Raising a child with special needs can be challenging at times. The parents of special needs children must work closely with school officials to create an individualized education plan (IEP) for their child.
An IEP is a comprehensive overview of a child's abilities and limitations, education and behavioral goals, and special accommodations needed to facilitate learning.
Discovering that your child's school wants to change the IEP can be cause for concern. Fortunately, you have the ability to fight for your child's rights by invoking his or her "stay-put" rights.
Learn more about stay-put rights and how you can use them to help your child in the future.
1. Stay-Put Rights Begin the Formal Dispute Process
Anytime a school wants to make changes to the IEP of a special needs child, written notice must be provided to the parents of that child. The legal length of time between a written notice and the implementation of proposed changes varies from one state to the next.
It's important that you recognize your right to dispute IEP changes as a parent. Invoking your child's stay-put rights formally begins the dispute process regarding said changes. Stay-put rights essentially push the pause button on any changes until the dispute can be resolved.
2. Stay-Put Rights Ensure the Quality of Ongoing Education
Children with special needs often need structure and stability when it comes to their educational environment.
Stay-put rights are designed to help the child maintain their education while proposed changes to their IEP are being disputed. As soon as stay-put rights are invoked, your child will continue to receive their current benefits.
These benefits can include customized classroom activities, access to extracurricular activities, and one-on-one tutoring.
If you don't invoke your child's stay-put rights, school officials can reduce or eliminate any of these benefits from your child's IEP.
3. Invoking Stay-Put Rights Requires Legal Action
If you feel that you need to invoke your child's stay-put rights, it can be beneficial to work with an attorney who works in special education law.
A formal petition for mediation or due process must be filed with the court in order for stay-put rights to be recognized. A special education attorney will have the knowledge and experience required to file this petition and walk you through the legal process that will follow.
The help of your attorney can have a direct impact on your ability to prevent any changes to your child's IEP that you feel would be detrimental over time. Contact a special education attorney in your area to learn more.