Special Education/Homeschooling


Hello.  I'm writing from a phone so I apologize for typos.  I have a 6 year old who has an aide in school services and a program mixing regular class and a very small well intentioned but awful special Ed class. All of my sOns good will has been squandered.  My spouse and I barely sleep doing so much for our son and talking about how schools failing him.  They agree with us and what we suggest but then everything stays the same.  Our son functions so much better at home.  School is making him worse largely because they only place demands and they dOnt respect who he is or what he does naturally to work around that.  He's been there 2 months 7 hrs a day and zero progress.  Their notion of progress is him adjusting to some of routine and repeating what's said when poked 800 times.  I'm sure an outside observer would see the failure.  It's blatant. But they are well intentioned and the support is there.  It's just not helping.  They listen but they make no changes. The aide is terrible and holding him back. The aides who are critical are all very poorly trained.  One ignores another is mean and ours does the opposite of filtering information and galvanizing she tries to be a teacher separately and she's awful. He doesn't acknowledge her so it's not like that component is successful.  He's so excited initially and he has all his overtures rebuffed and this is the prime area of need! Conversation. And it's not small. The special Ed teacher is lovely but her class is way too slow.  The regular Ed teacher makes no effort at all and has segregated our son and she actually moved him to the back because he has a problem making noises which are not voluntary and not common enOugh to warrant this reaction.  He looks like a zombie for 90% of day. If we homeschool him at our expense how can we go about trying to recoup some funds? We know we can do so much better.  We don't want to do this we feel like its this or watch our son sink deeper into an isolative mode which they're cementing despite our son reaching out constantly.  It's hard to convey but imagine you're sent to observe and you see a kid be enthusiastic and reach out in their choppy way and the adults can't adjust they just do what's on the program rigidly and the kid goes to sleep literally or stares upwards mumbling things in compliance with zero retention and the school is happy the kid is talking even though they didn't teach a single word and that he mumbles back at 15th request.  It's painful to watch bc it's a kid that CAN be helped but isn't being   We've spent so much time offering advice and trying to effectively make it about what matters but they don't think they can do anything except one way.   You can reach more speech goals by following a kids lead than you can with nonstop bosiness   Please trust me he's foundering and that anyone would see this.  Is there a way to get someone else to see that it's an objective failure. You wound see a kid go from inspired to tired the minute he's ignored and he's so ignored and all they do is Stab him to comply. Anytime he complies naturally. The praise is spartan and nothing he says or wants calculates into the equation and he enters his isolative world. That's where he is almost entirely. Emotional well being and true socializing and talking  don't matter.  I know it's uncommon but if we can demonstrate failure and a successful home program do we stand any chance of recouPing some expense.  Thank you sir in advance


I have bad news for you. Schools are not required to reimburse parents' costs for home-schooling their children. You can look into finding a Charter home school that serves your area. They will supply the books and supplies, and many will give you a stipend to pay for some of your out-of-pocket expenses. They are also legally required to provide special education services. I represent home-schooled children that receive Speech and Language, OT, APE, PT and Resource Specialist Teacher help. The child and parent usually meet with this teacher at least once per week. There is also a general education teacher assigned that will meet with you. I have to warn you that the bulk of the education job falls on the parents.

There is another way to approach this challenge. The law says the special education student must be making educational progress. This is usually measured every three years at the student's tri-annual IEP. You can ask that they move up the tri-annual IEP and testing so that you can see what progress the tests show your son is making. Another step is to seek an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE) to evaluate your son and define his areas of need. If the school district agrees, this testing must be done by a "mutually" agreed to expert (usually a clinical psychologist or neur-psychologist). Part of the evaluation includes classroom observation. I have used IEE's to turn things around my clients that are not being served properly.

The ultimate step is to file for Due Process, but this requires you proving to a judge that your son is not making educational progress. You will need to retain the services of an expert to conduct the same evaluation that an IEE would do. Thus it's better to have the school district pay for this. You will need to be represented in the Due Process Hearing by a lawyer or advocate experienced in such things.

I do have one caution for you to consider: Once you enroll your son in a Home-School Charter School you no longer have any recourse against his current school. It is considered under the law that you have moved him to a new school district. I recommend you consider the other steps I have suggested first.

I wish you and your son the best,
Tim Runner, Advocate
Advocates for Kids
Email: timrunner@gmail.com
Phone: (949) 582-3601
You can learn more at my web site:

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Tim Runner


Questions concerning special education: IEP, assessments, Due Process, mediation, resolution conference, federal law, state law, qualifying for services, residential treatment, special day classes, resource specialists, procedures, having your child assessed, adaptive PE, speech & language, non-public school, FAPE, and tuition reimbursement.


I have been an education advocate representing students and parents for six years. My experience includes: representing my clients in IEPs, SSTs, Due Process, review assessment results for my clients, and mediations. I have represented clients with learning disabilities, autism, Downs Syndrome, cognitively challenged, emotional problems, learning disabilities, ADD/ADHD, and physical disabilities. I have also represented clients to County Mental Health Departments and Regional Centers. My clients range from pre-school to college students in many states.

I have a degree in Mathematics from the University of California with minors in Psychology and Physics. I also studied applied statistics in psychology at the graduate level. I have taught college classes, conducted seminars, written articles for various publications, and testified as an expert witness.

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