Learn Your Special Education Laws, Special Education Rights, and Share IEP Goal Ideas

Jan 22
Avatar of Dennise Goldberg

by Dennise Goldberg

The list of excuses below are some of the more common themes I hear every day from school districts who are trying to get out of testing a child for special education.  None of these or other excuses should be accepted by a parent who is trying to find answers for why their child can’t access the curriculum.  As a parent, trust your instincts, if you think there is a problem most likely there is.

Excuses

10.  Your child isn’t far enough behind academically to qualify for special education;

9.  We have not tried response to intervention yet;

8.  Your child’s grades are still pretty good, so they won’t qualify;

7.  Your child is just lazy and needs to apply themselves more;

6.  You, as the parent, are not giving them the support they need at home to be successful;

5.  First, we need to convene a Student Success Team (SST) meeting;

4.  It is not the school’s responsibility if your child doesn’t have any friends and is having socialization problems;

3.  We can’t test for a learning disability until at least the 2nd grade because they aren’t mature enough yet;

2.  Your child’s emotional issues are causing the academic problems so we won’t test;

1.  We don’t do IEP’s at this school;

Tips to remember when you receive resistance from the School District:

  • Any School that receives federal funding must provide IEPs.  This includes small School Districts, magnet or advanced study Schools & Charter Schools;
  • The School must use multiple methods and strategies to determine special education eligibility.  This could include grades, scores on State achievement tests and assessment results to name a few;
  • While general education interventions should be tried prior to starting an IEP there is nothing that states that special education assessments can’t take place simultaneously with trying the general education interventions;
  • Access to the curriculum means more than just academics; it could include the social/emotional well being of the child as well;
  • There are protocols to determine if a young child has a Learning Disability;
  • It is sometimes easier for the School personnel to blame the child or the parents than to blame school related factors for causing the problems.  This is not an excuse to delay testing for special education.

If you have received these or other excuses from your School District we want to hear about them.  Provide your comments and excuses you’ve heard below in the comment section.

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21 Responses to “Top Ten Excuses School Districts use to get out of testing for Special Education”

  1. …after 17 years, 17 inches of files and two IEEs that both went against the district – one of which was completed in late 2007… but the district split around us in the sumeer of 2008, we didn’t move to a new one … “We have no current information so we need to test to see if they qualify”
    Still not so much as requested visual review of the records or prior notice, let alone respondin g to direct contact.
    School districts have to want to do their job because there are so many loopholes, schools can bureaucratize a child for 16 years until they receive no education at all

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  2. Because your son has allready been tested for speech and fell in the average range, we don’t need to test for LD because any problems would have shown up during his speech test.

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  3. “Your daughter doesn’t qualify for speech services because she’s non-verbal.”

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    • What! That is the most ridiculous excuse ever! What about assistive technology? Speech therapist (if they know what they are doing) is crucial for this. In fact, if they do not have the necessary person with the necessary skills, they are required to contract for those services. How can your child access the educational environment if they do not have communication skills. If a high tech communication device is not an option (for whatever reason) and even if a high tech option is used, the speech therapist or someone else skilled in communication disorders, should also provide mutiple means of access. i.e. manual boards. In fact, they are also required to train you! Funny because I am usually the one training them.

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  4. All of this reminds us that we should rely less on IDEA, which is favorable terrain for school districts, and more on 504 and the ADA, which are straight up civil rights laws much less subject to manipulation and edubabble excuse-making.

    Accordingly, you’ll hear them say that because the kid is qualified under IDEA, 504 doesn’t apply. That’s defined in the law as retaliation, depriving them of their civil rights for exercising their rights under IDEA, and they should get a Gebser letter when they do that.

    We need to use ADA, 504, and IDEA together all the time, just as a fighter uses both hands. A good introduction to Section 504 is the US DoE regs, Title 34, Part 104, of the Code of Federal Regulations. Get to them by googling 34 cfr 104.

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    • Unfortunately, as is my understanding, schools do not receive funding for 504 and, technically, these plans aren’t supposed to be maintained within the special education teacher’s caseload – some schools have a person not in special ed. designated to handle these cases. I agree that ADA, 504, and IDEA should be handled together, but the federal funding formula actually prevents this from happening.

