Special Education/Placement


My son can do ok in regular class with supports. School says if he needs supports should be in separate small class. I think my son need some 1:1 daily from teacher to be prepared in class. My friend son get this in another school so I know this possible.  How do I advocate properly for this? My school taxes are $9000 year. I think they afford to do this.  My son not make much progress but the small class has kids with all different problem and I don't think is right.  My son need preteaching

Hello, Gia,  What a great question.  The criteria the school team should use for whether your child is removed from general education is not related to whether he needs special education, or specialized instruction.  There are many students who receive special education supports and services in the general education setting.  So, of course, it is possible.  

The short answer to your question 'how do I properly advocate for general education setting placement' is:  be sure the evaluations and data support that recommendation, and be sure the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) calls for special education in the general education setting.  

A major issue I deal with on a regular basis is schools denying a child a service because it is not available in the school.  If your son's school currently does not have a model of aides or special educators already in the general education classroom, you may be getting push back based on that.  Or maybe the current evaluations are justifying a removal from general education.  Or maybe the IEP now states that this is your son's placement.  

Here is a nice chapter explaining "least restrictive environment" and the conditions under which the school team is justified removing a child from the general education setting.


Here is a link to the New York City continuum of services, and the State will be the same as it's based on federal law:

As you can see, the school team can remove the child from general education if the IEP must be implemented outside of general education for the child to make progress, benefit from the special education program, and if the team determines there is harm to the child in the general education setting.  

To accomplish this, you may have to hire someone like me to audit your child's IEP, comparing the evaluations and classroom data to the IEP to determine if it is appropriate.  

Each line of the IEP has to be attended to.  There are 10 sections of the IEP and each of the sections relate to the other sections.  The most important information is how your son is doing now if he has been in the general education setting.  What did the general education teachers document?  What assessments and evaluations do you have for your son that recommend specifically what he needs to be successful in the general education setting?  

Parents have to be aware of their rights and are usually not in a position to understand fully the IEP and process.  Get help early on, from professionals who can help you understand your and your child's rights.  If the school team has already moved your son to a special education classroom, you will get value in consulting an advocate or even a special education attorney.  Because if you disagree, you can stop the changes, but you will have to file a request for a hearing.  Also, NY has a mediation program that you may want to try as well.  

A drastic but sometimes appropriate option is for you to revoke consent for the IEP all together, which puts your child in the general class with no IEP.  But the school will still have to provide him with whatever services he needs.  It can be under a 504 Plan or an IEP.  

I hope this answer has given you some resources and assisted you as you advocate for your son!  Please feel free to follow through.  Please consider picking up my Special Needs Advocacy Resource Book for basics about the IEP and process, and don't hesitate to contact me for a consultation if you may be considering hiring a consultant.  abc4success@msn.com.

I wish you the best and thank you for contacting me through this site!  

Special Education

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Michelle R. Davis, M. Ed.


I can answer questions about disability definitions and criteria for services, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act 2004, No Child Left Behind, 504 plans, how to craft an IEP that drives the appropriate services, school placement, dispute options, and least restrictive environment. I worked in the public school system as a special educator and am now in private consulting practice where we assist parents as they navigate the special education process. I have expertise in all educational disabilities except blind/visual impairments and deaf/hard of hearing. This includes ADHD and other health impairments, medical conditions, dyslexia and learning disabilities, Autism, emotional disabilities, language processing problems, and interfering behaviors.


10 years as special educator and administrator in public school system; Director of ABCs for Life Success since 1998; Expert services such as analysis and testimony; Author: Special Needs Advocacy Resource Book: What you can do now to advocate for your exceptional child's education; Special Needs Advocacy Training Institute; internet radio show Teach Your Children Well: Hot Topics in Education; author School Success for Kids with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders released March 2010 (Prufrock Press).

Masters in Special Education with Emphasis on Inclusive Education (Johns Hopkins University); B.S.in Special Education (James Madison University); Conduct training for Universities, public and private schools, parent groups. Adjunct professor current George Washington University and prior George Mason University.

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