3 Ways to Use Tape Recordings to Help Your Child in Special Education

Are you the parent of a child with autism? Are you the parent of a

child receiving special education services? Would you like to learn

parenting tips that will help you become an equal participant in your

child’s Individual Education Plan (IEP) meeting? This article will

discuss 3 ways that tape recording can help you in advocating for an

appropriate education for your child with a disability

3 ways to use tape recording:

1. Tape recording can allow you to focus on what is happening during

the meeting, rather than focusing on taking notes. Listen to

everything that is going on, and do write down important things. Speak

up and give your opinion as often as you need to, for the benefit of

your child.

2. If an IEP meeting is tape recorded, you will be able to go over it

at a later time, and fill in your notes. It will also allow you to

remember things that may have happened that you missed. IEP meetings

can be adversarial. A tape recording allows you to listen to the

interactions in the privacy of your own home.

3. Tape recordings of IEP meetings can be used as evidence at a due

process hearing. In order to use a tape recording, as evidence, it

will have to be transcribed. Tape recorders should be digital, and

powerful enough to pick up several different people’s voices.

A lot of special education personnel become very resistant when

parents want to tape record IEP meetings. Below is an interpretation

of tape recording under IDEA, by the Office of Special Education

Programs (OSEP).

OSEP published its question #12 opinion in the Federal Register Volume

57, No. 183, Sept. 29, 1992 interpreting tape recording IEP meetings

and stated “that it is permissible to tape IEP meetings at the option

of either the parents or the agency.”

There have also been several law suits that have given parents the

right to tape record IEP meetings. One of these court cases in

Connecticut V.W. v. Favolise had the court reason that parents have a

statutory right, to attend and participate in IEP meetings, and the

district could not legally engage in an act to limit the parents

rights.

If special education personnel refuse to allow you to tape record,

because they say that they have a district policy, ask for a written

copy of the policy. OSEP in a memorandum 91-24 July 18, 1991 stated

“Thus any policy limiting or prohibiting a parent’s right to tape

record the proceedings at an IEP meeting must provide for exceptions

if they are necessary to ensure that the parent is able to understand

the proceedings at the IEP meeting. . .” Ask your school district for

an exception, so that you can understand the IEP meeting.

With the written policy in hand, cancel the IEP meeting, and send a

state complaint to your state department of education. Tell them that

you asked school personnel for an exception and they refused. The

state will have 60 days to resolve your complaint.

Tape recording can help you be an active participant in your child’s

IEP meeting. Your child is depending on your help, do not let them

down.

Stop Making Special Education Harder Than it Really Is

Really, It’s Not Rocket Science, You Can Do It!

Most parents either don’t attempt to get fully involved in the special education process or are too involved in the technical side of the process. The bottom line is that your child’s education is to prepare them for further education, employment and independent living as deemed by the federal law IDEA.If your child’s program is not preparing them, then it’s time to start working with the school team for change.

Why are you so overwhelmed with the special education process? Your child has a golden ticket call the IEP to give them an individual curriculum to meet their needs for the future. Children in the general curriculum do not have that option.

Here are some tips on making the system work for you:

  • Network with other parents in your district to see what resources are available.
  • Services that are appropriate for your child must relate to preparation for further education, employment, and independent living.
  • Work from the bottom to the top. Meet with the teacher on tweaking program needs before you call in a supervisor.
  • Write everything down! If you are prepared for negotiations, you probably won’t have to negotiate.

Overall, your parent instincts should guide your decisions about your child’s education. If you don’t feel that you child is being serviced appropriately, they probably aren’t. Follow the simple tips above to make special education work for your family. Becoming a leader on your child’s IEP team will truly bring the entire family success.

5 Lies About Special Education Transportation, and How You Can Overcome the Lies and Get Your Child

Are you the parent of a child with autism or a physical disability, that receives special education services? Does your child need transportation services? Do you think that special education personnel are not being truthful about what the federal special education law (IDEA 2004) says about transportation? This article will be discussing 5 lies that are commonly told to parents about transportation. Also, discussion on how to overcome these lies to help your child receive needed, transportation services.

Lie 1: We can keep your child on the bus for as long as we want. While IDEA 2004 does not address length of bus ride, long bus rides can be negatively affecting a child's education (causing stress, negative behavior). The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) stated in a policy letter to anonymous (1993) that lengthy bus rides may be discriminatory, and may result in denial of FAPE. Why could a long bus ride be discriminatory? If children with disabilities are on the bus longer than children without disabilities, this could be considered discrimination.

Lie 2: No one says that we have to provide transportation to your child, and we are not going to. Transportation is considered a related service and needs to be given to a child, if they need the service so that they can receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE).

Lie 3: The transportation director makes decisions about whether a child needs transportation not the IEP team. In a document from OSEP entitled Questions and Answers on Serving Children with Disabilities Eligible for Transportation OSEP states "The IEP team is responsible for determining if transportation is required to assist a child with a disability to benefit from special education and related services …" If your child needs transportation make sure that it is listed in your child's IEP as a related service (if child not riding regular education bus).

Lie 4: The state says that we can bring your child to school 15 minutes late every day, and take her out 15 minutes early due to transportation issues. Ask the school to show you in writing any documentation that proves that they have the right to do what they want to do. In the above example you could ask for "Please show me in writing where it states that our State Department of Education is allowing cutting short of education due to transportation issues!"
Actually the above OSEP document makes it clear that the school day for a child with a disability should not be longer or shorter than the school day for general education students. Since a child would receive less educational time this could also be a denial of FAPE.

