Is Your Student with Special Needs in the Right School?

Is Your Student with Special Needs in the Right School?

- in Ages & Stages, Education, Special Needs

Midway through the school year is a good time to evaluate your child’s academic progress. You might be concerned about your child’s current school environment. Not all children can handle a typical education environment. Alternatively, you might be concerned about your child’s education plan.

Finding the right plan is complicated. Some learners need to have the curriculum re-taught. Other students need structured literacy methods like Orton-Gillingham or Wilson, or might need more hands-on methods of learning like touch math and/or access to graphic organizers. Students might need extended time for tests or require audiobooks to help them comprehend the material. You might question whether the school really understands your child’s needs. It can become apparent that despite all attempts to accommodate a student, nothing seems to work.

Are you feeling like your child’s academic needs are being met?
If your child has an IEP or a 504 Plan, your school is required to make accommodations specific to your child based on how he or she learns. Your child might be pulled out of class to receive proper instruction or integrated into a general education classroom. He or she might be eligible to receive related services such as speech therapy and/or occupational therapy. There is no one size fits all approach and the current plan may need to be reevaluated to better suit your child.

Are there other school options for students with learning disabilities?
Sometimes, no matter what you try, a parent should explore other options. We are lucky to have many special purpose schools in Northeast Ohio that can meet the needs of your child. Whether your child is dyslexic, ADHD, autistic or just needs academic respite, there might be a more suitable match for your child. Plus, the Jon Peterson grant offers scholarship money for those with an IEP in the state of Ohio.

Click here for a list of the top special purpose schools in Northeast Ohio.

If you have questions regarding your child’s placement, our Education Practice Group has resources to help. Our practice can review your child’s IEP or 504 Plan, along with progress reports, to determine whether your child is receiving a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). If not, the practice can provide options ranging from renegotiating a plan in your child’s current school or exploring other private placements.

— By Susan C. Stone and Mary Jo O’Neill, who works closely with McCarthy Lebit’s Education practice team to add value and provide support to clients.

About the author

Susan C. Stone is the head of the Education practice group at McCarthy Lebit. She has a strong litigation background that includes representing both plaintiffs and defendants in state and federal courts involving criminal defense, employment issues and other forms of negligence and contract disputes. Susan has spearheaded McCarthy Lebit’s Education practice to encompass, among other topics, special education law, including due process complaints and the negotiation of IEPs and 504 plans.

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