What Parents Can Do
While there is no simple solution, parents of struggling learners can help improve their child’s learning potential in public schools.
Study and know your rights. In order to make sure your child’s school is following the requirements of your child’s IEP and program, you must have a copy of your rights. These contain all of the important information about the process involved in developing an IEP and your rights and responsibilities as a parent. They are available with your school’s counselor or due process coordinator or special Ed teacher.
Know the new federal regulations. Special education is a federally mandated program. Schools are required to follow the law and they know it. Assume they are, but check on this by talking to your child’s teachers and asking questions if you do not understand the requirements.
Consider alternatives to special education if your child does not qualify for special services. Some students struggle in school but do not qualify for special education. In these cases, it is easy for some to slip through the cracks. Inquire if your school has access to special programs, tutoring programs and other options that may help your child with their areas of difficulty.
Schools are required to have a remediation program for students who are not meeting the test score cutoffs. If your child falls into this category, they may qualify for some other type of help here as well. Section 504 of the Medical Disabilities Act provides for help for kids who have a “medical" disability (such as ADHD, ODD, or mental or physical illness), which prevents them from learning at the same level as their regular peers. While these students will usually not qualify for special education services, they may still possibly receive modifications to tests and other aids, which will help the struggling learner, reach new levels of achievement.