How Do I “Fight” for My Son’s Needs?

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My 10-year-old has just been diagnosed as ADHD, OCD, anxiety, and Tourette’s Disorder. His doctor has recommended a parapro. Should we get an IEP or 504? I need to know how to proceed if I need to “fight” for this for my son.

Advocacy Advice from the Community Helpline –

From David…

If you haven’t already read Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy, I highly recommend it.

I would never agree to a parent fighting the public school for their child’s education. You never hear of a fight where both participants win and a child’s education is a risky thing to put on the line.

My wife and I purchased the book mentioned above as well as The Special Education Law book.

We began learning how to advocate for our son when he was in middle school. He currently has a 3.87 GPA in college and is his own advocate these days. It is worthwhile to understand the difference between a 504 and an IEP and the book talks about the importance of SMART goals in an IEP.

From Sharon…

An evaluation should be done but I would not pay for an outside evaluation to start.

You should request an evaluation from the school & then sign the school’s consent form immediately. The 60 day requirement to get the testing done does not start until their consent form is signed.

When the test is complete, you will sit down with the team and review the results. You can request the results of the tests before the meeting to review the results and prepare for your meeting with the team.

If you do not like the results of the testing, you do not have to sign. You can then request an outside evaluation be performed at the school’s expense. The school will give you places to go for the test but you can pick your own tester. This will usually get what you need for your child.

From Morning…

Sharon, I agree with what you are saying as it is the proper procedure. In most cases, it does work.

Some parents with older kids cannot wait for failing schools to act as there is less remediation in the higher grades. For some parents, taking action and control by paying for (if they can afford it) outside evaluations on their own “woke-up” schools systems that would have stalled or not provide the right services.

As a parent, I cannot afford to wait as I have an older child.

I have, through my experience, been very successful getting her needs met with that strategy and collaboration with the school district. I worked in school systems and see them fail many students who have independent evaluations so I don’t play around. Your advice is sound and my case may be individualized just to my child.

From Wrightslaw…

Advocating for Your Child – Getting Started

Game Plan for New Parents

Summer School for Parents

Find more questions and answers on the Community HELPLINE and the HELPLINE Archives.

  1. Please explain your “somehow” we need more legislation? Also note, my non-unique 7th grader is 3+ grades below and because of DD work in my state, we now have Wilson, which he finally got. We are pushing for legislation because there are thousands of others that won’t automatically get this accommodation until we have it as a mandate. Frankly, I am puzzled by the undertones of some of the innuendos of this posting. In the end, the cost savings of our work is about saving lives and budgetary impacts are far reaching to the End User.

    The way in which this article was delivered with “manipulation” is truly disheartening. The fact remains that schools do not follow that which 1in5 understand and provide FAPE. It is abusive to see what continues and Decoding Dyslexia is going to ensure change, which hasn’t been changed.

  2. “… somehow, we need more legislation to get services for our kiddos with dyslexia”

    Thank you for your posting which raises questions about Dyslexia approaches. For decades the appropriate changes that could have been made by way of accommodations for children with Dyslexia, have not. In fact, lawyers, advocates and parents over the years who individually fought for that struggling Dyslexic child, did so, yet the ripples never reached the Department of Education, whereupon changes were never made.

    The science is there that 1in5 are Dyslexic. The Data supports Literacy is a problem. Let’s take a collective, proactive group of concerned people that recognize the disparity and how Decoding Language is NOT being afforded to these children. Implement the legislation to drive the programs.

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