Rights and Responsibilities of Families with Learning Disabled Children
United States' law provides learning disabled children with a variety of rights when it comes to their education. Read to learn more about how the law protects your learning disabled child, and how you can use these laws to provide your child with the best education possible.
If you are concerned that your learning disabled child is not being treated fairly in their current education system, it is important to learn about all of the laws pertaining to their rights and protections. Currently, United States laws work to provide disabled youth a fair and equal education.
Your Child's Rights
Your learning disabled child's rights are provided under Public Law 105-17, which is also known as IDEA, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Following the specific protections are some suggestions for parents to ensure their child is receiving a quality education.
- Every student has the right to a free public education that appropriately fits their educational needs. Parents should only have to pay fees that are also charged to families without disabilities.
- Families have the right to request an evaluation if they suspect their child has a disability that would require special services. Parents can also request a reevaluation at anytime and the school must reevaluate the student at least once every three years.
- Children can be tested in the language they best understand. This includes having an interpreter for deaf students and Braille or large print for visually impaired students.
- Parents have the right to be notified in writing by the school whenever an evaluation, reevaluation or change in a child's educational placement is proposed. Parents also have the right to informed consent, which means parents understand and agree in writing to evaluation and educational placement of a child; this may be withdrawn whenever the parents so choose.
- Schools must permit parents access to their education records and academic progress. Parents can also participate in the creation of a child's individualized education program or the individualized family service plan.
- Children have the right to regular education classes to the maximum extent possible when taking into consideration their special needs.
These regulations and protections were created for a reason so you should not feel like you are overstepping your bounds by requesting any of the information or services outlined by the rights above. Additionally, it is best for parents to stay current with special education laws because amendments can be passed to change these rights.
Protecting Your Child's Rights
Parents can help their learning disabled children by developing a relationship with the local school, having your child included in regular school activities, monitoring your child's progress, tutoring, keeping records, and joining parent organizations.
Keeping in touch with your child's teachers and other school officials will help to establish a rapport with the school. This will cause the school to respect your family and the decisions you make regarding your child's education. Doing so will help you to monitor the school's treatment of your child and their learning environment. You will be able to ensure your child is included in normal school activities such as lunch, recess, art, music, physical education and any other program that the average student participates in. Of course, their participation in these activities may be restricted due to any limitations your child's disability may present.
Monitoring Your Child's Education
Expect periodic progress reports. These are usually sent to all families during the school year. If these progress reports show your child is not improving, it is best to schedule conferences with teachers to discuss activities your family can do at home to help the student. Also, it may be time to consider a new individualized education program that will better target your child's needs. Many families with children who have learning disabilities implement supplemental tutoring programs to further their child's comprehension of school lessons. This is becoming more convenient with the advent of the Internet because tutoring centers are now located online and children can access their lessons from any computer with the Internet.
It is also recommended for parents to keep adequate records of the child's education. This will help you monitor your student's educational progress and remind you of any concerns you need to discuss with their teachers. When writing reminders and concerns, it is best to make sure to keep them organized so they are easily located before a parent-teacher conference. You may even want to create an agenda for your conferences so you remember to discuss all points of interest.
Parent organizations are another valuable resource for families. The more people you have supporting your effort, the more power you will have in your school. Additionally, other parents can provide tremendous emotional support, knowledge and experience with the frustrations and situations you are currently facing!
If you still run into problems with your child's education, most states have advocacy agencies that can help guide you to a solution. The contact information for these agencies is likely to be found on your state's website.
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