Child Find is a legal requirement that schools “find” children (ages birth through 21) with disabilities who may need special education services. If the school knows or suspects a child has a disability then, according to the law, it must agree to evaluations. Here are some excellent resources detailing Child Find:
Christina and Wendy
When attending a meeting to discuss your child’s needs, there are a few phrases you should never hear. Below are just a few:
- ANY word regarding money. Never, never, never should an employee of the school say anything about what services can and can not be offered because of monetary concerns. IEP Team members make decisions for a child based on the child’s need and the data to show that need.
- “We can’t test your child until we have tried RTI (or MTSS)”. This statement is false. Take a look at our blog What Can I Do if My Child is Struggling in School?
- “This meeting will only be an hour because (insert any reason here: the general education teacher has to leave, we have another meeting scheduled, etc).” The meeting should last as long as necessary to address the concerns of every member of the team. Who Is On Your Child’s Team?
- “We aren’t going to add your statement to the DEC 5 because we don’t agree with you.” As a member of your child’s team, you have the right to add any statement regarding your child and the meeting, even if they don’t agree. The Importance of a DEC5
- “We can’t make that decision today.” At every meeting, there should be a person who has the authority to make decisions. This person is called the LEA representative. They should know and understand laws regarding special education, policies within the school and district, and have knowledge of the budget.
- “We don’t accept outside evaluations.” In North Carolina, all evaluations must be considered by the IEP Team. If you offer an outside evaluation documenting your child’s needs, the Team needs to discuss it and see how and if it is is relevant to the over all data for your child.
These are just a few of the statements we have had parents tell us members of their child’s team have said. There are a few statements that we have experienced at IEP meetings for our own children. These statements are not shared with you to cause anger toward your child’s team, but instead for you to know where to establish boundaries with the team as you reach a consensus about what is in the best interest of your child. When you have a question or concern, always start by going to your child’s case manager or EC teacher first. If you are not able to get your question answered, you can then ask the EC Coordinator or Director next for your school or district.
NCDPI has an excellent website with information http://www.dpi.state.nc.us .Under “departments” click “exceptional children.”
Another fantastic resource for parents is the ECAC (Exceptional Children’s Assistance Center). http://www.ecac-parentcenter.org
You are also always welcome to e-mail us with any questions at email@example.com.
Wendy and Christina