Inclusion for Children with Disabilities; Are There Other Options?
Are you the parent of a child with autism or another disability, that thinks your child should be in another placement, other than a regular classroom. Have you been told by special education personnel, that they only offer inclusion for children, and you feel that your child needs more intense special education services? This article will explain continuum of placement options, which is part of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). By knowing the law, you will be able to more effectively advocate for your child's education.
Continuum of placement option is in IDEA at 300.115 This section 'Requires each public agency to ensure that a continuum of alternative placements (including instruction in regular classes, special classes, special schools, home instruction, and instruction in hospitals and institutions), is available to meet the needs of children with disabilities for special education and related services.'
This means that school districts can not only offer inclusion, to children with disabilities. If your child needs more intense educational services, they must offer those also. The continuum could mean more 'supplementary aids and services in the regular education environment,' more resource help, special education classroom, special education school etc.
Some school districts use a cooperative type system, where several school districts go together to provide special education services. The bottom line is, that special education personnel are responsible for giving your child a free appropriate public education (FAPE).
If your school district is not giving, your child FAPE, there is a provision in IDEA to place your child in a private school, and seek reimbursement. IDEA requirements are very strict in this area, if you do not follow them, you may lose reimbursement. Make sure you understand what the law says, before you remove your child and place them in private school.
The school district will probably file for a due process hearing, to prove to a hearing officer that they are giving your child FAPE. If you are able to prove your case, the hearing officer will require the school district to reimburse you for the private school costs.
School districts are required to give children with disabilities a continuum of placement options to meet their unique educational needs. By understanding this concept you can fight for the education that your child needs, and deserves.
About the author:
JoAnn Collins is the mother of two adults with disabilities, and has been an advocate for over 15 years, helping other families. She is the author of the recently published book Disability Deception; Lies Disability Educators Tell and How Parents Can Beat Them at Their Own Game. For a free newsletter send an Email to: JoAnn@disabilitydeception.com.