When Is It Time to Look into Special Education Services for My Child?

When Is It Time to Look into Special Education Services for My Child?

For parents who have concerns about their child’s functionality in or out of school, this can be a challenging and critical time.

You may be filled with a host of emotions: helplessness, frustration, fear, uncertainty. All of these feelings are completely normal. Watching your child struggle is not easy. If your child is indeed struggling , i.e. having a hard time putting their thoughts into words (verbally or written), having difficulty focusing in class or during homework, having emotional outbursts that are not age appropriate, having trouble relating to their peers, or just simply unable to academically keep up, it is time to look into Special Education Services in your child’s school. 

This year I had a client call wanting to initiate Special Education Services for their daughter (I will refer to her as Susie). Susie, a first grader, was showing some signs of dyslexia as she began to learn to write and read. Because dyslexia, if left undiagnosed, can negatively impact all academic areas, this was an urgent matter. Susie’s parents were ready to act fast. I gave them a realistic timeline from evaluation to service implementation in the school. Susie’s parents were shocked that schools can often take up to a year to start special education services from the time they are requested.

Schools are allowed 60 days just to complete the evaluation, then they must hold the meeting and make a plan for a service starting date. Very often this falls in the middle of a semester or marking period, when the school may be reluctant to change the programs; accordingly they may delay the start date for services. It is for this very reason that it is important to start the process as soon as you become concerned.

Additionally, if you are not well versed in your rights or Special Education law, you should have an advocate or expert to help you press the school for the earliest possible implementation date.

Susie managed to receive services within four months, which is considered very fast. In sum, if you are asking yourself whether or not it is time to look into special education services, it is time and you should request an evaluation from your school today.


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