If you are a special education parent, you have probably noticed that the school administrators are masterful at delaying and diverting responsibility for educational services that your child needs to succeed in school. Once you understand how they work; however, you can turn the tables around on them – essentially pointing the responsibility back on them and with a sense of urgency. A couple of examples:
1. Parents whose child is being offered ESY (extended school year, or summer school). Administrators would rather not pay to transport your child to school – even though they are obligated to do so. In the hopes that parents will just drive their children, the school may say “We are not offering bus service for your child this summer”. My answer is something like, “oh no, I am unable to drive my child to school this summer, so I guess you will have to send someone to our house to give my child services.” They will suddenly “offer” transportation.
2. Parents wanted their son to walk in his walker in school were told it wasn’t appropriate because he accesses the school best in his wheelchair. I told the school that the boy wanted to be able to walk in the school halls with his non-disabled peers. They came back with, “but he does not access the school as well in his walker – it is slower and takes more time and energy.” Parents I came back with “so you are telling us that you will not allow John to walk in school with his peers? Isn’t walking a basic right of students – even if they require the use of a walker?” No district wants the bad publicity of a discrimination lawsuit – so they will probably acquiesce.
Remember, for every “reason” they can come up with to deny your requests, there are equally or more compelling reasons why they should honor your request.