Do you have a child who has special needs? Perhaps he or she has a learning disability, or perhaps a mental condition that challenges their performance in school? The good news is that advances in mental health research and greater awareness in the education system have helped more schools become better equipped to help children with special needs. The bad news is that many schools still may not have sufficient resources to adequately meet all challenges. That can create uncomfortable situations in which the school and parent disagree on how best to serve the child. If you find yourself in dispute with your child's school, you may find it helpful to work with a special education attorney. Here are a few signs an attorney could be right for you:
You believe the school isn't implementing the individualized education program. In most districts, special needs are met through the implementation of an individualized education program, or an IEP. Sometimes, though, the school and parent may create an IEP only to see it not be implemented correctly by the teacher. Some teachers just don't have the knowledge or skills needed. Others may not fully respect the IEP.
If you believe the IEP isn't being implemented and the school isn't responsive to your concerns, a special education attorney may help. They can elevate the conversation and let the school know you're serious about your concerns. Often, contact from an attorney is enough to make a school more responsive.
Your child's needs are very complex. Schools are often equipped to deal with common needs, such as ADHD or mild autism. However, they may not have the knowledge or resources to develop an effective IEP for children with more complex needs. The only way an IEP can be effective is if it's designed to meet the unique needs of the child. If the school doesn't understand the needs, they may try to fit your child with a solution that isn't appropriate.
A special needs attorney may have more experience with your child's needs. They also may be able to research plans and strategies used in other districts. They can then bring that information to the IEP development process and serve as a helpful voice.
You don't have the time needed to be involved in the process. It would be ideal if you could attend every meeting and be very hands-on in the IEP development. Unfortunately, that's not possible for all parents. You might be a single parent who has to work full-time and care for your other children. Or you may have a job that frequently requires you to travel out of town.
In that case, it may be helpful to hire a special needs attorney to work on your behalf. They can attend meetings and have conversations with the school and can act as your proxy in the process.
For more information, contact a special needs attorney in your area, such as the Law Office of Mark W Voigt. They can help your child get the support and education he or she deserves.