Sometimes disability is evident very early in a child’s life, but that’s not always the case. Parents need to be attuned whether a child is struggling in some fashion. Maybe the child has difficulty following directions. They say they didn’t hear you or they forgot. They are highly disorganized and fail to manage their time. Or perhaps their reading comprehension or math skills noticeably weak. As the child gets older, that struggle starts looking more like drowning, inviting in a whole host of other problems, like crippling anxiety and frustration. Seriously, how would you feel if you couldn’t keep up? If you start seeing something that just doesn’t seem quite right, that’s when you have legal tools that you can use. The first is the right to ask for an evaluation by your public school district, even if your child is enrolled in a private school.
Some parents are ashamed to ask for evaluations and fear their child being labeled. Prejudice against students in need of extra support is the real. We MUST lose the shame! Instead, consider the positive long-term outcome of providing a child with the proper supports.
Others are annoyed that there is a legal process involved. But before the IDEA became effective in 1975, families had no legal tools at all. The process isn’t perfect, but it’s something and countless people have benefited as a result. Also, there are so many steps that parents can take on their own before they get a lawyer, like myself, involved. So why am I writing this? Well, the work I do is highly collaborative and if the parent has maintained a record of a child’s challenges, their requests to the school district and the district’s response, then I’ll be better able to assert legal claims – if it ever comes down to that. So, yes. Special education. For your child.