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IEP Is in Place, but School District Is Nonresponsive
Q: My seventh-grader has an IEP for memory, reading, and medical difficulties. In his classroom, there are not enough books for each child to keep one in their possession. Also, the teacher keeps necessary papers and work sheets in the classrooms instead of permitting the students to keep them. Without the necessary resources, my son can't do the extra review and study that he requires.
I have contacted the school with my concerns, and don't seem to get anywhere. I haven't heard back from my son's learning support supervisor and the head of the special education department has not responded to any of my complaints. My closest contact was with an assistant principle on speakerphone. I work and don't have time to make all these phone calls. Do you have any ideas on how to get a response from them?
A: I think it's time to start to build a paper trail of your attempts to advocate for your child. Put your request for a reopening of your son's case in writing and send it certified with return receipt requested. The accommodations you are requesting seem reasonable based on your son's profile. Outline them very clearly in your letter (as well as all your previous attempts to get the school to respond to you).
If you still don't get a response, I would contact an advocate to help you navigate through the special education maze. The Coordinated Campaign for Learning Disabilities (http://www.ldonline.org) at 1-888-GR8-MIND should be able to direct you to a support system in your community where you can get some help. Some other possible resources are the Learning Disabilities Association of America (http://www.ldanatl.org) at 1-888-300-6710 or the National Center for Learning Disabilities (http://www.ncld.org) at 1-800-575-7373.
You might also want to look at The Complete IEP Guide: How to Advocate for Your Special Ed Child by attorney Lawrence M. Siegel.
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For more than 20 years, Eileen Marzola has worked with children and adults with learning disabilities and attention deficit disorders, and with their parents and teachers. She has been a regular education classroom teacher, a consultant teacher/resource teacher, an educational evaluator/diagnostician, and has also taught graduate students at the university level. Marzola is an adjunct assistant professor of education at Teachers College, Columbia University, and Hunter College of the City University of New York. She also maintains a private practice in the evaluation and teaching of children with learning disabilities and attention deficit disorders.