Hopefully, children start out a new school year excited with a fresh perspective and the anticipation that they are in a higher grade. This couple of weeks in Fall is known as the 'Honeymoon' period as students get to know their teacher and new classmates. Parents are also in this Honeymoon frame of mind as they hope new teachers bring new beginnings and revive an problematic #IEP. Perhaps the teacher can use his magic sauce on existing stale services for their child. As the school or calendar year continues, what should happen when their child stalls on their goal progress?
Meet with the IEP team
Don't settle for a parent-teacher conference unless its a fact-finding mission you can reference at the IEP meeting. While it is good to know who is teaching your child, the teacher cannot implement changes to an IEP without the entire team weighing in. Don't accept a "no" when you ask for a team meeting. Ask for an explanation of why they will not meet and skip to paragraph 3! If there are reasonable indications of a problem and/or you have new information to share, they should agree to discuss it. Here is where you should know how long, in general, you have to complain through dispute resolution methods under IDEA. If you are in a state with a shorter statute of limitations than the Federal look-back of two years, you have no time to waste.
Statute of limitations
Many parents are given incorrect information about timelines and the statute is no different. Check with your Parent Training and Information Center on details. Don't listen to your neighbor that says you have 6 years to do something. Furthermore, your child may be missing instruction during a critical stage of skill acquisition which requires twice as much or more remediation. Here in Texas, you can be deep into the school year and realize that the issues you raised in a meeting and want addressed are outside of 12 months. Don't get caught in this position. When someone says "claims outside the statute of limitations," you will know what that means.
Consult with individuals knowledgeable about IDEA
Many #advocates and attorneys will give you some time to describe your issues over the phone for a reduced or free cost. This way you know what you can do with the school before determining nothing will change without professional help. Don't wait too long to find out if your concerns are legitimate. The clock is ticking.
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