Parents Don't Be Afraid To Adocate for Your Child's Rights

Parents a Charter SELBA, which over sees IEPs, stated on Twitter that this article is a very good resource guide for parents. This is unusual so don’t be afraid to use this information.

I have heard many stories from many parents who are being told an IEP will prevent their child from getting a good job or getting into college. This is a complete lie. Schools only say this because IEPS cost them money. Also some parents are told a district can only give out a certain number of IEPS. Again another lie. Some parents are told if they press for an IEP the school district might go bankrupt. Another lie by the schools. If they cut the salaries of the administration, they would have plenty of money. Finally many parents report that the school employees were pressuring them to sign the forms right away and didn’t want them to go home and think about their options. They said the school made them feel like bad parents if they did not sign immediately. You are in charge and you have a right to go home and think. If the school is pressuring you that hard they are doing something wrong. Finally many parents were never given their handbook of rights. Ask for that right away because it list where you can file a complaint if you feel the school is not being fair.

This is important because parents you may need to fight for your child’s rights for a decent education. Do not worry about the school or the school employees. Often the employees are doing what is best for the District not the student. Not every employee does this but today many do. Knowing this, read the rest of this article and don’t be afraid to use the knowledge and fight for your child

Seems like the school year has just started and the Districts are already misleading parents about IEPs. The definition is further down. An IEP and 504 are not the same. An IEP is legally enforceable and has legal guidelines and time frames. An IEP follows a student from school to school or state to state. A 504 is not legally enforceable and doesn’t follow a child nor are there legal guidelines.

An IEP will not stop your child from getting a job or from getting into college. In fact and college because they still would be entitled to assistance and the State of California may pay for their books. Also educational records are confidential therefore, no one would know your child had an IEP in school.

Many schools say your child must be two grades below in order to qualify for an IEP. If you said your child had a math or reading disability this is true. However, if they have ADHD, Bipolar, school anxiety etc. they can qualify under OTHER HEALTH IMPAIRMENTS. All your child needs is a diagnosis such as ADHD which would interfere with their ability to fully benefit from their learning experience in the classroom. The 2 grade below level qualification doesn’t apply to this category.

Also if you have a child in private school and they would benefit from additional assistance, contact your child’s public school district. Even though they attend private school the public school district is legally obligated to provide your child with services.

One more issue, never pay for outside testing before the school district tests your child. They have the right not to accept any outside testing until they test the child. If you disagree with the district’s testing then you can request an objective testing from an outside professional and you can request that the school district pays for the testing and you can select the evaluator.

An IEP or an Individualized Education Plan is a document that outlines the specialized education services that a student will receive due to their disability. It ensures the student will receive the assistance necessary so they will receive an education.

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When most parents hear disability, they usually think of a person in a wheelchair or a student wIth a learning disability. There are various condItions that can qualify as a disability. Depression, Bipolare Disorder or even diabetes. The disability is any condition that will interfere in the student receiving the same education as other students. The students who qualify for an IEP need accommodations which meet the criteria of needing specialized education. As I stated above their are numerous conditions which may qualify a student for an IEP.

If a student does qualify for an IEP, they also qualify for Special Education. Many parents hear this and are afraid or embassies. There is nothing to be afraid of or embossed about. If a student qualifies for Special Education, if the student needs speech therapy or special computer programs, the school district is obligated to provide the services to the student at no expense to the student’s family.

There is also an option called a 504 Plan. This was established in the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. The 504 plan ensures that a student with a disability will receive accommodations so they will receive the same education as other students. However, the 504 plan does not qualify a student for Special Education services and It is not overseen as closely as an IEP plan.

Currently, many districts are telling parents that their child does not need or qualify for an IEP and a 504 plan is just a good. This is not true. Many school districts are telling parents that their child does not qualify for an IEP because the IEP is more expensive for the district and most districts are trying to save money.The districts take advantage of the fact that as parents, you do not know all the differences between an IEP and a 504 so they can talk a family into a 504 plan easily.

If you find that your child is having difficulties at school due to a learning disability, health issue or emotional issue, consult an outside professional before you automatically assume that the school is giving you the appropriate recommendation.

I see many parents who have been told that their child is better with a 504 plan and that is not the truth. You can consult an educational consultant or a therapist who works with children. You can contact me at I help many families at their child’s IEP meeting. The main thing is, do not be afraid to ask if your child should have a 504 or an IEP. Also don’t let the district make you feel guilty because you want time to think and investigate the options. This is your child and you should never sign anything until you are sure it is in your child’s best interest.

I have added a link to a chart that will help you compare the two and understand the differences.

504 Plan vs. IEP - Education pages lists the differences between an IEP and a 504 plan.

Dr. Michael Rubino has over 18 years experience working with children and teens. For more information about Dr. Rubino’’s practice visit his web site at

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