Q:My school does not cooperate: I was told
at school that my child does not qualify for the Learning
Disabled classification you gave her, because she has never
been exposed to education. What can I do to obtain services
for her under these circumstances?
I am in the process of working on special
education services for Galina. The district has been a little
slow in getting the process started but finally the school
psychologist met with Galinas teachers to discuss
her. The psychologist reported back to me that they did
not think that Galina would qualify for a Learning Disabled
classification because she has never been exposed to education.
They said LD students have an inability to learn, not just
lack of exposure. I explained that she couldnt perform
many of your simple testing tasks but they said it's because
shed never seen them before. Does this sound right?
Didnt you test some basic processing functions that
dont require previous knowledge?
They also said she wont qualify for
Speech and Language service either since she doesnt
know the language. They acknowledge that she is a special
child with special needs and they want to give her special
services, but it doesnt sound like they are going
to classify her which makes me nervous. I dont know
if I am being backed into a corner here. What can I do to
obtain services for her under these circumstances?
Your schools arguments are well known and are the same wrong
reading of the IDEA (the law that regulates special education services).
My report presents your major arguments why Galina must be classified
Galinas past exposure to severe deprivation,
neglect, and institutionalization leads to the same educational
handicapping conditions as organic impairment of the central
Galinas lack of age-appropriate cognitive
skills may result in poor response to instruction in a mainstream
Galinas significant deficiencies in her
native language may negatively affect her mastering the English
language, particular in the cognitive/academic domain.
Galinas substantial limitations in age-appropriate
academic skills render her unfit for mainstream instruction
No remedial placement and supportive services for
your child are available at school without proper classification.
When you receive the classification for your child, you become
protected by the law and do not depend any more on good will of
your school administration. I suggest the following plan to work
with the school in order to obtain the classification and services:
Contact the local FRUA and ask for consultation
with parents in neighboring school districts.
Contact a parent-advocate group or organization,
e.g.: Student Advocacy, Inc. and tell them you may need their
Read my report thoroughly and stick to the argumentation
in the report. For every school's argument cite the report and
your own observations.
Let the school know that you have FRUA with its
huge cumulative experience, and Dr. Gindis, who is a nation-wide
known expert (I am not boasting, this is the fact), and research
on the IA children on your side.
Let the school know that you feel strongly about
Galinas remediation and do not allow the school to continue
the same educational neglect Galina had been exposed in her
Let the school know that you are going to hire
a lawyer to deal with this case.
Do not agree on anything less than IEP. Request
a formal meeting with the head of special education and tell
them that you are going to be accompanied by your legal representative
at this meeting.