through these sections carefully so you know exactly what the law says. Write a polite letter to the school, detailing all of your concerns as you began in your comment. You’ll find IDEA backs up your concerns, but you’ll be a lot better off if you don’t take the “I’m going to getcha” approach. Use the “help me understand – I thought this is what IDEA says” approach to work with the team to keep the focus on your child.

I am on the other end of this problem. I am a teacher in the second week of school and still don’t know what children receive accommodations or what those accommodations are. I have asked (and kept those emails), but still have nothing. How soon are we supposed to be supplied with this information. Shouldn’t it be before school starts?

Jill – Is this IB class a special temporary class or something that the state requires? Check your IEP to see if there is a statement regarding …”regular state required, normal school year program,etc”. I doubt this is in there so any class that your child participates in would require the school to provide the writtng accommodations as written by law. Reconvene an IEP meeting to discuss and get this taken care of. That would be the place to start.

What happens when a teacher will not make accomodations in an International Baccalaureate (IB) class? My daughter needs extended time due to ADHD, yet the teacher says that those accommodations do not apply in IB classes.


If your daughter has an Iep which I assume she does then the teacher needs to make those accommodations. If not she is not in compliance and she could be in a world of trouble. I would contact the school and get to the bottom of the issue.

Jessica -The IDEA/IDEIA law holds everyone on the IEP accountable for a child’s progress. If anyone on the team does not follow the IEP they are in default. The issue is that many parents need help in knowing how to determine and get evidence to prove that team members are not following the IEP. We have learned that many times IEP’s are written vaguely to allow for fudge factor on the part of the school. Wright’s Laws books can help you with that. There are support groups out there with advocates that can help. (LDA, CHADD, IDA, etc). We belong to the LDA (Learning Disablitie’s Assocation) which has many resources to help parents advocate for their child.

I know of a case in my community in which a child with autism was supposed to be able to leave the room if he got upset, and go to see the special ed teacher he liked. When another teacher wouldn’t let him leave, he started yelling, and possibly pushing a little. A criminal charge was filed, and his mother pleaded guilty on his behalf to spare him the process. That was probably a big error, I know. Can anything be done to hold the teacher accountable? Does the advice on this page fit?

Does accommodation for student to receive copy of notes mean that if there is computer access that he can get it himself? I thought if the iep STATES COPY OF NOTES that means all classes should hand copy of notes to student? Where can I read more about this?

My 8th grade son is in the resource room for math and now english. He has accommodations and modifications in his regular ed classes. Not all of the accommodations written in the IEP are being used. The teachers are choosing what they want. Not what is written. Also the resource teacher has refused to use some of the accommodations/modifications because she said the resource classes are already modified from the regular Ed classes. Where do we stand ? What do we do?

My 14 year old daughter is in 9th grade. She has congenital cerebellar hypoplasia which affects her gross and fine motor skills. She is in regular education classes with a co-teacher. Her handwriting is very slow and tedious making it impossible for her to take her own notes. Her IEP states that she is to be provided a copy of notes which her teachers have not provided. I have just left a meeting with her teacher and was told that even though her IEP says she is to receive notes, if they do not provide notes for all the students, it would give her an undue advantage to provide them for her, so they are not required to provide them. Is this true? I need advice on how to proceed. Thank you.

What if you didn’t do it quite this way and it’s gone past this point. I did not send formal letters. I’ve sent emails. I tried to have an IEP meeting about my daughter’s situation, but it ended up being more of a “joke”. I ended up in tears. My daughter’s diagnosis is: MR, on the Autism Spectrum, with other pervasive disorders and she is type II diabetic. The Stress of main stream classes that they demanded she take drove her blood sugars up very high. I could not keep the emotion out of some of my emails… I do have several. She has had to be treated for bladder infections 3x in 60 days now. (lack of water drinking at school). I feel I need to take this to the next level (due process). She is not attending school at this time and does not want to return.

