Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Do private schools have to provide a 504 plan or an IEP?
A. 504 plans and IEPs protect the rights of children with disabilities who are attending schools that receive federal funding/public funding.
Q. What can I do to get support for my child entering preschool?
A. 504 plans and IEPs protect children from the age of 3. Contact your local school district and request a copy of their preschool policies for 504s and IEPs. An evaluation may be required by the district.
Q. My child is having a hard time but the school says he does not need support because his grades are passing. What can I do?
A. 504 plans are not contingent on a child’s academic performance or educational impact. IEPs do require that the disability has an adverse educational impact on the child’s performance in school. However, it is important to note that “educational impact” is comprised of multiple factors including academics, behavior, and social/emotional performance. In writing, request a copy of the school’s policy that supports denial of support, as well as a specific letter from the district that outlines their rationale for denial of support for your child.
Q. My child has difficulty with attention and behaviors especially when we are trialing new foods. The school says they don’t know what to do.
A. If behaviors become an impeding factor to your child’s learning or to the learning of children in his or her class, then it may be time to request a Functional Behavior Assessment. An FBA will help educators identify the problem behaviors, what causes the behaviors, and develop strategies and reinforcements to change the targets of the behavior. From an FBA, a Behavior Intervention Plan will be developed to give your child’s teachers specific guidelines for managing the behavior. Functional Behavior Assessments should consist of data collection over a period of consecutive days. Behavior Intervention Plans are fluid documents that are specifically tailored to meet the behavioral needs of the child. For more information on Positive Behavior Reinforcement in schools, visit PBIS.org
Q. My child attends a public school. They have said that I need pursue medication for my child’s attention issues. Is this allowed?
A. The Individuals with Disabilities Act very clearly states that schools cannot require you to medicate your child as a condition for educating your child, providing services to your child, or evaluating your child. They can discuss behavioral concerns related to classroom performance, but you are not required to medicate your child in order for him or her to receive a Free and Appropriate Public Education.
Q. I have been told that I have to accompany my child on field trips so that she can receive her bolus feeds. Does that mean that if I cannot attend, she cannot go with her class?
A. No! The child’s 504 plan should specifically outline who is responsible for all feeding situations including off-campus school sponsored events such as field trips. Children with disabilities are protected from discrimination for all school activities including field trips and school-sponsored extracurricular activities. Parents should not be required to attend for children to participate in school enrichment activities.
Next: Info for School Staff
Authored by Jennifer Cardenas, The Right to Learn, http://therighttolearn.net/. ©2012, The American Partnership for Eosinophilic Disorders.