SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (Mass Appeal) – How would a parent know if their child was in need or eligible for special education? Attorney Shawn Willis from the Law Offices of Cooley Shrair in Springfield shared more.
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How would a parent know if their child was in need or eligible for special education?
Every school aged child in Massachusetts is entitles to a free education that is fair and appropriate. State and Federal law requires public school districts to identify and evaluate every child that is suspected of having a learning disability that impairs their ability to make adequate academic progress. If a parent believes their child has such a disability, they can request that the school evaluate their child to determine what disabilities they may have and what type of services they may need to help them achieve adequate academic success in the least restrictive environment as possible.
If a parent thinks their child is struggling in school and thinks their child might have a learning disability but the school is not doing anything about it, what can they do?
Parents can make a request to the school and for an evaluation of their child. At that time the parent should complete a consent form. After making a request the law requires the school to complete an evaluation within 30 days and they are required to assemble a special education TEAM and schedule a meeting within 45 days of the parents consent.
Should the Parent expect to participate in the meeting?
Absolutely. The school should not schedule any TEAM meeting without giving the parents advance notice of the date and they have to provide the parents with any evaluations, assessments or reports that are going to be considered at the meeting. Also, upon request, the school must provide the parent with their student’s complete academic record. I suggest every parent make that request early on so they can be as informed about their child’s progress as they need to be.
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