Special Education/Leaving my IEP

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Question
As an 18 year old in northern New Jersey, do I have the right to leave my IEP?

I am currently attending a therapeutic school based on my IEP (Individualized Education Program) which I was enrolled to due to severe emotional disturbances from prior bullying. Now that I have greatly improved on my issues, making them practically non existent on my day to day life, my IEP team (excluding my mildly advocative parents) deny any request I make to place me back to my regular high school and academic plan. My current placement does not fit my needs, which I have evidently expressed to them. The curriculum, behavior focused school, and social sitting do not provide the environment, independence, and academic challenge I request. My IEP team emphasize on my current grade point average, which is sitting on the D zone. At my evaluation, I was placed at an above average intellectual ability well beyond an IQ of 100. Though on my IEP documents, they specify an average IQ level of 92 implying my severe anxiety had greatly influenced particular tests, specifically speed and memory. When first attending the therapeutic school, I had been receiving A grades on all assignments, for their academic difficulty was set to at least 5 years below my intellectual abilities. I have since grown uninterested because of the lack of challenge and academic stimulation. Sadly, even though they agree I have improved on the issues that specified my IEP in the first place, they simply state that they cannot remove me from the program and place me back to my regular high school due to my academic performance. They imply that teachers from my previous school had played with my grades, resulting in the B's and A's of which I don't, apparently, disserve. Now, as an 18 year old, do I have any right to deny and end my Individualized Education Program? If not, what is needed to make such a thing happen?

Thank you.

Answer
Pedro,

I am not familiar with the laws of Jew Jersey. Most states give an 18 year old the right to decide whether or not to continue in their educational placement. Look up the NJ Parents' rights and procedural Safeguards on line. This should tell you. After reviewing what you said in your question, I have concerns about you returning to a comprehensive high school. If you were to get into a fight and hurt someone else, you could be tried as an adult in criminal court. I suggest you discuss this decision with a counselor you trust before you finalize your actions. Your current day-to-day environment is not the same as what you will encounter at a regula high school. If your current school is so easy, why are you not earning A's and B's? If you are not being challenged academically, you should ask that they change your learning level. But I can understand why they are reluctant given your grades.

I wish you the best,
Tim Runner

Special Education

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Tim Runner

Expertise

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.

Experience

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.

Education/Credentials
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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