Special Education/services


I withdrew my son from school. I am not suing for lack of resources but I know I've a strong case. My son and I have been through so much emotionally, I don't have much strength left to fight. Here's where it gets bizarre. One would think they would be thrilled to not have to deal with this anymore. I asked to continue my son's services as is the law. They want to use entirely new providers not because those providers are more or especially qualified but because these providers are at a school my son isn't even attending but they wanted to switch him to. His previous providers have a good relationship with him and tremendous knowledge and frankly the utility in that continuity given his challenges cannot be overstated, to the point where I couldn't start from scratch unless a previous provider was genuinely unavailable, it wouldn't make sense. Anyway, their position is that the schedules have already been set. I responded that a child can begin school at any time necessitating integrating new kids into a schedule, I don't find their excuse persuasive. They basically said they didn't think he would be leaving school so they set up a schedule for him already and his previous providers already have a schedule. But as I said, if a new kid came into the school district, they're obviously going to use the providers in that school so it's not convincing. It's more of a "won't" than a "can't" and I cannot stress how much my son's challenges necessitate continuity and when something isn't broke...we spent a long time working with these providers, he's been with them for 4 years already. I can't replicate that and would only be on board with new people if I chose them or if they brought something specific to the table but they don't.  Anything I can do? Thanks! to be clear
I sent the IHIP over the summer.
My son was denied a FAPE in about 1000 ways but I can't spend tens of thousands of dollars litigating. I called the state they told me to file a complaint letter but they seemed so NOT interested that its discouraging to spend all the time on a letter. I cried telling them what took place and they were cold and stoic. Does the state ever side with parents?
My son doesn't just need services. He is on the spectrum with anxiety disorder, some sensory issues (which they said they don't treat ever) and a minor physical disability.  He relates better to some people over others. Its very traumatizing to him to have changes when something is working decently. It took us YEARS to make services something productive for him. I can't start from scratch again nor can I ask him to. He's been through enough transition.  He is doing much better so far emotionally but I can't do education and services. I am qualified to do services but I don't have time to prepare. I know what he needs and one of the providers they want to stick him with made no progress with him years ago. What I am saying is I understand the legality but doesn't the law provide for a child's unique needs being met? He was so traumatized at school he wouldn't get off the bus and he started the year THRILLED for school. They did so much wrong. I want you to know they have NO reason not to provide the services with old providers. They said the scheduling was set but they could easily have to accommodate new kids. And the social skills class, that has nothing to do with scheduling, he'd just be another kid in it. My doctor agrees consistency is critical. Is there no legal way to attack this?

Hello, Beck,

Thank you for writing to me. I am sorry things are so difficult sometimes for parents of students with disabilities.  Fortunately or unfortunately, your question causes me to ask a few questions before I can truly understand the situation.  If you like, please follow up with another question that provides me with more information.  

What was the date that you requested services and can you demonstrate that by a document? Also, did the school district develop an Individualized Education Services Program that documents the equitable services?

Did the school district change his placement to the location with the new providers before you removed him, or how do you know the new location providers are from the changed placement?

Is the social skills class in The IESP?  What do you mean when you say that has nothing to do with scheduling, he'd just be another kid in it? Did the school district agree to a social skills class but it is not the one he had before?  Do you know if the old location social skills class has the same students as before (for consistency of peers)?

Did the doctor (is he/she a psychologist or psychiatrist or family doctor?) put into writing the recommendation to keep the same providers and if so, did you give it to the school district?

I know your child has a right to equitable services but aside from assuring the provider is qualified, I don't know of anything that allows the parent to select the provider.  If the providers of the service who are different start working with your child and then he regresses or is distressed, etc., then I think you may have a complaint or chance to go to mediation.  Of course you can always try a mediation, but for a hearing, I think you will need an attorney.  

What did you mean by 'I am qualified to do services', but I 'can't do education and services'?

I am glad he is doing so much better emotionally!  I again thank you for reaching out to me and hope you will follow up.  

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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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