IEPs, 504s: How do you get from your school what your child needs?

We had a request to discuss IEPs (Individualized Education Progam) and 504s and how you can get your school to support what your child needs instead of fighting you every step of the way.

Sadly, I think often schools do NOT provide the services that special needs kids require. I would hope the resistance to providing services stems from financial and staffing constraints and not negligence. But either way it’s illegal.

Often I think principals just don’t know all the ins and outs of federal and state laws that regulate the support to which these children are entitled.

This year I have met several ladies involved in advocacy for special needs kids, and I coincidentally attended last week a seminar about writing IEPs by some education advocates.

Education advocates are people that know the special education system. For a fee, they will review your case, help you figure out what testing you need and then can even come into your IEP meeting with you to fight for what your child needs. They know all the ins and outs and what the schools MUST provide and what’s illegal for them to do.

So how much would this type of help cost you?

Well the two advocates that spoke said it was about $500 to review a file and take on a case (almost like a retaining fee for a lawyer). For that fee you get all the guidance and counseling you need and follow up for it sounded like several years. They could tell you what you need to do and what you should be asking the school for.

If you wanted them to come to the meeting, it was $150 an hour plus transportation costs.

There are federal laws about how IEP’s and 504s are handled but states can also have laws that affect them so they are very complicated.

I wanted to share a few of the tips that the ladies gave in the seminar. These are from my notes. Keep in mind they might be different for your state.

1.  You can request that the school evaluate your child in all areas of suspected disability each year. You can, and they advised that you should, also request an independent evaluation, which is paid for by your school district. You are not required to say why you want this. Sadly, they believe that the schools are often biased in what they will identify as needing help based on what they want to provide. That is why you need the independent evaluation.

2. If you’ve asked the school to evaluate and they said they didn’t think there was cause that is illegal, they said. They said that is predetermination and they can’t do that.

3. If you put it in writing and say that “I am asking for an evaluation in all suspected disabilities and I give permission and consent” then they legally only have 60 days to get it done.  (I think that was the federal rule.)

4. The goals set need to be measurable and clear. They need to be goals where you can have data. There needs to be a baseline for where the child begins.

5. I believe she said they are required to send quarterly progress reports. When they send home those progress reports saying “42 percent” complete or improved, you need to ask for data to support that number. They are supposed to keep data to show that. If they are not keeping data, that is illegal.

6. In the IEP, the parent input part is where you write what you see and are concerned about. If it is written, then they have to address it.

7.Everything needs to be in writing. If it’s not in writing then it wasn’t said. They said it is good for parents to write up their own goals, the accommodations they are looking for and after a summary of the meeting to be entered into the IEP. This way your voice is recorded in the official document and can lead the way you want the school to go.

8. When you sign the IEP, always sign “Name, disagree in part”

You don’t have to say why you disagree but they say this gives you protection that you can go back later and fight things in the IEP after you see how things are working out.

9. Reasonable notice is 10 days for a meeting. They have to give you a choice in time and day.

10. You can bring anyone in you want to support you in  the meeting. But they do not recommend bringing the child. They think it’s up to the parents to hash it out and then present the finished product to the child.

11. You should request all the documents from your child’s file ahead of time and they have to provide that. You shouldn’t walk into meetings unprepared.

12. Also, when you meet to hash out the IEP don’t sign it that day. Tell them you want to get a copy of what was written (may not be that day) and thing about and you’ll meet again to sign it.

13. If there is therapy or treatment (like OT) that they don’t agree to do tell them you want that written into the IEP saying they refuse to provide it. The ladies mentioned that you might be able to get reimbursed from the government for your private OT or services if it’s written in that the school refused to provide it.

14. Watch out for cookie-cutter IEPs. The IEPs literally are written with drop-down menus and that’s not what it’s supposed to be. It’s supposed to be an individual plan!

One dad at the meeting who had four kids with special needs said he thinks parents should go into the IEP meeting open-minded, but just be educated.

There is so much inside baseball with IEPs and so many ways your child can be screwed that I think if you can afford the education advocates, they are a good idea.

Tell us what tips and tricks you have learned from dealing with IEPs and your school. Is your school looking out for your child’s best interest or trying to provide barely the minimum that they need? Tell us how you have been able to get the school to provide what they are legally required to and what your child needs?

