We can stop Schools from disciplining your child with Special Needs for conduct or behavior which is related to your child’s disabilities.
Unwarranted “Discipline” includes:
*Suspensions, both in and out of school
*Sending the child home for parents to deal with
*Reducing the number of classroom hours
*Denial of recess or lunch
* Denial of participating in school activities such as field trips and athletics
*Calling police without justification
Unwarranted Disciplines Are Prevented
Under Federal and State Law, schools are restricted from disciplining or suspending your child with Special Needs for conduct/behavior this is related to or caused by your child’s disability.
How DAO Stops Unwarranted Discipline/Suspensions
DAO assists the Parents by reviewing the child’s school records and then requesting a meeting with the IEP Team. At the meeting DAO informs the school about the Federal and State law which prohibits schools from disciplining/suspending students with special needs.
Then DAO requests that the School immediately start a Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA). After the FBA is completed, DAO will participate with the Parents in developing a good Behavioral Intervention Plan (BIP)
A good BIP is absolutely essential in getting your child on the road to academic success.
2. Student's Educational Records:
If no emergency exists, such as a Suspension or Expulsion, the first thing to do is to get the Student’s school educational records. This is necessary in order to evaluate the needs of the Student. DAO helps the Parents obtain all educational (school) records from the School District with relate to the Student. We also have the Parents obtain all medical records which relate to the child, such as evaluations and disability diagnoses.
Then Disability Advocates carefully review and summarize all the records in order to determine exactly what the School has or has not done for your child. This Summary provides the basis for guiding you as to what services and benefits should be provided by the School.
3. Parental Requests & Concerns.
After a complete review and summary of the School records of your child, we assist you in deciding which services and benefits should be demanded of the School. DAO starts with drafting a written document which lists all the demands/requests which you as a Parent believe your Child is entitled to at the IEP Team meeting. This Document is entitled “Parental Requests & Concerns”.
4. Help Parents Prepare for and Attend (if necessary) the IEP Team Meeting:
Disability Advocates will assist the Parents in preparing for the IEP Team Meeting. Moreover, if necessary, we will accompany the Parent(s) to the IEP Team meeting as the Parent's spokesperson.
Prior to the IEP team meeting, we draft a written list of all special education services and benefits which should be included in the Student's IEP. We call the itemized list the "Parental Concerns/Requests".
Special Educational Services & Benefits:
Special education services and benefits which DOA assists Parents with getting including in the formal IEP document include the following:
a. Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE).
If the child has never been given an evaluation, or if the child has been evaluated but the evaluation is inadequate, we insist that the IEE be performed by an independent, unbiased professional. The IEE will tell the Parents and the District exactly what disabilities the child has, in addition to measuring IQ, describing the child's physical limitations, and detailing all other problems. The IEE is essential in drafting the best Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for the child. The IEE is to be at no cost to the Parents.
b. Assistive Technology Evaluation:
At the IEP, we insists that the District provide, free of charge to the Parents, an "Assistive Technology Evaluation", which is normally provided by an independent agencies such as the Oklahoma Assistive Technology Center.
Once the Assistive Technology Evaluation is accomplished, we attend the IEP team meeting to assist the Parents and the other IEP team members to draft an appropriate IEP which includes those assistive technology devices and services needed by the Student
This evaluation is necessary whenever a Student would benefit from any type of assistive device or software program. Moreover, these technology devices and programs are free of charge to the Parents.
Many, if not most , children with special needs would greatly benefit from the use of such devices, which include such things as tape recorders for lectures or taking notes or assignments: laptop computers; specialized keyboards; or specialized writing utensils.
Students with more serious disabilities might benefit by augmentation devices, also known as communication boards; wheelchairs; and other mobility devices.
In addition, there are countless software programs available for just about every type of disability, including Dyslexia, Dysgraphia , or other problems with spelling, reading, or math to name a few.
The list of devices and software programs available, without cost, is almost unlimited. See our list of assistive technology suppliers in this web site.
c. Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA):
If the Student is displaying behavioral and /or disciplinary problems in school, we request the District provide, free of charge, a Functional Behavioral Assessment (FBA) of the Student.
The FBA is a free evaluation in which the child is observed in a variety of environments such as several classrooms, the playground, and even at home. The evaluation or assessment is designed to determine what causes the child to engage in undesirable behavior or conduct.
d. Behavioral Intervention Plan (BIP):
Once the FBA is completed, we assist the parents and the School in drafting a Behavioral Intervention Plan (BIP) specifically designed to address the child's special behavioral conduct or misconduct.
A well-written, appropriate BIP is a written plan to help the Student and the teachers to react in a positive, supportive manner whenever the Student engages in inappropriate behavior.
The best way to prevent your child from being suspended or disciplined is to develop a good Behavioral Intervention Plan. The existence of a good BIP will prevent the child from being suspended or expelled for inappropriate behavior/conduct which is caused by (or a manifestation) the Student's disability.
e. Related Services:
Children with special needs generally are entitled to receive, at no cost, "related services" such as Physical Therapy (PT), Occupational Therapy (OT), and Speech/Language (SL). We assist children with special needs in obtaining these services.
1-Physical Therapy (PT) is therapy provided by specialized professionals who help the child develop large mussels involved in gross motor skills such as setting, standing, walking, running, and all bodily movements.
2-Occupational Therapy (OT) is provided by professionals and is designed to assist especial needs child with improving their fine motor skills such as grasping with the hands, drawing, writing, etc.
3-Speech/Language Therapy(S/L) must be administered by a licensed, speech pathologist. This therapy is absolutely necessary for special needs children who are experiencing difficulties in all forms of speech and language processing.
School Districts frequently refuse to provide OT, PT and /or SL, or will provide such therapies on a limited basis. DAO will ensure that the School provides the appropriate amount of Related Services as requested by the Parents.
Frequently a child with special needs requires the assistance of a full or part time aide or Paraprofessional. Schools are generally not willing to provide a "one-on-one" aide or Paraprofessional. We assist Parents in obtaining one-on-one aide's for the Student.
g. Extended School Year (ESY);
We assist parents in getting special education services for their Student during the summer months &/ or during the times the District is normally on "Breaks" such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Spring breaks.
ESY is not to be confused with "summer school". ESY is a special education program specifically tailored to the educational needs of student with special needs. An appropriate ESY program is not a "one size fits all" type of educational plan.
h. Educational Goals:
Finally, Disability Advocates assist the Parents in drafting appropriate educational goals relating to all aspects of the Student's special education needs.
5. Due Process Hearings:
If the School District refuses to provide the educational services and benefits to which the Student is entitled, we will assist Parents in requiring the School to comply with the law. This is accomplished by the filing of a Due Process Complaint with the State Department of Education.
Disability Advocates will submit the issues listed in the Due Process Complaint to a Hearing Officer appointed by the State Department of Education. A Due Process Hearing is a quasi-legal proceeding which involves the presentation of testimony by way of witnesses and exhibits. When appropriate, DAO will draft a legal brief on behalf of the Parents to be submitted to the Hearing Officer.
Disability Advocates of Oklahoma also provides expert legal representation for Social Security and Social Security Disability legal issues. See the heading Social Security at the home page of this website.
Special Needs Trusts
We also have Associate Attorneys who are experts in drafting Trusts for Special Needs children. Special Needs Trusts are essential if Parents want to make special provisions for their Special Needs child, in the event of the death of the Parents.
Disability Advocates of Oklahoma is Oklahoma's most experienced legal and advocate full service source for Parents, Students, and disabled individuals who need assistance with all forms of educational, disability, and disciplinary problems.