special ed

A parent can appreciate that taking care of children is a full time job in and of itself. There are places to go, purchases to make and activities to attend. For those parents who have a special ed child, the responsibilities which they face are even greater.

Special ed children need extra attention with regard to schoolwork and basic life challenges which non-special ed children may not face as readily. There are a few things which parents with special ed children can keep in mind when coping with having a special ed child.

Ask for support from family members and friends

A wonderful way to cope with having a special ed child is to get support from friends and family members. Family members and friends are often a great source of support and comfort when a parent of a special ed child is encountering difficult and trying times.

Try not to expect too much from your friends and family. They may not truly understand what you are going through.

Join a support Group

If you need more support than your friends and family can offer, try attending a support group. Many parents with special ed children find that getting together with other parents in similar situations makes a world of difference. They can discuss topics surrounding their children or simply be there for one another when help is needed. Support groups for parents of special ed children provide a caring setting for those with similar lives to gather and bond with one another.

Take Time Out for Yourself

Parents of special ed children know that a large portion of their lives is focused on caring for their children. It is important that the parents find time for themselves to get away for a few hours and focus on their lives in between taking care of their children.

It is important that the parents find time for themselves. It will give the parents a much needed break to relax and wind down for a while. Also, a more relaxed parent will yield a more focused one in general which will benefit the child in the end. Parents of special ed children should remember that they too need to care for themselves and have a little time alone will benefit both parent and child.

Get help from the child’s school

How a school identifies a child with special education needs

Step 1. Identification as possibly needing special education services.

There are 2 primary ways children are selected as needing special education services: child find services and referral.

  • Child Find. Each state is required identify, evaluate, and service all children with disabilities who need special education services.
    • Parents may be asked by Child Find for permission to evaluate their child.
    • Parents can also call the Child Find office and request for an evaluation of their child.
  • Referral or request for evaluation.
    • A school professional may request for a child be evaluated.
    • Parents can request for their child be evaluated. Written requests are best.

Parental consent is needed before a child may be evaluated and the evaluation needs completed within 60 days after the parent gives consent.

Step 2. Child is evaluated.

Evaluation is an important early step in the special education process. It is designed to answer these questions:

  • Does the child have a disability that requires the provision of special education and related services?
  • What are the child’s specific educational needs?
  • What special education services and related services, then, are appropriate for addressing those needs?

Step 3. Eligibility is decided.

A group of qualified professionals and the parents look at the child’s evaluation results. Together, they decide if the child qualifies for services. If the parents do not agree with the eligibility decision, they may ask for a hearing to challenge the decision.

Step 4. Child is found eligible for services.

If the child is eligible for special education and related services a team of school professionals and the parents must meet to write an individualized education program (IEP) for the child. This meeting must occur within 30 calendar days after a child is determined eligible.

Step 5. IEP meeting is scheduled.

The school system schedules and conducts the IEP meeting. School staff must:

  • contact the participants, including the parents;
  • notify parents early enough to make sure they have an opportunity to attend;
  • schedule the meeting at a time and place agreeable to parents and the school;
  • tell the parents the purpose, time, and location of the meeting;
  • tell the parents who will be attending; and
  • tell the parents that they may invite people to the meeting who have knowledge or special expertise about the child.

Step 6. IEP meeting is held and the IEP is written.

The IEP team gathers to talk about the child’s needs and write the student’s IEP. Parents and the student (when appropriate) are full participating members of the team.

Before the school system may provide special education and related services to the child for the first time, the parents must give consent. The child will receive services as soon parents give consent to the written IEP.

Step 7. Services are provided.

The school is responsible for carrying out the written terms of the child’s IEP. Parents are given a copy of the IEP. Each of the child’s teachers and service providers has access to the IEP and knows his or her specific responsibilities for carrying out the IEP.

Step 8. Measurement and reporting to parents.

The child’s parents are regularly informed via progress reports of their child’s progress and whether that progress is enough for the child to achieve the goals by the end of the year.

Step 9. IEP is reviewed.

The child’s IEP is reviewed by the IEP team at least once a year, or more often if the parents or school ask for a review. If necessary, revisions are made

Step 10. Child is reevaluated.

The child must be reevaluated every three years (triennial).