Understanding special education can be like a visit to an entirely different world for parents who have no experience in the matter. However, for parents of a special needs child, it is a world that must be explored in order to ensure that the child has the best possible preparation for the future. The first step in gaining special education for a deserving child is to have the school district determine that the child is eligible for supportive services. This process can be arduous, however, particularly when the school district and the parents do not agree. In these cases, the eligibility determination may be contested, and the parents will have to fight a longer than usual battle to get their children the educational services that they deserve. An experienced attorney from Newman Aaronson Vanaman can help concerned parents who are contesting a Santa Monica eligibility determination.
Helping Parents & Children in Los Angeles County with Eligibility Determination
Public schools in Santa Monica are governed by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, just as all school districts in the United States are. While this act requires all school districts to give special needs students the resources they need to receive an excellent free public school education, it does not state specifically which students should be included. It does list 13 categories that receive special educational services, but the final determination rests on the shoulders of Santa Monica school district officials, teachers and medical or mental evaluators, such as psychologists. School districts can also create additional categories if they wish, but some districts are not motivated to do this because of funding concerns.
In order to qualify for a service, students must demonstrate that their disability hinders them from learning or performing well in school. If they have a disability but can keep up adequately with the rest of the class, they are denied special education. However, this determination can be quite arbitrary, and parents and teachers often disagree about a child’s educational prognosis.