If your child has special needs, it can be frustrating to learn that your child's school isn't doing everything necessary to meet those needs. While it's important to get these issues straightened out as quickly as possible, there is an expected order you should follow when talking to school officials, which is outlined below.
First, Discuss the Issue with Your Child's Teacher
Your child's teacher can be one of your greatest allies, which is why it's important to give your child's teacher the benefit of the doubt when it comes to failure to meet IEP requirements. If your child's IEP is not being followed and your child is lacking services, it's important to first discuss the problem with their teacher.
Perhaps your child has dysgraphia and, as outlined in their IEP, is given extra time during exams. If your child comes home and tells you that they weren't given extra time on their last exam, you may want to immediately go to the school and start pointing fingers. It's better, however, to contact your child's teacher and ask for the reason behind this. Maybe the school was short staffed that day and your child's teacher didn't have an aide as usual. Or maybe the teacher simply forgot the accommodation, especially if this is a new thing. Whatever the case, allow your child's teacher to explain the situation and give them the chance to make it right, such as allowing your child some extra time to work on their exam the next day.
Second, Meet With Your Child's Principal
If there are repeated failures on behalf of your child's school to meet your child's IEP accommodations, it's time to meet with the principal and see where everybody stands.
If talking to the teacher hasn't led to any changes, it's time to get to the root of the issue with the school's principal. The issue could be the teacher, such as they don't believe in accommodating students, or it could be a lack of resources that the teacher may not be able to do anything about. Whatever the cause, your child's principal should be able to work with you to make the situation right. This could mean putting your child in a different classroom, where the teacher may have more time to address your child's specific needs, or petitioning the school board for the appropriate resources, such as adaptive writing utensils or a one-on-one teacher's aide.
Third, Go to the Superintendent – and Consider Bringing Legal Backup
If you haven't had much luck getting your child's needs met by the teacher or the principal, it's time to go to the top of your school district's food chain. Depending on the situation, you may also considering bringing in a special education lawyer so that the superintendent understands the importance of the issue.
It's a sad fact that not everyone is well-versed on special education legal requirements and accommodations. This may mean that you're required to educate your child's teacher, principal, and even superintendent, on the accommodations they're legally required to provide your child with and what the consequences can be if they won't. If your child's school district has repeatedly failed to meet your child's needs, it may be time to bring in a special education lawyer to provide them with the understanding they require.
To learn more about failure to accommodate IEP requirements and how you can get your child's school to do what's necessary for your child, consult with a special education attorney, such as Gregory J Hermiller.