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      • They don’t get funding to comply with 504, quite right. They also don’t get funding to comply with the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Tough.

        The federal funding formula prevents nothing. Their excuses do, and if you’ve heard this one, that’s all it is, an excuse.

        But there is no excuse. They have to do it. Do they want to? No, they do not. Do they want to be whacked with an OCR complaint, or have to fight a Section 504 due process hearing? Generally not, and if they learn that they will obey the law or face these things, they will find ways to comply that did not occur to them before.

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  5. The fire marshall has issues with your child being here…ya no joke.

    then unenrolled him.

    not a joke.

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  6. So correct me if I’m wrong, but my understanding is that a 504 is for a short-term disability and an IEP is for a long-term disability that affects learning. Therefore, physical disabilities could qualify for an IEP if they affect the ability to learn (for example, chronic pain that would require the student to be allowed to move around the room, a mobility issue that requires extra time to get between classes or elevator access, a vision problem that requires magnifying devices, etc.). A lot of children/teens I know with the same genetic disorder as me are on IEPs, but many still are told by school districts since they don’t have a learning disability, they may not be tested for IEP. Isn’t that what the “other impaired” category is for?

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    • Not exactly, M. A 504 is a “level the playing field” and is used (generally without an IEP) to give accommodations. It can be for a long-term disability. It has to affect a major life activity, learning among them but not required. To get an IEP, the disability must affect learning. (Even honors students can have an IEP.) IEP’s come with rights that 504′s don’t have, but schools are supposed to abid by the 504 plan.

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  7. The results of his testing show that he needs help but we don’t believe the testing is accurate. We are sure he tested deficient on purpose. Hmmm. He’s had IEP’s for 10 years. But you think he is faking the assessments and yet you won’t let him take a general education class. Nice.

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  8. We homeschool and I was told it could take 6 months before the school would even talk to me so I paid for a private evaluation. The “specialist” actually said I was pushing my daughter too hard and that it was my fault!

    Let’s see…my daughter was 7 and had gifted memory so had memorized over 2000 sight words so could “read” but could not spell simple words like “in” or “tin” or “pin” and it took her 8 hours to COPY a sentence. No she didn’t ahve any problems. Duh!

    Needless to say I went to someone else and ended up beginning my own business helping students who were struggling.

    I now have a happy and academically/socially on target child. If I had listened to that lady I would still have a suffering child. Glad I listened to my mommy instincts:-)

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  9. @Tara Jenner… GOOD FOR YOU! :) Hats of to you.

    I am going through the same thing with my two children. My children read very well. My oldest child who is now in the 8th grade, was tested by my sister( who is a teacher) when she was in the fifth grade in reading. At the time my sister was still in college, and had to do this as one of her assignments. My daughter tested at the 11th grade reading level. However, her and my son are not good in spelling. Just like with your child, it takes all day for both of my kids to write down anything. I also home school my kids. I wasn’t told it was my fault. However, I was told that my children did not need the help because they are home schooled. “Both of my children are now getting IEP’s, but it was a long battle. I would love any advice you or anyone else may have.

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  10. “Your son exceeds the benchmarks so there is no evidence of disability.” I guess they don’t know what the definition of a learning disability is. It has nothing to do with benchmarks! The school doesn’t care as long as he tests proficient on the standardized tests and doesn’t cause a disturbance in class. My son can’t read or spell phonetically. He does everything from memory. It takes him forever to read and write and he is the only one who can decode what he wrote (and only if it’s soon after he wrote it). What more evidence do they need to justify testing?!

    Unfortunately, we cannot afford the cost of psychoeducational testing so my poor son will continue to struggle.

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  11. “We don’t test kids for learning disabilities until 5th grade”. !!??? Seriously? Are you people nutcases or what, by then it will be too late to help him!! I guess I should be thankful that his behavior got to the point that they expelled him because that actually prompted them to do the right thing and evaluate him. Not that they did it right, but that is another long story and the main reason I never trust anything those folks tell me.

