Bad Economy and Staff cutbacks Affect Special Needs Students

February 2nd, 2009

Hi Parents!

While we excitedly await the many changes that will be occurring in Washington, and changes in our daily lives, we need to remain ever-diligent about how those changes will affect our Children with learning disabilities and the fulfillment of our child’s IEP in the school.

The election brought many changes and among those was the lack of mill-levy funding to many schools throughout the nation. This will mean inevitable cutbacks on staff and services within the districts, and unfortunately, some of those cuts will happen in many Special Education departments. Many teachers will be forced to add more students to their contact sheets and classrooms, not only regular education kids but special education kids that require services. Some services may be provided by personnel that are not highly trained or qualified, in an effort to cut back on higher paid specialists.

Now is the time for parents to be more aware of what is happening in your child’s school.

* Make sure you request an IEP team meeting to refresh and ensure that all your child’s needs are provided and who is providing those services.
* Hold the school accountable for providing the highest quality goals for your child, not matter what the cost.
* Help the school with creative ways to fund your child’s needs…..maybe an out-sourced provider or specialist that could provide the same services at a reduced rate for the school.

You must do the best you can to monitor the situation and the services that your child is receiving.

* Visit the school and sit in on class to observe the activities, and be sure to have a lunch-date with your child occasionally. This is a great time to observe the surroundings.
* Make sure that you know each providers’ name, email and phone number and give them your contact information.
* Ask them if there is anything you can do to insure that your child is receiving all the services on the IEP. This is also a good way to make sure that the teacher knows what your child should be receiving.
* Stay aware of what is happening in your child’s school and always keep the lines of communication open with teachers and other parents. They are your best source of information.

If you feel that your child is not thriving or achieving as expected, don’t wait for the next IEP meeting. You have the right to request a meeting at any time. Follow protocol and send your request to the Special Education teacher and the Principle in writing.

Don’t hesitate to ask a friend, family member or doctor to attend with you if you don’t want to go alone.

Be diligent in this time of sacrifice and cutbacks and protect the rights of your child’s IEP. Child educational advocacy is still the number one goal!

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