Special education services during the summer

by beagooddad on April 19, 2007

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We were originally told by the school district that Pookie was going to be eligible for 4 1/2 weeks of extended school year during the summer. We were disappointed because that left a lot of weeks open and we were afraid of regression.

So we asked them where that number came from and why Pookie could not get more extended school year when his IEP clearly indicates that he needs it and we were able to document regressions over Christmas break and spring break.

The school board said the plan they offered is what they offer everybody for extended school year and they do not have the budget for more.

Ah ha. Busted. And bull.

Federal and state special education laws require all special education services to be tailored to the individual students. School districts are not allowed to unilaterally set special ed services. They also are not allowed to not provide services based of budget issues. If the powers that be decide that my son needs a llama living in the back yard as part of his special education, the school must provide it.

Most people don’t know that. School boards will normally test you by offering their minimum baseline services.

We told them that they are not allowed to limit Pookie’s services based on budget and they must tailor his extended school year to meet the individual goals defined in his IEP. We also told them that we would go through the phases of mediation and due process if necessary.  We did all of this in polite letters sent through certified mail.  We made sure all of their replies were in writing.
We got a call the other day informing us that they want to offer Pookie 3 weeks of 5 days a week for 90 minutes in home one on one sessions.

That ends up covering enough of the summer to keep us happy.

The lessons I learned through this. Learn how to officially make your requests, learn what your kids’ rights are, do not be afraid to ask for more if you are not comfortable with what the school district is offering.  A decent place to start researching is at the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services website.  You should also contact your local state advocacy group and schedule a meeting.  It is free and they know a ton.

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