80 comments Add your comment


June 21st, 2012
4:12 am

My son is 15, and I have had nothing but the best of IEP experiences at Eastvalley, Dickerson, and now Walton. My best advice is to approach your child’s education as a team effort based on the expectation that everyone on that team has as his/her highest goal the success of the student(s). I believe a cooperative attitude which conveys my respect for their skills, training and effort goes a long way toward a satisfactory experience for everyone.

My second recommendation is to keep regular contact with your child’s SPED teachers and especially the case manager. Make sure to let them know when something is working well; don’t just concentrate on the bad stuff. Celebrate the good things, the successes, and let the team know that good things are happening.

Just my two cents, but tomorrow is payday, so I may weigh in with more then ;-)

Fed Up

June 21st, 2012
7:28 am

Why is it not illegal for schools who do not provide for “gifted” kids? They force enrollment by age (no grade skipping) and then make them sit there all day. Talk about cookie cutter IEPs.


June 21st, 2012
7:41 am

Most students with IEPs do not have severe disabilities. For many, the only thing you can do for them is to give them the opportunity to test in small groups or give them extended time on tests. The kids who need self contained classes are already with the SPED teachers. In my experience, an IEP does not contain instructions on how to teach the child. I’ve asked for strategies to help the kids from the SPED people, but no one ever has any advice. I’ve gotten multiple IEPs that say nothing more than “Student will bring book to class 85% of the time” and the student is LD. How am I supposed to differentiate for that LD, nevermind how do I provide data that he brings his book to class 85% of the time?


June 21st, 2012
8:11 am

Fed Up: you hit the nail ON THE HEAD. No offense, but I am sick and tired of the enormous amount of time, money, and resources sent to “special needs” kids. Meanwhile, my gifted son’s class had to hold a fundraiser to get resources. Why isn’t it illegal when gifted kids get left behind?? Huh???


June 21st, 2012
8:17 am

A few yeas ago, I was in a school with Kinders and we were singing, jumping and wiggling ( as usual). I heard some resistance and eventually screaming and fighting in the back. I paused, as the children were turning towards the source of the noise. A student was yelling at the parapro and physically pushing her away. She was forcing him to clap, stomp and spin by manipulating his limbs. WHAT? I calmly asked her to step out with the visibly upset child to let him relax and regroup. She argued with me. It was not a pretty sight. She loudly informed me that the student’s IEP said that he was to participate in class.

1. I do not pretend to know what his IEP stated
2. Participate is a broad term: being in the room and smiling, nodding, listening seems o.k. to me.
3. Having limbs physically forced would not be well received by any child ( to me).

If the IEP said the child should to eat lunch in the cafeteria, would the child be forced to eat everything on the counter or would they expect him to eat ***something*** during lunch? I checked in with someone who knows more than me and it was agreed that this parapro did not know what she was doing. I am no longer invited to that school. I had been going for 5-6 years. Seems like a shame but I did not think the child should be forced ( to do what was not mandatory) while he kicked and screamed loudly at the teacher. The other children watched him and everything was falling apart.

What course of action should have been taken…anyone?

Once Again

June 21st, 2012
8:20 am

Fed Up & mom2alex&max – You know the schools are a failure and yet you continue to send your children to them. Why are you blaming the schools, when clearly it is YOUR responsibility to make sure they get a good education? If you don’t like the system, work to get rid of it as it cannot be changed or improved upon.


June 21st, 2012
8:36 am

Once Again: what an interesting assumption. What makes you think I don’t?

And I don’t have that many choices. I make sacrifices to be able to live in an area that has some of the best schools in GA, which is not saying much. But I cannot afford private school, and home schooling is not a good option for our family. I supplement my sons’ education as best I can at home (enrichment after school programs, extra projects, field trips, etc.)


June 21st, 2012
8:50 am

OK why can’t and IEP be in place for gifted?

BTW when it get time for MS that whole gifted thing starts to sort itself out. They can be in more advanced classes, things are less homogonized. It really depends on CRCT, grades, and the IBST scores.


June 21st, 2012
8:56 am

FCM: I heard that too. I’ll find out in the fall, My oldest is starting 6th grade and he is slated to get the advanced classes. I am hoping they will provide a better challenge.

mystery poster

June 21st, 2012
9:02 am

My son is LD in math. His IEP said that his math classes were supposed to be team taught. His senior year, he took (non AP) statistics. They told me, “we don’t offer that class team-taught.”

