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 –
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.
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.
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.