Before children can receive special education services at a public school, they must have an individualized education program or IEP. An IEP is a document that is tailored to the child and details how they learn and what service providers and teachers can do to facilitate academic success. If your kid has already been evaluated and has an IEP in place but is not receiving what was promised to them, a special education law attorney can help.
How to Evaluate the IEP
An IEP should contain specific and unambiguous guidelines regarding classroom accommodations, assistive technology, and extracurricular help for the child. The IEP should be reviewed periodically and updated annually and as needed to align with the child’s needs and academic progress. It is ultimately up to parents, though, to advocate for their kids and ensure the school is providing all the services listed in the document. You can evaluate the extent of the services being provided by:
- Checking in with the teacher, therapist, or aide regularly;
- Stopping by the school to observe the program in person;
- Evaluating your child’s progress when doing homework; and
- Talking to the parents of other children in the special education program.
How to Enforce the IEP
If you think that the IEP does not provide services that are needed to meet your child’s individual needs, or that the agreed upon services are not being provided, then turn to a special education law attorney. First, the lawyer will review the plan line by line to determine if it contains any ambiguous language. If it does, they will then contact the school to see how they interpreted questionable elements of the individual education plan. If it turns out to be a simple misunderstanding, they will help the team modify the IEP so everyone has a clear picture of the school’s obligations. If the dispute cannot be resolved without assistance, then your legal team can formally challenge the school’s position that the services it is providing is sufficient.
Your challenge may be reviewed by the Bureau of Special Education Appeals, which is responsible for assessing and/or resolving such matters in the public school system. Depending on the circumstances, your attorney may then negotiate for appropriate services or proceed to a due process hearing. If the hearing reveals that the school failed to comply with the law, then appropriate services should be put into a new plan.
If you need a special education law attorney in Boston, MA, turn to the Law Offices of Robert E. Badger. The firm limits their scope of practice to just two areas—family law and special education law—so you can be sure the counsel you receive from them is comprehensive, up-to-date, and coming from considerable firsthand experience. Visit the website or call (617) 963-3599 to schedule a consultation to discuss your child’s individual education plan.