How do I get support in the school system?
Sifting through pages of evaluations and school documents is overwhelming. Most parents are not prepared for their child to have a disability. Following a diagnosis, you are likely feeling overwhelmed and unsure of where to start to help your child. At Extraordinary Law, I believe that knowledge is power, and the only way guardians can feel that they are appropriately supporting their students needs.
Unfortunately, most families don't even know where to look for information or support. Here are some resources to help you start educating your self on the educational system and what to expect when you start down the special education path. It can be confusing, if you are ever unsure I am here to talk to you and figure out how we can help your individual student find success.
Learn more about your child's diagnosis
The International Dyslexia Association - Pennsylvania Branch
Speech and Language Impairment
What is an IEP?
An Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is the "book" on your child that defines who they are, what their deficits are, and what their strengths are. It also tells you as the family how the school district is supporting your child's needs. The document is typically long and cumbersome to families. You go to a meeting, the District asks for your opinion on what should be added in. How do you respond? What should even be in this document?
Here's a state reference on common information that is included to help you understand what exactly that document provides and what information you should be able to understand from it.
Alternatively, your child might qualify for a Section 504 Service Agreement. This is a document which provides the accommodations your child needs to be able to access the curriculum at the school setting. This is a much simpler document and is usually provided following explicit recommendations from a medical professional.
What else is available when I have a child with a disability diagnosis? How does my child get community support in addition to school supports?
While there are specific requirements, it is possible your family qualifies for medical assistance based on your child's disability. This can provide additional services that most primary insurances to not cover. Check out the State's handbook on eligibility requirements here to see if your family and student qualify.
ABA Services: Allegheny Behavior Analysis Services; HOPE Learning Centers; Pittsburgh Behavior Services
Behavioral health services and therapy: Family Behavioral Resources; Glade Run Lutheran Services; Wesley Family Services
Post-High School planning and Transition Support: Evolve Coaching; Office of Vocational Rehabilitation
Tutoring: Children's Dyslexia Center; Reading with Results (West Chester); Total Learning Centers
**This information will be regularly updated and is not wholly exhaustive. The information is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice.**