I told my son that if he thought he benefited from a second teacher, that I would fight for it. Since it was in his IEP, they legally could not tell me it wasn’t available. I said I would leave the decision up to him (by that age, students should have a say in their own education). He said he was fine without a team-teacher but I monitored very closely and was ready to step in if necessary.

mystery poster

June 21st, 2012
9:07 am

IMHO, you are absolutely correct in sending your students to the best public schools available and supplementing with enrichment programs.


June 21st, 2012
9:17 am

@mystery….respectfully…if 50% of HS classes had students whose IEP required 2 teachers in the class, are there enough tax dollars to pay for that? Many schools are cutting parapros in Kinder as there simply is no money. We have neighbors whose college graduate children do not have jobs yet. I am sure they would jump at a team teaching job ( as this is a great way to learn teaching styles) but I am not sure how this could be funded. Any comments are appreciated.

I felt bad fighting our tax appraisal as I know this effects the local schools. I also knew that the amount was higher than anything that has recently sold in our neighborhood. We did get it lowered.

mystery poster

June 21st, 2012
9:25 am

That is one of the reasons that I chose not to fight for it. However, if he needed it I would have.


June 21st, 2012
9:43 am

We didn’t have any problems with our son’s 504 in middle and high school. It wasn’t even in writing in elementary, it was just verbal, and it was fine.


June 21st, 2012
9:54 am

Sigh. I believe the intended topic here was ” IEPs (Individualized Education Progam) and 504s and how you can get your school to support what your child needs instead of fighting you every step of the way.” It has devolved quickly into a competition between gifted and IEP/504 kids. I have no doubt that there are legitimate funding issues dealing with various groups. I do know that my daughter’s TAG classes have been stimulating through elementary and middle school. I also know that we have had to fight for teachers to treat our boys with respect and understanding due to their Learning Differences and comply with the accomodations in their IEP/504 (no additional “services”), and they are just as gifted as our oldest. Gifted and IEP/504 are not mutually exclusive, btw.

@FCM: “OK why can’t and IEP be in place for gifted?” This is a frustration for us as well. An IEP/504 should be used to set up accomodations that a child with Learning Differences needs to facilitate their performance to the best of their academic abilities. I’ve been told that unless a child is FAILING they are not entitled to a 504. Untrue!


June 21st, 2012
10:00 am

Schools should offer three basic levels of instruction. They should offer a remedial, average and advanced track. An equal amount of tax dollars should be spent on all three levels.

I’ve never understood why people think their children are more deserving of large amounts of tax dollars while others are not.

If your child needs extra services outside of the norm (i.e. severely disabled, ESOL, or extremely gifted), you should be required to provide it at your own expense.

Public School Teacher

June 21st, 2012
10:44 am

Loganville resident- if all kids who required special services in school were required to pay for those services (ESOL, Sp.Ed., etc.), our country would be in a tremendous state of chaos. Poor kids would be drop outs and then become dependent on the state for food stamps, welfare, etc. Immigrants come here to make a better life for their families. Most can barely afford food and rent. If they had to pay or ESOL, their children would never learn to speak English. This foolishness would negatively impact everyone.


June 21st, 2012
11:08 am

Longaville res: I am, in fact, providing extras at my own expense since the public school is not. However, it doesn’t seem fair that at my school special needs children get everything they could possibly want while the advanced classes are forced to hold fundraisers for their needs. Why should that be? Resources are very limited and damn right I will fight what I need/want.
If the school expects me to donate untold amounts of money, time, and talent as an “involved parent”, then I will expect a return on my investment in the form of the best education available for MY kid. After all, I only get one chance to get that right, don’t I?


June 21st, 2012
11:15 am

As a father of a dyslexic daughter who has an IEP along with a 119 IQ, I can tell you that a bright kid is most certainly an IEP candidate. The school tried to blow me off suggesting their were so many children who truly needed resources more than my daughter. Then they had the nerve to suggest grade retention. After hiring a PHD to do a full evaluation and implement the IEP she is a rising true fifth grader, who is scoring in the top 25 to 20% nationally. We appealed to have her placed in the gifted programs and the district shot it down. One comment was no resource kids needs to be in my class. That will be addressed next year by pulling all resource and placing her in the gifted group with supplemental afternoon tutoring to skirt this mess.


