Monday, June 27, 2011

Special Education Summer (or Anytime) Checklist- Get Your Special Education Ducks in a Row

By Michelle Ball, California Education Attorney for Students since 1995

Summer often can be a very different time for parents as school year woes fade away.  However, despite the new schedule, with kids at home, summer vacations, and other activities, parents should use the summer to make the upcoming school year more productive, for themselves and their kids.

Parents should try some of the below items (aka a short special education checklist) to make next year easier:

Organize
1)  Put student special education and other records into date order with the most current on top.
2)  Three-hole punch them and insert into a 3 ring binder.
3)  Separate by year (e.g. put dividers between school years).
4)  Tab key documents (IEPs, assessments, etc.) for easy reference, e.g. at IEP (Individualized Education Program) meetings.

Compare
1)  Now that the records are in order, they should be reviewed and compared to see what is amiss and whether regression has been occurring.  For example, did last school year see a decline in grades or test scores from the year before?  Have special education services decreased at the same time?  What changed?  2)  Check and note down gaps in the records or missing reports.

Review
1)  Review the services the student was supposed to receive during the last school year per the IEP.
2)  Talk to the student to find out what they ACTUALLY received.  Review any notes taken evidencing services delivered and/or not delivered.
3)  List out what was missed.  For example, did the student receive only half of  the speech and language services?  Did they receive all occupational therapy (OT) sessions?

Decide what is needed
1)  Are any assessments due?  Check assessments to see if more than 3 years have gone by since assessment.
2)  Should certain areas be reevaluated?
3)  Any services that were missed should be made up as the student was entitled to these services.
4)  Do new placement options need to be explored?
5)  Do services need to be increased?

Meet with professionals who can help you with your special education needs 
1)  Meet with an education attorney to go over the last IEP, findings, and to get the attorney's take on the situation.  The education attorney may also need to be involved to make things go smoother.
2)  Meet with any outside providers who can evaluate needs and ensure the placement is appropriate.

Request the items needed and/or wanted in writing to the District
1)  Assessments which may be needed
2)  Services which were missed
3)  Records that may be missing from the parent's files
4)  An accounting of all service hours which were actually delivered (e.g. OT, speech and language, etc.)
5)  Evidence (e.g. a sign-in log) showing the services were actually delivered.
6)  An IEP meeting (as needed).

This special education checklist should keep parents of special education students busy during those long summer days and should make the future go better.  When the press of an IEP meting comes, a parent with a great binder and actual knowledge of what was missed, done, and/or what is needed, can better argue the points and is more likely to get what they want.


Best,
Michelle Ball
Education Law Attorney
LAW OFFICE OF MICHELLE BALL
717 K Street, Suite 228
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: 916-444-9064
Fax: 916-444-1209
Website: http://www.edlaw4students.com/

Please see my disclaimer on the bottom of my blog page [http://edlaw4students.blogspot.com/]. This is legal information, not legal advice and no attorney-client relationship is formed by this posting, etc. etc.!  This blog may not be reproduced without permission from the author and proper attribution of authorship.

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