IEP Attorneys in York, Pennsylvania
Our educational system is designed to educate a child that fits a certain profile. But, if your child learns differently, needs special help in school, or is gifted in some way, the public schools may not provide the education required by federal law. If your child is different in some way, and that difference impacts on how he or she learns, your school district may be required to develop a plan geared for success. When you want your child to receive the education he or she is entitled to, you can rely on Anderson, Converse & Fennick. Our firm has decades of experience providing clients with the legal guidance they need to help their children obtain the services they need to be successful in school. Contact us today to learn how we can help you.
Getting an IEP in Pennsylvania
Children that require special education services in school often need an Individualized Education Program (IEP). This is a written plan that outlines the services and accommodations that a child needs to succeed in school. In order for your student to be eligible for an IEP in the state of Pennsylvania, he or she must meet two criteria.
First, your child has to fall under one of the 13 categories of disability set forth in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. These categories include:
- Intellectual disability
- Traumatic brain injury
- Hearing impairment
- Speech or language impairment
- Visual impairment
- Emotional disturbance
- Orthopedic impairment
- Specific learning disability
- Multiple disabilities
- Other health impairment
The second requirement is the need for specifically designed instruction. For example, if your child has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), but is successful in school, he or she may not qualify for special education services. If your child’s ADHD impacts his or her ability to succeed, the district is required to make accommodations to your child’s programming.
What defines “success” in a school?
Your child’s success means much more than good grades on a report card. For example, some children with high-functioning autism do extremely well academically. However, they may lack social skills. They may not have friends. They may be bullied. And they may start to hate school because success is so much more than producing quality work. The special education law requires schools to help students with social skills deficits and behavioral issues, as well as those who struggle academically. Knowing what success means is important in recognizing your child’s rights and fighting for them.
Components of an IEP
When an IEP is created, it must include a description of all of the support your child requires, including:
- Learning support
- Emotional support
- Life skills support
- Blind and visually impaired support
- Deaf or hard-of-hearing support
- Speech and language support
- Physical support
- Autistic support
- Multiple disabilities support
Of course, each type of support is entirely dependent on your child’s needs. This plan is created by a team that includes the following individuals, as required by Pennsylvania state law:
- The child’s parent(s) or caregiver
- At least one of the child’s teachers
- At least one special education teacher
- A representative of the school district who is qualified to supervise the district’s special education programs
It is crucial that you attend all IEP meetings to ensure that your child’s needs are met and your opinions on the matter are discussed.
You have the right to be involved in the process of helping your child receive the services he or she deserves. You have the right to attend meetings concerning your child’s education. You have the right to ask for changes to his or her IEP or 504 plan. If you find yourself getting nowhere at those meetings, you may need our help. We can attend meetings with you. If you are not happy with the results of the meeting, we can advise as to whether it is appropriate to file for a due process hearing.
Special Education Services for Private School Students
If your child attends a private school in the state of Pennsylvania, he or she doesn’t have the same rights to special education services as public school students. However, local school districts are required to provide certain services to your private school child, including free evaluations to determine whether he or she meets the eligibility criteria for special education services. If the evaluations determine that your child is eligible for these services, the school district in which the student resides must offer free appropriate public education at the local public school. That being said, you may refuse these services and continue the child’s private education.
Contact a Pennsylvania Education Attorney
At Anderson, Converse & Fennick, we understand how important it is that your child gets the educational services he or she deserves. If your child does not currently have an IEP and may need one, or if you do not agree with the IEP that was constructed, it may be necessary to speak with an experienced education law attorney. Contact the legal team at Anderson, Converse & Fennick today to discuss your situation.