June 21st, 2012
11:17 am

@mystery poster: “That is one of the reasons that I chose not to fight for it. However, if he needed it I would have.” So, in order for your son to succeed in ONE math class, you would have fought to have another teacher brought in at a cost of $30-40,000+, in a time when teachers are being furloughed and laid off left and right because the schools’ funding is so bizarre due to reduced tax revenues?

Sorry, I just don’t see the economics of this. Get him a tutor.

God, I wouldn’t be a teacher in a public school now for love nor money, having dozens and dozens of parents waving IEP’s at me, having to individualize instruction for almost every kid, having parents sit back and watch you like a hawk to make sure you are teaching their child according to some set of “special instructions,” ready to pounce if their little darling isn’t getting their full measure of special attention, regardless of the effect on the rest of the classroom and the sucking of up resources at the school at large.

People say they “can’t afford” private school, etc. And yet, basically, what is being provided is a “private school” atmosphere for a particular child, on everyone else’s dime. If you can’t afford a “private school” for your child, what makes you think the rest of us can?

Fed Up

June 21st, 2012
11:29 am

Once Again: My kids are home with me, albeit in the public charter Georgia Cyber Academy. My local schools leave me with no choice. The average ITBS scores (3rd, 5th, and 8th grade) are around 40-50 %ile. My kids score 95+ %ile. Add to that the mountain of disciplinary problems; what could the school possibly do for us?

And yet when I scrimp and save so I can afford to stay home and also pay for extra curriculars, I will no doubtedly be accused of being a rich snob who is too good for the masses. Ask my kids the last time they got clothes that didn’t come from Last Chance Thrift Store.

Fed Up

June 21st, 2012
11:34 am

If the schools are not willing to provide meaningful gifted programming, then they should let the kids skip a grade or two. Why do they have to lose? Nothing. But the gifted child who is performing below his abilities loses *plenty*


June 21st, 2012
11:44 am

I won’t state what I really think of some of the truly ignorant comments posted here by parents. Unless you have a child with a disability who requires an IEP or a 504c, then you are not advancing the topic at hand, as requested by TWG. However, you may be an eye-opener to the poor parent who was hoping for some advice from other helpful parents. My son with an IEP and I have had to deal with you and your churlish “gifted” children for years, and we have learned that supposed advanced intellectual abilities do not equate with emotional intelligence. Guess which one will help you more in the long run?


June 21st, 2012
12:14 pm

Aw man, I just lost all my typing. Not gonna do it again. Here’s a link of helpful information.

Be it known that I have nothing to do with this organization – just thought they did a good job with the seminar that my wife attended over a weekend.


June 21st, 2012
12:19 pm

I have one child who was deemed learning disabled in 3rd grade. I’m beginning to think it was good fortune that it was diagnosed while we still lived in NJ. Once the IEP was in place, we had no trouble having it implemented in both FL and GA. In fact, our HS here really went above and beyond my expectations in helping assure my son succeeded. They ever rewrote his IEP the month before graduation to ease him into a 504 plan for college. He continues to do well, as he is indeed very intelligent, but needs accommodations to process the information he takes in.

We had more trouble with the college accepting the 504 plan than we ever did with an IEP. Despite providing 9 years of documentation, we had to pay for an outside testing process that concluded with the exact same outcome.

A good friend has been certain her daughter has a LD. It was a real battle to convince the school she needed to be tested, in spite of failing CRCT scores and one retention. She was told time and time again that the money just wasn’t there to do the diagnostics. I urged her not to accept that answer, and finally, in 5th grade, the school agreed. Next year she will be in team taught classes in middle school.

We have no experience with elementary gifted programs in GA, but they were nothing to brag about in the other states we lived in either. I can however, confirm that, at least in some districts in NJ, gifted students had their own version of IEPs. The difference in instruction was very little until middle school.


June 21st, 2012
12:19 pm

flwrgrl: OH PLEASE.


June 21st, 2012
12:21 pm

Mattie: they are nothing to brag about here either. I know where the resources are really going. Per the law.


June 21st, 2012
12:49 pm

flwrgril: Amen! And it looks like your point continues to be proven.

Fed Up

June 21st, 2012
12:57 pm

Why is it “my responsibility” (in the words of Once Again) to make sure that my child gets educated, but it’s “society’s responsibility” to make sure special ed kids get educated?

