Q: My fifth grader continues to struggle in school. I’m thinking that he might need special education services. What are those services, and how do I go about getting them from my school district?
A: In order for a school-age child to receive special education services, that child must be classified by the school district’s Committee on Special Education, or CSE. It is the responsibility of the CSE to identify children in the school district requiring special education services (including by evaluating children who are suspected of needing such services), classify them for purposes of getting those services, determine the appropriate school or classroom placement for that child, and provide that child with services that are calculated to achieve an educational benefit for that child.
The CSE develops an Individualized Education Program, or IEP, which is a written statement outlining the plan for providing an educational program for a learning disabled student, which sets forth the child’s classification, placement and special education services for that child, including educational, social and behavioral goals appropriate for that student. Once written, the IEP is like a contract between the school district on the one hand, and the parents and student on the other, and the School District is required to provide all services identified in the IEP. That “contract” is re-evaluated near the end of every school year to make sure that it is still appropriate for that student’s needs.
Click here to view other ‘Ask the Lawyer’ Q&A prepared by Meyer Suozzi attorneys.