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Advocacy with Public and Independent Schools

Have you ever found yourself in the position of requesting services or supports for your child and been turned down by your school? If so, consider the following tips regarding how to obtain services you feel your child needs from your school.  First, it is important to understand your rights as a parent under the law. Do your homework by consulting applicable federal and NJ State laws governing special education listed below: http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/iep.index.htm

This site explains IDEA, the federal law governing special education, including IEP’s.

http://www.nj.gov/education/code/current/title6a/chap14.pdf

This site contains the NJ Administrative code governing special education in New Jersey.

http://www.state.nj.us/education/students/irs/appenda.pdf

This site explains the Intervention and Referral Service Committee (I&RS) required by law which may be the place where you child’s issues are first considered.
Second, have a meeting with either the I&RS committee or the Child Study Team (CST) to discuss what the school can do for your child. The CST can be accessed by writing a letter to your school and a meeting will be held within 20 days.

Third, if you are satisfied with the outcome of the meeting, follow the plan agreed upon. If for some reason, the school decides not to evaluate your student, then you will need to seek an independent evaluation. Seek out an independent evaluator who is not only knowledgeable about assessment, but also has intimate working knowledge of how the CST and schools work and is willing to act as an advocate for your child. If the school agrees to provide an evaluation and you do not agree with the findings, then you can request an independent evaluation which must be paid for by the school district.

Fourth, arrange regular meetings with you school to assess the efficacy of the plan. If it is not attaining the goals set, ask how the plan may be modified.

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