Give me a voucher. Grant us a transfer. Let my kid skip ahead. Anything. Just let us go free.

Anonymous for this one

June 21st, 2012
12:59 pm

Let me state for the record that I am well aware of the fact that a student can be both gifted and have a learning disability, medical need for a 504 etc. I’m not talking special circumstances here, I’m talking in very general terms about the average gifted kid and the average learning/physically/emotionally/intellectually disabled kid.

It is disgusting that parents of gifted kids would rally for their children in the face of children who have disabilities. Everyone wants what is best for their own children, but this is the educational equivalent of taking the handicapped spot for a student who is capable of EXCELLING with no extra help!

If you are a parent who has kids who are of average or above average intelligence who never have to worry about attending IEP/504 meetings, societal prejudice about your child’s abilities or his/her academic and employment future with these differing abilities than give your child or children a hug and be glad they are the way they are. Don’t begrudge the HELP that a disabled student gets due to his/her disability.

What ever happened to walking a mile in someone else’s shoes?!?

I’m a teacher of both regular students and students with disabilities and I see far more kindnesses and understanding between my 9th and 10th graders in these situations than I do on this blog on today’s topic.

mystery poster

June 21st, 2012
1:04 pm

My son was labeled both as gifted and LD. Our district had no problems putting him in the gifted classes despite his disability. Keep pushing!!

mystery poster

June 21st, 2012
1:05 pm

Yes, I would have. It was the SCHOOL who wrote the IEP stating his classes were to be team taught. If they weren’t going to provide the service that they said he should have, then I absolutely would have fought it.


June 21st, 2012
1:07 pm

To Anonymous: do you think gifted children don’t get left behind? What do you think happens to a smarter than average kid who is bored TO DEATH in school? I have witnessed smart kids FAIL out of school because they just don’t see the point of doing the same drill fifty times in order to have someone else not “fall behind”. I have seen my own child CRY because he was so bored in school. I have personally sent him to school with middle school level textbooks so he has something to do when he is done with the mindless drill required of him by the public school system (I do NOT blame the teachers for this). Thank GOD and all the heavenly bodies that he had a BRILLIANT teacher for 5th grade that understood bright kids and challenged all the ones in her class beyond the required drills. But it took a lot more extra effort on her part.

I’m not begrudging “help”, I am simply asking why resources are not distributed equally. If a child is way more smart than average, doesn’t he./she have “special needs” too? Why should ALL that money and resources only go to the ones that need extra “help”?

Once Again

June 21st, 2012
1:08 pm

Fed Up – Let’s be clear…it is the responsiblity of EVERY parent of EVERY child to make sure their child receives a proper education. It should NOT be the responsibility of everyone else to insure that. To the extent that others wish to assist, great, but everyone first needs to take personal responsiblity for the choices they make and the situations that befall them.

Frankly I would suspect that far more people would be comfortable with assisting others with their educational needs if these children were ACTUALLY getting educated. That isn’t happening as well as it should for special needs, gifted, or even those near the middle of the bell curve.

I abhor the thought of a government run voucher system because it continues to maintain the government theft mechanism of funding, and to be sure, the involvement of government will ultimately bring all those schools that receive vouchers down to the poor level of the current government schools. I certainly have no problem taking money away from the current failed system. It is obvious that more money has not made things better. There is no reason to reward that failure with more money.

mystery poster

June 21st, 2012
1:14 pm

Similar experience for my son in college, they absolutely refused to accept the recommendations of his IEP. We ended up paying through the board of regents for an independent evaluation ($500). Even though it was expensive, it was much more thorough than any I went through with elementary/middle/high school. The psychologist had multiple visits with him, written questionnaires from both me and my husband, and a lengthy phone conversation with me where we discussed things that happened when he was young, how he processes information, and a lot of other things that I can’t remember.

Once Again

June 21st, 2012
1:18 pm

Anonymous for this one – You find it disgusting that parents of gifted children would rally for more money for their kids over kids with learning disabilities and special needs.

How about parents in general who rally for more money to be taken from individuals without any children in order to support their kids’ education?

What you are saying is that theft is ok, so long as its for your children, its even more ok if its for special needs kids. and its ok, but not as ok if its for gifted kids.

