Helping Your Child Get Started With Educational SupportFeb 03, 2023
Helping Your Child Get Started With Educational Support
Starting the process of getting an IEP or other accommodations for your child can be overwhelming and time-consuming, but I’m here to walk you through each step of the process.
If you think your child may need additional support or accommodations at school – you’re probably right.
The only problem is that the special education system is fairly complicated, highly regulated, and can be frustratingly slow when you’re anxious about your child’s progress and well-being.
A special education advocate (hi, that’s me!) can help you avoid making many of the mistakes first-time parents find themselves stuck in when navigating special education services and can help you get the right support for your child.
Let’s start at the beginning!
How to Identify if Your Child is a Special Needs Student
I always say to trust your parental instincts. You know your child best! But the school can’t just take your word for it when it comes to starting the IEP process.
There are two basic ways to begin:
- Child Find: This federal law requires that schools and teachers be on the lookout for children who may need additional support. Your child’s teacher or school staff recognizes that your student is struggling and implement some strategies and accommodations. Based on the success of the interventions, the teacher will recommend further testing.
- Parental request for educational testing. This process can take anywhere from 60-90 days.
Signs you may want to have your child tested:
- They don’t interact with other students or struggle to play or connect with classmates
- They aren’t meeting grade-level progress or milestones
- They struggle with school work or have regular meltdowns over attending school or doing homework
- They feel anxious, frustrated, or overwhelmed by school
- Delays in reading
- Difficult to understand their speech
How Does My Child Qualify for Special Education Services
Under IDEA – the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act – there are 13 categories that qualify a child for special education services.
These 13 categories are:
- Specific Learning Disability (SLD) – this includes a diagnosis of things like dyslexia, dyscalculia, or written expression disorder
- Other Health Impairment – this includes anything that limits or affects your child’s strength, focus, or energy
- Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) – this includes a wide range of developmental disabilities
- Emotional Disturbance – this can include mental health issues like bipolar disorder, anxiety, or depression
- Speech or Language Impairment – this can include trouble pronouncing words or understanding words that are spoken to the child.
- Visual Impairment – this can include blindness and partial sight
- Deafness – this can include children who cannot hear most sounds, even with a hearing aid
- Deaf-Blindness – this covers children who are both deaf and blind and need specific assistance
- Hearing Impairment – this includes hearing issues that are not covered by deafness
- Orthopedic Impairment – this can include things like cerebral palsy or paralysis
- Intellectual Disability – this can include below-average intellectual capabilities, poor communication, and challenges with self-care
- Traumatic Brain Injury – This includes injuries caused by a severe accident or physical force
- Multiple Disabilities – this includes a child who has more than one disability covered by IDEA
Just because your child has a disability does not automatically qualify them for special education services.
And just because your child’s need may not be immediately apparent, it does not mean they do not qualify for special education services.
You need to start with the proper testing to begin to understand how to advocate for your child and get the accommodations and support they need to succeed and be cared for.
Support for You as You Support Your Child
Navigating the world of special education can be a lot for any parent. That’s why I work as a special needs advocate – to help you understand the process, avoid crucial mistakes that can slow things down, and understand all your rights.
If you’re considering having your child tested or are in the early stages of developing an IEP for your child, you may want to check out my Voxer Support Service.
Voxer is a free voice-messaging app, and for only $97/month for 3 months, you can have me – a special needs advocate – in your back pocket. I’ll answer all of your questions, help you avoid tricky mistakes lots of first-time parents make, and support you in getting the right testing, answers, and support for your child.
Interested in working with me? Click here to contact me, and we’ll chat about the details!