Back to School: IEPs, Section 504 and Eligibility

It is hard to believe that the 2018-2019 school year is upon us. The summer recess has seemingly passed so quickly.  I believe that virtually all school systems will begin this school year next week. This will bring joy to some children but anxiety and fear to others.  This is the time of the year that parents should be mindful of what to expect from the school system for the upcoming school year.  For example, parents may want to review their child’s most recent IEP to determine what educational progress is expected for your child.  Parents may want to consider whether their child’s Section 504 is providing appropriate accommodations and services for their child. Parent may also want to consider – after considerable thought during the summer – whether their child may now be eligible for special education and related services under the IDEA.  These questions and a myriad of others may be on parents’ mind as the new school year is to begin.

As the new school year begins, parents should be prepared to ask questions whether the school system is complying with the IDEA or Section 504 concerning their child’s need for special education and/or related services. The beginning of the school year is when parents should be more aware of their child’s special education programming, services and instruction. Of course, it may take several weeks before parents are able to assess whether the IEP or Section 504 plan developed for their child last school year is providing positive and measurable educational benefits and appropriate accommodations.   For most school systems, report cards and IEP progress reports will be due after the first none-weeks of school. This first grading period may give parents an idea what tends are developing for their child’s education.  Is your child making adequate educational progress on his IEP goals and objectives?  Do your child’s grades for the first grading period reflect accurately what is expected?

When parents begin to  question and voice concerns about their child’s educational progress and programming, it is important to seek help. This may mean calling an advocate or special education attorney for advise and assistance if necessary. Please do not wait until the end of this school year to seek this advise and assistance. A simple call in many cases may help resolve your concerns and answer your questions.  I look forward to hearing from parents that want advice and assistance concerning their child’s education.