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The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) helps children with special needs get the education they need and deserve. One way the IDEA helps children is by authorizing individualized education programs (IEPs) for children who are enrolled in public schools, including charter schools.

If you are interested in championing the right IEP for a child in Ohio or Kentucky, here are the key elements you need to know to successfully collaborate with educators and ensure your child’s needs are met. 

What is an IEP?

An IEP is a special program designed to help your child make progress at school. It is tailored to meet the specific needs of your child and dictates things like when your child will attend school, how they will be supported, and what difficulties instructors should be aware of when teaching your child.

Once an IEP has been created for your child, the school must conform to it. Any violation of the IEP is a violation of your child’s rights. However, just because it is the law doesn’t mean you can count on that right being respected. This is why you need to become an advocate for your child.

Become an Expert in Your Child’s Disability

While your child’s doctor may have a better clinical understanding of your child’s disability, they aren’t available 24 hours a day to advocate for your child. Usually, the best they can do is write a medical report that you can use as evidence. But they won’t be involved in the day-to-day conferences or discussions.

This means that if you want an expert available during those conversations, you will need to become that expert. The good news is that you have lived experiences with your child that can give you additional insight.

Study the medical information available about your child’s disability. Your child’s doctors should be able to assist you; take advantage of that resource while you seek to become an expert yourself.

When you eventually find yourself having difficult conversations with teachers and bureaucrats, you will be able to provide real-life examples as well as appropriate medical studies as convincing support for your arguments.

Ask Questions and Document the Answers

Your child’s IEP only grants the rights that it explicitly spells out. If you assume it says something it doesn’t, you may encounter issues later on. Ask questions about any documents, and ensure you receive direct answers. It is also essential to make sure that you record every answer you obtain in writing.

Know the Rights of Your Child

In addition to becoming an expert on the disability of your child, you also want to become an expert on the rights given to your child under the IDEA.

You will quickly discover that many public schools don’t understand these rights and may violate them unless you explain them thoroughly. This means that you should look ahead at potential problems and try to prevent them before they happen.

Also, when the school inevitably violates the IEP, try not to let the issue immediately turn contentious. Instead, explain what they are doing wrong — referencing the law as necessary — and help them work out a plan to avoid future mistakes. You may need to file a lawsuit if the school is intentionally violating the rights of your child. 

A special education law attorney can guide you on your child’s rights and how to protect them effectively.

Consult With a Special Education Law Attorney Today

The best way to avoid making mistakes when advocating for your special needs child in Cincinnati or Louisville is to consult with a special education law lawyer. The experienced team at Shaw & Nelson has the in-depth knowledge and seasoned skills necessary to help you advocate for your special needs child.

Book a call with us to learn more today.