Your IEP This Fall
We are faced with so many tough decisions this fall. I addressed the decision-making process in this post: Should you keep your student at home or send them to school? How to Decide for Fall 2020
If you are still struggling with your decision, I encourage you to visit that post. But, part of the decision-making process is learning what will happen to your IEP. I have heard several variations of the same question this past week. So I thought I would address them. If I missed one, feel free to email me and I will add it.
What happens to my IEP if…..
First, know that when you hear the word “unprecedented” in regards to COVID learning, it truly applies here. In special education, much of what happens with our kids is determined by case law. And, there have not been any cases yet. IDEA does not define much of this, and until a family files for Due Process and the case goes to Federal Court, there literally is not a precedent set for many of these concerns.
As always, if you want me to add to this post, email me. I can always add another FAQ about IEPs.
What happens to my IEP if I choose to home school?
If you are doing true homeschooling, as in withdrawing your child or dis-enrolling your child from the school district, then your IEP is null and void. Should you choose to return, what happens next will depend upon how long your child has not been enrolled. If the time period is short, they’ll likely implement the previous IEP. If it’s been a few months or more, new evaluations are warranted.
However, many people use the term “homeschooling” when that’s not really what they mean. Read more below.
I want to choose the Distance Learning option this fall, but not all the IEP services can be implemented.
Many parents will choose the distance learning option that their school offers. Since your child is still enrolled in your local district, you still have an IEP. However, many services will have to look different (telehealth) than how they are provided in a school building. The Dept of Ed has stated that it’s to be handled on an individual basis, so there is no blanket answer here.
What happens to my IEP if I enroll my child in a Cyber Charter?
A few dozen states have cyber charter schools. Those schools are considered public schools, so IDEA applies. But again, how services are provided will look different than a regular building. When you dis-enroll from one school and enroll in another, it’s usually handled like the family has moved. What happens to my IEP is I move?
If I am switching my child from a school building to a home setting or vice versa, can I still ask for changes on the IEP?
Yes, if your child is still enrolled in a school district someplace, IDEA still applies. And, home is a more restrictive environment on the LRE continuum so it would make sense that changes to an IEP are warranted.
I requested IEP evaluations for my child and now we are learning at home. What happens next?
It depends on the evaluation, the assessment protocols, and the discipline. Each discipline (PT, OT, etc.) has its own licensing body and practice guidelines. Some assessments can be done virtually, some cannot. If your district is past the designated timeline, you can file an IEP complaint. However, again, no precedent has been set and I would expect LEAs to be given a tremendous amount of leeway if someone files a complaint.
I think I want my child to learn at home but what if I decide to return him to the school building?
Public schools are required to enroll every child that lives in the district, so they cannot turn you away. However, each district will have its own administrative procedures as to how this is handled. My own district is offering distance learning during the pandemic, and asking families to only make changes at the start of each marking period. While they cannot turn me away if I do not follow that, I always urge parents to be cooperative and solution-oriented with their schools.
If I don’t want my child to receive IEP related services via Zoom, can I get comp ed?
What if I do not like my school district’s distance learning option?
The Dept of Ed and most states have given the guidance that IEP situations should be handled on an individual basis. If you do not like your school district’s option, you either have to negotiate or choose another option. (read link in first paragraph)
What happens with my child’s aide/para if I keep them home?
That will depend upon a few things: Which option of learning at home you choose (true homeschooling vs district plan) and what your state’s guidelines are as far as in-person contact and what services can be provided safely. If you have a shared para, I would not expect that to be bumped up to a 1:1 para in the home.
I’m overwhelmed. How do I know what I’m doing is right for my child.
First, a mom’s gut instincts are rarely wrong. Second, pace yourself. I understand the feeling of urgency, but just take it one day at a time. At the beginning of the post, I gave you a link to assist you with the decision making process. Do that exercise, and keep good records. Don’t delete email, keep it in an email folder in your inbox. Monitor what your child is doing and if they are at home, you’re going to have to do your own monitoring for regression. We’re all in this together.
Remember, teachers and school personnel are just as stressed about this as we are. I think it’s also important to remember (as if we could forget), but we are in a deadly pandemic. There are no good answers here. Often in the decision-making process, we have a good solution and a bad solution. Sometimes we’re even lucky enough to have a win-win situation. That is not the case here.
This is lose-lose. No matter how you look at it. All we can do is the best we can with what we have. Know that you’re not alone. Peace.