Myth 1: If I disagree with my child’s IEP I shouldn’t sign it?
Fact: In actuality for most states it is the exact opposite. After reviewing the IEP and checking state law you should disagree with it and sign immediately. Include your concerns and which parts of the IEP you disagree with and choose the method you would like to handle your dispute. If you are not comfortable filing a complaint on your own speak with an experienced attorney or advocate to help you. The risk is by not signing the IEP and listing your disagreements that it might appear as though you have given implied consent.
Myth 2: You can’t make changes to an IEP once it’s signed until the next annual IEP meeting.
Fact: Parents can ask for a new IEP meeting at anytime which must be held within 30 days of the request. If changes are agreed to in the IEP meeting an amendment can be added to the IEP.
Myth 3: Special Education is draining school budgets.
Fact: Special Education gets federal funding. Unlike sports, music, art and other programs for the general student population that come directly out of the school budget special education funds are subsidized via federal funding.
Myth 4: Special Education is only for the severely disabled.
Fact: Special Education is for all disabled children no matter how severe who by reason thereof NEED special education services.
Myth 5: Special Education can only be performed in a special classroom.
Fact: Special Education requires educating in the least restrictive environment. This means disabled children should be educated in the general education classroom with typical peers to the maximum extent possible.
Myth 6: The school has the final decision on whether my child is eligible for special education.
Fact: Parents have the right to disagree with the schools eligibility assessments and ask for an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE) at the School expense. If there is still a disagreement after the IEE the parents have the right to file for a due process hearing to have an impartial hearing officer make a finding on eligibility.
Myth 7: My child has a learning disability but doesn’t qualify for special education because there is not a large enough discrepancy between their cognitive abilities and achievement.
Fact: IDEA of 2004 says the school is not required to consider if a child has a severe discrepancy between cognitive abilities and achievement to determine if the child has a learning disability and needs special education. The school may use Response to Intervention to determine if the child responds to scientific, research-based intervention as part of the assessment process.
Myth 8: My child can’t get speech therapy or another related service because the school doesn’t have any therapists.
Fact: The school is obligated to provide any related services the child needs to access the curriculum and cost can’t be a factor. The school would need to pay for a private therapist if they don’t have the appropriate staff available at the school site.
Myth 9: My small school district can’t handle special education students so they can’t help us.
Fact: The school district is obligated to provide a free appropriate public education to all children with a disability that qualify for services. The school district would need to pay for services to be brought into the school or pay for placement in a non-public school that meets the child’s needs.
Myth 10: Special Education students can’t go to college.
Fact: Many special education students go on to college. IDEA of 2004 specifically requires that students be prepared for independent living and further education to the extent possible. While the IEP ends upon graduation from high school most colleges and universities have student support services for students with disabilities. These services could include note taking, tape recording lectures and many others.
These are my top ten myths but there are many more. If you have any you would like to add to the list please comment below.