Special Ed. Services Lost After Move to New State

Get advice on how to take action if your child loses special-education services after moving to a new state.
I recently moved from Texas, where my son was in special education and resource classes. When we moved, I informed the new school that he had received special education services and that he needed to continue them. The teacher had said that they had not received any information about my son being in special education and that they were waiting for the papers from his old school.

Last year, my son came home very upset and frustrated with his homework. He would bring home bad grades. I had another conference with the teacher. She said that my son did not need special education -- he was a smart kid but was just lazy. My son struggled the whole year and barely passed into the fourth grade, which I think is a mistake because his Iowa Test scores were terrible. This year he will need to pass the Leap Test in order to move on to the next grade. I think the school system has broken the federal law. What should I do?

You certainly have reason to be frustrated! Do you have copies of the evaluations that were done in your son's previous school? If not, write a letter to them; send it by certified mail and request copies of the evaluations and special education placement history. Bring copies of this information to the school and request an immediate review to determine your son's eligibility for services in your state. Put your request in writing and have the school give you a receipt for it. By law, they must respond to a parent's request for an evaluation. Start a file now of all correspondence or meetings with the school about this issue.

Read this excellent resource by Attorney Lawrence M. Siegel: The Complete IEP Guide: How to Advocate for Your Special Ed Child. Also, there must be a branch of one of the many advocacy groups in this country near you. Call the Coordinated Campaign for Learning Disabilities at 1-888-GR8-MIND or the National Center for Learning Disabilities at 1-800-575-7373 to find out where the nearest group is. They can walk you through the system to get the help your child needs.

For more than 20 years, Eileen Marzola has worked with children and adults with learning disabilities and attention deficit disorders, and with their parents and teachers. She has been a regular education classroom teacher, a consultant teacher/resource teacher, an educational evaluator/diagnostician, and has also taught graduate students at the university level. Marzola is an adjunct assistant professor of education at Teachers College, Columbia University, and Hunter College of the City University of New York. She also maintains a private practice in the evaluation and teaching of children with learning disabilities and attention deficit disorders.

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