A General Education Teacher recently told me her principal told her not to refer any students to the Resource Teacher because it’s not going to do any good….which means this person is ineffective and should not be working with Special Needs Students. Unfortunately, it happens all the time in School Districts across the United States. Special Needs Students are not receiving a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) because schools are not staffed appropriately. My son has had wonderful school based therapists as well as ineffective ones. It truly makes a difference when a child is receiving early intervention for their disability…..as we all know the sooner you address a problem, the easier it is to fix.
When my son was in kindergarten, he was receiving school based speech therapy once a week. Unfortunately, his articulation did not improve very much…..his teacher, along with my husband and myself all knew the speech therapy wasn’t working. To make matters worse, at my son’s annual IEP meeting, the Speech Therapist said he was no longer eligible for services because he wasn’t severe enough….my husband and I felt that was unacceptable. Not only had he not progressed much the entire year in Speech Therapy, now he was no longer eligible for services!! It was clear our son had not received FAPE and we decided to disagree with the IEP and go to Formal Due Process. We ended up working it out in mediation and in the settlement agreement it stated my son was eligible to receive speech services and the school based therapist was not allowed to treat him or evaluate him in the future. As a result, he made tremendous strides in Speech Therapy the following year with a different therapist. Now that he’s 9 years old, he’s almost done with Speech Therapy, thanks to the wonderful therapists he’s had since kindergarten.
It’s a shame we had to go to due process, and then work it out in formal mediation, to make sure our son received an appropriate therapist, but it happens all the time to families across this country. Just think if Special Needs Students received the appropriate intervention with an effective therapist, how much quicker they could overcome their disability and access the school’s curriculum…giving them a chance to become an independent adult in the future.