At the HS level what can/should be done about a child who declines or flat out refuses to utilize an accomodation that is offered by the teachers? Is there some provision in place that can require a student to comply if the student is not yet 18yrs? over 18yrs?

I understand your grandson has CP but specifically
WHY does he need 1:1 assistance? Is it for physical safety? To help with mobility? Help with daily living skills? Help in the bathroom? To stay focus. My son has multiple disabilities ( spastic quad CP included) 1:1 all day aid has never been questioned as a need. I try to try to minimize the 1:1 as much as possible. They do his work and he gets marked off for their spelling errors) and he loses the ability to be as independent as possible.
1:1 assistance is a double edge sword. The kids no longer talk to him but to the aid( his hearing is acute),He is in 7th grade.

My grandson has CP and is in kindergarden and is 7 years old. His special ed. teacher thinks he would benefit from a personal aide or parapro and his regular ed teacher agrees, but the director or special services for his school district does not agree and said no to this discussion is in his IEP. Then his special ed teacher said she thought he would benefit in a smaller classroom and suggested that he go to another new school that is opening this fall. This class would have only 4 students the class he will be in this fall will have 10. We had to ask the principle of the new school for permission and was denied. My grandson is capable of learning, but his educational needs are not being met at this time, so being in a bigger class in the fall is not going to be any better. What is the next thing we can do?

What about accommodations on High School exit exams? I have heard through several parents that even though accommodations are documented in IEP’s and medical reports that because tests like ACT are private firms that don’t take government money, they don’t have to provide ADA/IEP accommodations.
What can a parent do to assure that their student receives the accommodations they need?

Are public schools obligated to pay for a private school for dyslexic students if the school cannot provide the an effective education? Thanks

Unfortunately, this situation arises often. Often I hear that a parent believes accommodations are not being followed, but the teacher says they are using them. Sometimes they will not share samples of the accommodations or their examples & explanations do not follow the intent of the accommodations.

Sometimes the issue goes back to the IEP team not clearly defining how an accommodation is to be done &/or the school not adequately training teachers. “Give more time for tests & school work” is not real clear.

Thanks for your comment Wrightlaw, we are currently working together. I plan to ask for a Independant Unbais test to be conducted by a outside source at his transition meeting. The problem is I don’t have a lot of money and not sure what to do if this isn’t provided by the school.


I see you live in Australia. The special ed laws are similar in the US, UK, Australia, Canada but not identical. In the US, if a parent disagrees with the school’s evaluation, or if the school refuses to evaluate, the parent can request an “Independent Educational Evaluation” (IEE) at school district expense. This is one of several “procedural safeguards” designed to protect the rights of children with disabilities and their parents.

If the school does not want to grant the IEE, they must request a due process hearing and the judge or hearing officer must decide whether to permit the IEE. Schools rarely take this step because the cost of a hearing is much greater than the cost of an evaluation. You need to find out if parents in Australia have a right to an independent educational evaluation (although it may be called something else).

Labels are not useful in developing educational plans for a child. You, his mother, and the school need to know his strengths, weaknesses and educational needs. You will get this information in a comprehensive psycho-educational evaluation from a psychologist or educational diagnostician in the private sector.

Can you and his mother work together to get this done?

My son was labeled cognitive disorder in the first grade and now he is finishing 4th grade. They relize now he doesn’t have cognitive disorder and want to call it a learning disorder now. I’m not convinced he has any disorder at all and now his mother wants to hold him back even though he has passing grades. He is moving to another school after this year and his transition meeting is coming up soon. What can I do?

Dont’ forget about the WV case where a teacher, who was also in the State legislature, was held financially responsible for failing and refusing to provide a student with testing accommodations. I think the title is Doe v. Withers at http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/damag.doe.withers.htm

When I first read that ruling, it bolstered my determination to push back when teachers became uncooperative or recalcitrant. The case is a Section 1983 ruling, which I understand may be difficult to prove. However, this one was proved and, SHAZAM, Mr. Withers was hit hard and heavy, and rightfully so. Okay, off my soap box now…