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Parents, this is for you...

Have the following thoughts entered your mind? "What do I do? I feel like my child is struggling with learning, but I do not know how to help. We have tried tutoring, flash cards, and tips from the teacher, but my child does not seem to be making much progress."

If you have had these thoughts, you are not alone. Many parents have considered these same thoughts, including myself. Unfortunately, many parents are not aware of the options they have for their child. Let me help get you started. Here are a few steps you can take as well as what you can expect once you make a decision.

01

Request an evaluation for special education services

Parents do not have to wait for teachers or other school personnel to address struggles with learning. As a parent, you have the right to request an evaluation for special education services. This should be accomplished as a written request directed to the campus principal. I have linked the IDEA manual here.* Please refer to page 74 if you need a template for a letter to request an evaluation.

*Disability Rights Texas & The Arc of Texas. (2022, July 30). IDEA manual: A guide for Texas parents and students on special education rights. Disability Rights Texas. https://disabilityrightstx.org/en/publication/idea-manual/

02

Parental Consent

After a parent requests an evaluation for their child, the local education agency (LEA) should send home a form titled, "Consent for Evaluation." Once the parent signs the form and returns it to the LEA, the LEA has 45 school days to evaluate the student.

03

Eligibility Determination

Once the evaluation is completed, the ARD committee has 30 calendar days to determine eligibility, write an IEP, and determine placement.

04

Developing the IEP

For students that are eligible for special education services, the ARD committee must write and agree upon the Individualized Education Plan (IEP). Parents are members of the ARD committee and are encouraged to be active participants in developing the IEP. This is your opportunity as a parent to voice concerns and ask questions about suggestions regarding your child. The accommodations recommended in the IEP will help your child access the general education curriculum in a way that benefits your child. Goals will be put into place to help your child achieve to their best ability! 

05

Expect progress reports and stay connected with the local education agency

Once special education services have been implemented, parents should expect to see progress reports from teachers and/or specialists that are delivering interventions to reach goals set in the IEP. Parents should have been provided a copy of the IEP, and can always refer to the goals, methods of progress monitoring, and timeframes the progress monitoring should be delivered. If you have concerns or questions in between ARD meetings, parents are always welcome to maintain active communication with the LEA.

06

Support your student and the LEA

Parents are vital component to student success. Please continue to support your child at home with any suggestions given by the LEA. It is extremely beneficial to your child if you keep open communication and support to the LEA. The more the two entities cooperate, the better the likelihood that your child will succeed to the best of their abilities.

07

Concerns that the IEP needs changes?

It is acceptable to want to add or take away accommodations or modifications to the IEP even if it is not time for an ARD meeting. As a parent, you have the right to call an ARD meeting to voice your concerns and offer suggestions. If the ARD committee agrees, the IEP can be changed. Remember to be patient, as a parent cannot solely decide what is changed, just as an LEA may not make decisions without a parent's consent.

08

What happens after graduation?

Transition services are offered and discussed during ARD meetings beginning when a child turns 14. LEAs might invite local coordinators to ARD meetings to help discuss post graduation public services that are offered to students with special needs. This will be in coordination with the LEA to promote success of the student outside of the public school system. This can include post secondary education options, vocational options, employment goals, trainings and independent living assistance where applicable.

Encouraging remarks...

Navigating the road of your child's education can seem daunting at times, but you are not alone. Educational staff can answer your questions and help you find the best way for your child to succeed. One of the best pieces of advice that I can offer is to ask questions. Educational staff can be your best ally in your child's education by bringing their knowledge and expertise to your child's individual needs. No one knows your child better than their parent, therefore, you bring tremendous value to your child's education. Bring your knowledge and expertise of your child and embark on this journey together.

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