Lie 5: If you want your child to participate in extracurricular activities then you must provide transportation, we do not have to. Actually IDEA 2004 states that a child with a disability has a right to transportation for required after school activities as well as for extracurricular activities. Make sure that the extracurricular activity is listed on your child's IEP, and also listed that they require transportation in order to participate in the activity.

How do you overcome these transportation lies?

1. Learn about transportation requirements in IDEA 2004 (which is the federal special education law). I use the book Special Education Law 2nd edition from Peter and Pam Wright, which is fantastic. This book as well as a lot more advocacy information for parents can be found at: http://www.wrightslaw.com .

2. Call your states Parent Training and Information Center (PTIC) for help with advocating for transportation issues.

3. Bring all of the above information to an IEP meeting to assist you in your advocacy.

Good luck in your advocacy!

4 Tips If Your Special Education Advocate is Banned From IEP Meetings

Are you a parent or advocate who helps children with autism or another disability, receive special education services? Have you been told that you can not attend IEP meetings with parents in a certain district? Would you like to learn a few tips on how to handle this situation? This article will give you 4 tips to use if this situation happens to you or an advocate that you work with.

The Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) states that parents have the right to have people help them, who have knowledge or special expertise regarding the student. IDEA also states that parents have the right to be equal participants, in their child’s IEP process! If parents ask an advocate to come to a meeting with them, the advocate is to be considered an IEP team member.

OSEP agrees with this and issued a memorandum on January 15, 2004 clarifying an advocate’s role at an IEP meeting. It states that: Since the parent has invited the advocate to the IEP meeting, this person is considered to be an IEP team member and may assume an active role in the student’s IEP. Some advocates are being banned from student’s IEP meetings because they are considered divisive! Below are 4 Tips to use if this happens to you:

Tip 1: If your advocate is banned from an IEP meeting, send a letter to your school district asking for the state and federal law that allows them to do this. Attach to the letter any evidence that you have that the advocate was actually banned (Letter, E mail etc). Ask for a response within 10 days.

Tip 2: In the same letter, state that according to IDEA you have the right to have people at the IEP meeting that have knowledge or special expertise regarding your child. For Example: Your advocate has worked with your child for over a year and understands their needs, or has special training in the disability that your child has.

Tip 3: Also state that: IDEA requires school districts to develop an IEP for each child with a disability, with parents playing a significant role in this process. Also, that for you to do this you require the help of a qualified advocate!

Tip 4: Send a complaint to your state board of education stating that the school district is violating IDEA by banning your advocate from attending IEP meetings. The actual violations are:

A. School district is preventing you from having a person who has knowledge or special expertise on your child, at the IEP meeting.

B. School district is preventing you from being an equal participant, and playing a significant role in the IEP process.

C. School district cannot give you any specific state or federal law that states they have the right to ban certain advocates.

Parents have the right to bring the advocate of their choice to their child’s IEP meetings. School districts cannot ban an advocate from coming! If this happens to you, stand up to the special education personnel for the benefit of your child’s education.

Special Education Acronyms – What Do All Those Letters Mean?

Do you sometimes wonder what some of the Acronyms in special education mean? Do the acronyms make your head spin? This article will discuss common special education acronyms and what they mean. This will make it easier for you to actively participate in your child with disabilities education.

1. FAPE: stands for Free Appropriate Public Education. Each child has the right under IDEA to receive a free appropriate public education.

2. IDEA: stands for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act; which is the federal law that applies to special education.

3. IDEA 2004: This is the federal law that was reauthorized in 2004. If you see this in an article, it usually means that something was changed in IDEA, by the reauthorization in 2004.

4. LEA: stands for the local educational agency, which is your local school district.

5. SEA: stands for the state educational agency, which is your states board of education.

6. IEP: stands for the Individual Educational Plan, which must be developed for every child that receives special education services.

7. LRE: stands for Least Restrictive Environment. LRE means that children with disabilities need to be educated in the least restrictive environment, in which they can learn. LRE starts at the regular classroom, and becomes more restrictive.

8. NCLB: stands for the No Child Left Behind Act.

9. IEE's: stands for an Independent Educational Evaluation. These are proposed and paid for by parents, to help determine their child's disability or educational needs.

10. IEE's at Public Expense: stands for an IEE where the school district pays for it. There are rules that apply to this, that you must learn before requesting an IEE at public expense. Many special education personnel try and do things that are not allowed under IDEA, so you need to educate yourself.

11. ASD: stands for Autism Spectrum Disorder, which some school districts use in their paperwork.

12. ADD: stands for Attention Deficit Disorder.

13. ADHD: stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.

14. PWN: stands for Prior Written Notice. Parents must be given PWN when the school district wants to change things in the child's IEP. (such as eligibility, change services, refuse to change services etc.).

15. ABA: stands for Applied Behavioral Analysis that is an educational treatment for Autism.

16. SID: stands for Sensory Integration Disorder. A lot of children with Autism have difficulty with sensory integration.

17. SPD: stands for Sensory Processing Disorder which is the same as above, but some people in the special education field, call it different names.

By understanding the acronyms used by special education personnel, you can be a better advocate for an appropriate education for your child.