Free and Appropriate Public School Education (FAPE)
Your child is entitled to the educational programs, accommodations and resources guaranteed under the law. Your child is entitled to special accommodations, as needed, to excel in their educational career. Your school is required to provide the appropriate environment for learning. Your child is entitled to an educational environment free of bullying by students, teachers or administrators. These are just some of the issues that many students face on a daily basis. Often times, the Department of Education fails to provide the necessary resources for students to excel in their program. All students are entitled to Free and Appropriate Education.
Mr. Golkin advocates for the rights of students to receive a fair and appropriate education.
How Can I Tell If a School Is Not Working for My Child?
Some signs that a school or program is not helping your child succeed are:
- An early elementary school child with the capacity to learn has difficulty reading or solving mathematical programs – even if the child has been getting support in school and continues to struggle.
- A child tries to leave the classroom, has behavioral issues in a class or has no friends
- A child approaching middle school is disorganized, forgetful or has difficulty following multi-step instructions.
- A child of any age becomes reluctant to go to school (called school avoidance), engages in self-harm, suddenly changes their group of friends and drops out of activities they used to enjoy
- A child of any age whose behaviors become worse or whose abilities decline.
The Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA) requires public schools to recognize and be aware of these, and other, signs and evaluate a child. You can ask for an evaluation in writing whether your child has an IEP or not. You’ll need an evaluation to understand your child’s needs and for admission to a specialized private school. Children with IEPs must be evaluated at least every 3 years or as needed (but not more than once a year).
If you are unaware how to ask for an evaluation, we can help facilitate your child’s evaluation and giving him or her the attention, diagnosis and program to succeed.
How Can an Evaluation Help Me?
An evaluation is where it all starts. Evaluations assess intelligence, attention and memory, emotional and personality factors, behavior, organization, judgment, planning and efficiency at producing work.
An evaluation may be requested either by the parent or the school district. This is called a ‘referral.’ After the school has evaluated a child, the parent has the right to obtain an independent evaluation at public expense by an evaluator of their choice. 20 U.S.C. §1414(a),(b); 20 U.S.C. §1415. Failing grades or below grade level performance is not the sole criteria for IDEA or special education protection. Often, the ability to function in school and in society are greater concerns. A good evaluation will describe the modifications, supports and services that your child needs in order to make progress.
Your child might need additional, specialized tests evaluate disabilities in other areas, such as reading, receptive and expressive language skills, dexterity, behavior or the need for assistive technology. School districts often fail to evaluate in these discrete areas. We can guide you through the process to assert your right to complete evaluations. Getting the right evaluations is important to securing the special education services your child needs.
What If My Child Has Been Misdiagnosed?
These are the classifications under the IDEA for special education: “… intellectual disabilities, hearing impairments (including deafness), speech or language impairments, visual impairments (including blindness), serious emotional disturbance …, orthopedic impairments, autism, traumatic brain injury, other health impairments, or specific learning disabilities” . ADD, ADHD, dyslexia, dysgraphia and other conditions are recognized as disabilities under the IDEA. Classification under the IDEA gives students and their parents a package of rights and holds school districts accountable.
How Can I Get My Child Enrolled in an Individualized Educational Program (IEP)?
Once classified as eligible for protection under the IDEA, the child is eligible for an IEP. The program is formulated at a meeting between the parents and certain school district personnel and written into an IEP document. IEPs specify the type of class in which your child will be placed, any related services that will be provided, annual goals, reporting periods and accommodations. You do not have to attend the meeting alone, and Law Offices of Dewey Golkin collaborates with qualified non-attorney advocates in New York to strategize for the meeting.
You don’t have to agree with or accept the IEP, but you do need to cooperate with your district and consider the placements and services they offer.
If you are dissatisfied with the district’s proposals, we can help you challenge the IEP and, in certain cases, either get payment for services from outside, independent providers or non-public schools for New York tuition reimbursement.