Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates
Protecting the Legal and Civil Rights of Students with Disabilities
7 year old Susie had leukemia and missed all of kindergarten. While in remission, she also missed 54 days of first grade. The first day of school is a milestone for every child and Susie and her parents had waited a long time for that day to come.
They were at once excited and nervous because they knew that due to the toll Susie’s heath condition had taken and the lost time that she would need extra supports to catch up to her peers. They asked the school to qualify Susie for special education and related services under IDEA and were devastated when the school said “No. Susie could come back to school but she would receive no support.” Despite multiple requests by her parents to qualify her for special education and related services under IDEA, the school system refused.
Susie’s neuropsychologist referred her to an attorney, who contacted the compliance office within the Office of Special Education in the local school system to request an IEP meeting over the summer. The goal was to order initial evaluations to determine if Susie would be eligible for special education and related services. The attorney also provided a comprehensive neuropsychological report from an outside provider for the IEP team to consider. After two meetings and expedited assessments by the local school system, the student was found eligible under the federal eligibility category of other health impairment.
The IEP team met and assured that Susie now has accommodations (mathematics tools & calculators, visual organizers, extended time and a half, frequent breaks, reduce distractions to the student); supplementary aids (repeat or paraphrase info, manipulatives,a peer buddy, altered/modified assignments, chunking of text, preferential seating); individualized goals (two reading goals, one mathematics, and one communication); and, related services (three, 30-minute sessions per week in a small group with a special educator; a structured, research-based literature intervention program, for three, 30-minute sessions by a reading interventionist; and 30 minutes per week of speech.
Susie is doing VERY well with the current level of services, and her health, and is regularly attending and making progress in school.
The impact of COPAA's network for this practicing attorney changed Susie's life.
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