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Special Education and Homeschooling

Homeschooling Expert Advice from Isabel Shaw

Q: Are home schooled kids eligible for special-education and related services if they have a medical diagnosis? Does it make a difference if they're registered with the state or not?

A: It depends on the special need. Many school districts do pay for certain services — speech therapy, for instance. Other school districts — even when the law states that they're required to pay — are often reluctant to do so.

There was a case in New Jersey not too long ago where the homeschooling parents had to sue the school district to get the services their daughter was legally entitled to.

Keep in mind, once the district is paying, they also may have a say in how you homeschool. Homeschooling parents I have spoken with have chosen to pay for special services themselves, rather than compromise their privacy. You will have to contact your board of education and find out exactly what the policy is. If their reply is not satisfactory, get a copy of the policy in writing. The information relayed via telephone in my state is notoriously incorrect.

I don't know the nature of your child's disability, but here are some sites that offer suggestions on homeschooling children with disabilities:
www.members.tripod.com/~Maaja/index.htm
www.ldonline.com

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Isabel Shaw is a freelance writer and homeschooling mom of 15 years. She and her husband Ray homeschool their two daughters, Jessica and Amanda. Besides being a contributor to FamilyEducation.com, Shaw has written for Home Education Magazine, The Link, Homeschooling Horizons Magazine, The Homeschool Gazette, and other publications.


Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

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