If your child qualifies for free help in the special education program under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), he will have an Individualized Education Program (IEP). This written document spells out the specific services to which he is entitled in school. The IEP team is required to review the IEP annually to determine if it still suits his needs. If it does not, the document will be modified. However, if you believe that your child’s IEP no longer suits his needs prior to the annual meeting, you can request an IEP meeting at any time. It’s a good idea to periodically look over the IEP to refresh your memory and decide if a change is in order. Mark your calendar every few months to remind you to review the IEP. The back-to-school season is one good time to do it.
The back-to-school season is an exciting time for families, whether your child is boarding the school bus for the first time or he is a returning student. Your child’s teachers and the other members of the school staff are responsible for more than just his education and feeding him a healthy lunch while he’s at school. They are also responsible for identifying the possible signs of a speech disorder or other issue, such as autism or Fragile X syndrome. Your child’s teacher or his pediatrician might refer him to the agency that is responsible for special education in your state. This referral means that it is recommended that your child undergo a speech and language evaluation. You do have the right to refuse, but if your child does need extra help, an evaluation is the first step in that direction.