(This post was prepared by guest bloggers, Beth Manes and Jessica Weinberg, attorneys whose practice is focused on special education law. Their law firm is located in Westfield, NJ at Manes & Weinberg | Special Needs Lawyers, LLC.)

Once the first marking period in the new school year is over, it is time to assess the implementation and effectiveness of your child’s 504 Plan or Individualized Education Plan (IEP). The IEP will dictate when you receive progress reports, but the progress reports usually coincide with report cards. Please be clear that progress reports and report cards are not the same thing. Report cards report your child’s grades in a class. Progress reports report your child’s progress on each of his or her goals and objectives. If you do not receive progress reports at the end of the marking period, be sure you request them from your case manager. Here are a few questions to ask and steps to take:

  • Have you noticed your child struggling with any academic subjects?
  • Is your child taking longer than usual to complete homework assignments and/or getting frustrated when trying to do so?
  • Does your child seem withdrawn socially, unhappy about going to school, and/or exhibit emotional outbursts after school?
  • Has your child regressed, or lost any skills developed over the past school year?
  • Have any teachers reported concerns?
  • Have you been receiving copies of your child’s school work, and does the school work match the progress that is being reported to you?
  • Compare the progress report to the IEP to confirm that each goal and objective is being tracked.

IF YOU ANSWERED YES TO ANY OF THE ABOVE:

  • Immediately schedule an appointment to meet with your child’s teacher about any concerns you have and/or request an IEP meeting which you can do at any time during the school year. You do not have to wait until parent/teacher conferences at the end of the month or an annual review IEP meeting.
  • You can also request monthly or quarterly progress meetings to more closely monitor your child’s progress.
  • If you are concerned about your child’s mental health, you can ask the school district to pay for a psychiatric evaluation.
  • If you are concerned about your child’s behavior in school, you can ask the school district to conduct a functional behavioral assessment.
  • If you are concerned about your child not making progress with a particular reading, writing or math program, you can request that quarterly assessments be administered.
  • If your child has a 504, and the modifications do not appear to be sufficient, ask for a child study team evaluation.

Manes & Weinberg | Special Needs Lawyers, LLC   Tel: (973)376-7733   Email | www.manesweinberg.com.

Jessica and Beth would be happy to speak with readers to provide additional information about your child’s education rights, and how to navigate the process of defending them.

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