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  12. Hi–I’m new here. Just wanted to clarify something I read in the article. This statement “Any School that receives federal funding must provide IEPs” doesn’t tell the whole story. Parents need to know that any school DISTRICT that receives federal funding must provide SPECIAL EDUCATION FOR STUDENTS THAT QUALIFY. Please note I’m not shouting by using all caps–that’s the only way I could format my suggest changes for this particular statement.

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  13. WHAT I CAN I DO FOR MY CHILD WHO HAS BEEN IN SPEECH FOR OVER TEN YEARS HOWEVER AFTER HE LEFT ELM. SCHOOL HE WAS “CLASSIFIED RONGLY BY THE SCHOOL OR BETTER YET THROWN IN THE CLASS FOR MORE SEVER DISIBILTIES , WHEN I ASKED THE SCHOOL WHY HE HAD TWO MATH CLASS TWO READSING I WAS GIVEN CRAP ANSWERS. I FIGURED I SHOULD JUST LEAVE IT BE .
    HOW EVER THE NEXT YEAR MY CHILD WAS CRYING WHICH NEVER HAPPEN BEFORE. WHN I TOLD THE SCHOOL THE CLASSES WERE TO HARD AGAIN I WAS BLOWN OFF. I REQUESTED THEM TO TEST MY CHILD AS THE PROBLEM MAY BE HIS ADHD OR A UNKNOWN REASON.
    AGAIN I WAS GIVEN A BUNCH OF STEPS TO FOLLOW AND I DID YET THEY HAD A REASON NOT TO BE ABLE TO TEST NO MATTER WHT NOW ITS THE 3 YEAR & HES FAILING THEY REFUSE TO ACTULLY TUTOR MY CHILD OR EVEN TELL ME WHERE TO GO TO HAVE A ASSESMENT SO I CAN FIGURE OUT WHT TO DO ….. WHY MUST THEY HAVE A INTERVENTION PLAN WITH GOALS LIKE TEACHER WILL SING A DAILY LOG ? NOTE WHN CHILD DOSE NOT DO HOMEWORK & PLACE CHILD UP FRONT ?? SHORTEN CLASS ASSIGNMENTS GIVE EXTRA TIME ?
    WHEN THAT SHOULD BE COVERED IN THE TEACHERS JOB DUTIES !!!! HOW ABOUT STAY AFTER AND HELP MAKE TIME TO JUST TEACH WHAT IT WAS THAT MY CHILD MISSED OR TELL ME WHO CAN BECAUSE THIS IS GETTING OLD ? WHAT DO I DO I WORK 2 JOBS GO TO SCHOOL AND STILL AM CONSTANTLY FIGHTING TO GET HELP? BREAKS OVER SORRY THIS WAS SO RUSHED PLEASE ANY INFORMATION WILL HELP

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    • Where do you live? Contact the nearest teaching hospital with a Learning Disorders clinic ASAP for an appt. Contact the folks at Wright’s Law for help with advocacy and sue their butts!! (try – http://www.wrightslaw.com) Demand your rights!
      Best wishes.

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  14. I had a meeting this morning- My daughter is 6 and is testing in some areas well in others below average- She has lots of sensory integration problems which have been addressed throughout her short life. I had her tested outside of school by OT, Speech and Language, and Neurodevelopment all telling me she needs and IEP for school!

    They told me my daughter may raise pink flags, but no red flags yet.

    Her class teacher who has always been “super” helpful and all to vocal about my daughters short comings had nothing but great things to say about my daughter this morning-

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  15. Here is a couple of good ones.

    Dyslexia isn’t under the special education law.
    Your son’s cerebral palsy is so mild.
    Give you a PWN that is already marked for you before you sign it.
    Your child’s behavior is impeding there education. (our child has ADHD)
    Oh while I got you here your child is becoming a bit lazy. (again our child has ADHD)
    His handwriting needs to be neater (Our child has cerebral palsy and ADHD)

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  16. I have heard the problem is at home. I been told there is no testing to she a behavior issue effecting her grades to her grades are fine and does not qualified for services. Also that the theriopist that we are paying to get testing advise us of are rights. School principal has that the theripist is lieing to us

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