My 3 year old son has Angelman’s syndrome and has just started walking independently. He has a one-to-one aide in the school-based prek program. The school is saying they do not have to provide any physical therapy because it is a medical issue. As long as my son has “access” in the classroom, they are not responsible for providing the service.
As a parent, it is time to step up to the plate as the advocate for your son.
First, do your homework.
In your law book read the statute in IDEA 2004 that defines “Child with a disability.” Then read the Wrightslaw footnotes and possible related services exception.
Remember, if a child has a disability and if that disability adversely affects educational performance, then the child should be found eligible for an IEP.
Then, after reading the statute, read the regulations about:
- the definition of a child with a disability, and
- about how physical therapy (PT) is defined relating to the definition of a child with a disability.
(Hint – read the related services statute and the related services regulations.)
Next, read the commentary portion that relates both to the definition of a child with a disability and also the regulations about related services.
Once you have done that, turn to the back of your law book. Read the summary of these two cases.
- Tatro case
- Cedar Rapids v. Garret F
So what if it is a medical condition?
Now you will have an idea how the need for PT should be characterized and presented to the school district so that it is put into your son’s IEP.
It sounds like someone you know is making the recommendation that your son needs PT. That person, presumably a professional, has to also show
- how it is needed, from an educational perspective, and
- the damage to your son if not provided.
And that needs to be put into writing.
You may think the issue is that your son simply needs someone (advocate or attorney) to step in to tell the school system what to do. That approach will simply postpone history repeating itself again, on another issue.
Bottom line – you are your son’s best advocate.
Start at the beginning. Read the legal definition of a child with a disability . . .
Run it all down by reading the law on all of it.
This is the first step in acquiring the information and skills you will need to advocate for the services your son will need.