Regular Education and
Special Education Advocacy
Regular Education and Special Education Advocacy is provided to our clients, FREE OF CHARGE, during the time their child is enrolled in educational or therapy services.
Does your child have an IEP, a 504? Do you feel they have received the services required to assist them in being academically and functionally successful in their educational experience? Unfortunately, the path to getting your child the support in school that they need is not always easy. Todd and Meghan both have held long-term positions in the local school systems. Through participating in 15 years of IEP and 504 meetings each, to the personal experience with their own child, Todd and Meghan have valuable insight, reference books, NC policy guidelines, and Advocate manuals, that can address how to get you prepared to participate in your next 504 or IEP meeting for your child.
What is an IEP?
An IEP is an "Individualized Education Plan," for a student enrolled in a public Elementary or Secondary school in North Carolina. A student qualifies for an IEP, based on an Evaluation Process, that determines if your child has one of the "14 disabling conditions," as per the IDEA act, and if this condition has an adverse effect on your child's educational performance requiring modifications or accommodations to their regular education setting, resulting in the need for "specialized instruction" through a Special Education program.
The disabling conditions include;
- Speech and Language Impairment
- Vision Impairment (legal blindness or vision impairment such as convergence insufficiency)
- Hearing Impairment
- Specific Learning Disability (Reading,Writing, Math) Dyslexia and Dysgraphia fall under this heading
- Other Health Impaired (Examples Include: Endocrine disorders such as Diabetes, ADHD, Tourette's- parent must provide medical provider's documentation of the disorder and the impact of the disability on the educational performance of the child)
- Intellectual Disability (Mild, Moderate or Severe - based on the child's intellectual ability score - IQ)
- Multiple Impaired (When a combination of disorders above are determined to be intertwined)
- Emotional Impairment
- Developmental Delay (Age 0- 8 yrs)
- Orthopedic Impairment
Specialized instruction can be provided either in a Regular Education Environment OR a Special Education Classroom (part-day or whole-day). Specialized instruction is tailored to meet the goals made in the IEP (Ex; Speech Therapy, Small group reading or math instruction, Vision teacher support, Occupational Therapy) and your child is only taken out of the regular education environment for the amount of time necessary to meet the goals in their IEP. Often, the OT, SLP or Reading/Math teacher can come into your child's classroom rather than pull them out. Self-contained classroom environments should only be chosen for student's whose needs have been unable to be met in a less restrictive environment. This is called using the continuum of educational placement (regular education setting, resource setting, self-contained setting), to determine the least restrictive environment, prior to choosing the MOST restrictive environment. Due Process and State complaints CAN be filed by parents who feel their child's placement has been predetermined, if their child was not properly evaluated, if the student has not received the LRE (Least Restrictive Environment) opportunity or a FAPE (Free and Appropriate Public Education), or by parents who have not had the opportunity to participate in the IEP process. It is important to know that as parents, you will be your child's best advocate. Due to many factors, parents do not always know the educational supports their child could or should receive in their elementary, middle or high school education. We are willing to provide the information you need to know, based on knowledge of your child's strengths and weaknesses, and support you through this process.
What is a 504?
A 504 indicates that a qualified student exhibits a (temporary or permanent) medical disability, that interferes with the student's access to their regular educational environment. Accommodations (not modifications) are provided for access to the environment and materials in a student's environment.
A school only receives federal funding for an IEP, not a 504, and most school systems seek to evaluate students for Special Education, rather than have an ongoing 504. Conditions that qualify for 504 can be temporary such as a student with a broken leg and arm, in a wheelchair. Conditions can also be lifelong, such as a vision impairment or diagnosis of ADHD. Accommodations can include a variety of supports, but cannot modify the curriculum (Ex;sensory supports, testing accommodations, preferred seating in a classroom).
Valuable links and websites (these are listed for your reference, we do not promote a single avenue to achieve your student's goal)