ELIGIBILITY AND CHILD FIND
Parents are often frustrated when they see their child struggle and ask for help, to no avail. Sometimes they ask that their child be evaluated for special education and are told the child does not meet eligibility requirements. Sometimes schools delay in evaluating students, opting to use other interventions instead while the child’s performance continues to decline.
Eligibility decisions are made by the ARD (Admission, Review and Dismissal) Committee. This group also decides which category a child is assigned to.
When a child is wrongfully denied eligibility, parents must insist on the law (the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA) being followed. This is often the moment our office is contacted.
THE PURPOSE OF CHILD FIND
An important part of the IDEA is Child Find — a mandate that public school districts identify, locate and evaluate all children within their district who have disabilities and need special education services.
This mandate applies to children who attend private as well as public schools and encompasses all disabled children, regardless of the nature or severity of the disability. Children may be eligible for special education as early as age 3 or as late as 22. The school’s duty to evaluate your child may be initiated by you or by your child’s school.
ELIGIBILITY FOR SPECIAL EDUCATION: TWO PERSPECTIVES
Parents and schools may look at eligibility and labeling differently. The key issue is whether your child has an educational need for services. Although those services must be driven by your child’s unique needs and not just his or her eligibility category or label, there are legal requirements that schools must follow for certain specific disabilities. So, eligibility and the identification of your child’s needs because of his or her disability are equally important.
Declaring a disabled child ineligible or failing to identify his or her unique needs is unacceptable. The purpose of our law firm is to help you respond if that happens and help you obtain the services your child requires.
YOU NEED AN ALLY TO MAKE THE CASE FOR YOUR CHILD
Child Find is the door to educational services for disabled children. Frequently, schools fail to identify children’s disabilities, determine they are not eligible for services or fail to evaluate all areas of suspected disability. When parents are at an impasse with the school, an experienced special education lawyer is a powerful asset to have on their side.
If your child has been ruled ineligible for special education, call attorney Sharon Ramage at 972-562-9890 and describe your situation. We will discuss legal options for protecting your child’s right to an education.
Located in the Dallas area, our firm serves families across Texas.