Something’s off. The school year is underway, you’ve submitted all your forms, you’ve talked with the teachers -- and yet, your child continues to struggle in school. What DO you do when it feels like the school isn’t following your child’s 504 or IEP? And how do you know when you need professional reinforcement?
As parents of complex kids, we do a whole lot of paperwork and have a whole lot of meetings.
But When There is a Blatant Violation, Then What?
Guest Expert Christy Calbos, a legal advocate for parents of complex kids, has some guidelines for meeting with teachers about your child’s 504 and IEP, and what to do when that doesn't work -- and you definitely want to hear what she has to say.
According to Calbos, “The first thing is, take a long hard look at what are the supports and accommodations, what are the goals and objectives, what is the instruction, and ask for a meeting... Get clarity.” Calbos goes on to say that it’s important to do your research before the meeting so you can “address it where you think the problem lies, and with that teacher.” That way, you can be ready to have a good constructive talk with the teacher and administrator.
If your child’s 504 and IEP haven’t been properly followed, Calbos recommends working with the teacher to come up with a way for your child to earn back those grades. It’s important to be thorough, asking questions about what the remedy will look like in “day-to-day practice;” and to be comprehensive, so that everyone’s on the same page.
But what do you do if there are no signs of progress? When should you seek out an advocate or attorney? Calbos advises calling for backup when the teacher and/or administration:
- is reluctant to follow the 504 and IEP
- is “refusing to give an appropriate level of remedy for the impact” of not following the guidelines
If you think either of these things are happening, especially if there’s a blatant violation, Calbos says it’s time to look for reinforcements.
Obviously, this is pretty complicated, and navigating the reality of school work is hard for kids and their parents. When a school is not following your child's 504 or IEP, there are steps you can take on your own, and then sometimes you'll need additional advocacy. Either way, this 20 minute interview with Calbos will give you your 'marching orders.'