What would be the problem with everyone taking care of their own, everyone else voluntarily assiting as THEY see fit, contributions going to the deserving and to institutions that actually deliver a good service, and employing other market controls that would insure a far better outcome for all?

Oh, that’s right, you might have to pay more for your child’s education.


June 21st, 2012
1:32 pm

As the father of someone who has a learning disability (and an IEP) and is also in the gifted program, I can say that we’ve never had a problem getting the IEP or keeping in enforced. As MSHuiner said, my wife & I approached the situation with the idea that everyone at our son’s school had the same goal in mind: working together to get him the education he needed. All of his teachers thus far have been completely receptive to his needs and challenges and we consider ourselves very lucky that we’ve had a positive experience (I know it isn’t that way for a lot of families, especially ones whose children have more severe problems than my son and thus require more complex IEPs). I will say I’m nervous about transferring the IEP to middle school in a couple of years, but hopefully the middle school teachers / administrators will be as receptive as the elementary school.


June 21st, 2012
1:51 pm


Good Info-thanks for sharing. I wish I had been more familiar with these procedures a few years ago…..seems like talking to the teachers and administrators doesn’t mean anything, but maybe if I had put requests in writing, the school would have addressed some issues that I ended up addressing myself.

After my son struggled with reading for several years, and I had several meetings with his teachers, because I suspected dyslexia, they had their reading specialist observe him and I was told it was not dyslexia. I disagreed and paid $2000 to have him tested independently to find out that yes–he does have dyslexia. But because he was not failing, I was told he was not eligible for any accommodations (such as the extra time I wanted on test days and for in school assignments). Since I could afford to, I hired a private tutor to help with his reading and he is now caught up and reading on grade level and doing well so far in Middle School.

But what if I couldn’t have afforded the outside testing and private tutor? It seems like there shouldn’t be so many hoops to jump through to get proper testing and support when a child truly needs it.

mystery poster

June 21st, 2012
1:59 pm

They did not tell you the truth about modifications being tied to passing grades.


June 21st, 2012
2:07 pm

@mystery poster–yeah, I get that now……


June 21st, 2012
2:15 pm

I have both ends of the spectrum; one gifted, one not. We chose to move them out of public school and put them into private school. The issue we had was one of ‘labeling’ with the youngest one – the one that needs an IEP. It wasn’t just the school though. I harbor no allusions that he’s going to be a roboticist like my 8 year old, but he deserves to have a better chance than what his speech pathologist wrote in his IEP – because of his disability he will not he won’t do well later in life. Not word for word as I don’t have it here in front of me. First, that does NOT belong in an IEP, and second, WTH? Can we think positively here? Thankfully, the new SPED director recognized that and worked with the SP to remove it.

He’ll be attending private school (Kinder) next year with services from the Public school system. One of the things we learned at the seminar was that by law, the local district has to provide services (IEP related) as long as the child is in an accredited school. Nice. He may not make it in the private kinder, but I’m willing to give it a shot. Why not? He might surprise us.

The oldest has done wonderfully after leaving public to go to private. He’s being challenged. That’s all we asked for in the public school. We spoke to his teacher several times about the work she was giving him, but a) she didn’t believe us, b) realized it to late, and c) couldn’t really do anything about it because she didn’t have enough assistance in class. One of the posters here mentioned their child was bored? Oh man, I can SO relate to that.

Enough rambling from me…

Oh! The modifications tied to passing grades? Yeah, that’s a crock. Let’s wait until the kid absolutely fails before we do something to help them. I could go off on that with my youngest and what services he DIDN’T get because ‘we have to wait until his milestones’.


June 21st, 2012
2:43 pm

@Momtoktb ~ What I was told by my son’s OT is that in order to obtain a 504 the child must be evaluated my a professional and diagnosed with some sort of disorder. In order to obtain an IEP, the student MUST be behind or failing or have below average scoring on CRCT. You can have one without the other.

My son’s school sent me around in circles in regards to getting him evaluated so finally I had enough and took him to an outside professional. Now that he has his diagnosis, he will have a 504 in place for next year.

I agree with making sure that EVERYTHING you do is in writing. I would call the school and leave voicemails that were never returned, yet would get a call a couple of days after that to come pick my son up from school because they didn’t know what to do with him anymore. Once I started putting everything in writing, I got better responses. However, sometimes the principal never responded at all. You MUST be persistent.

If the teachers and administration just won’t budge and you don’t have the time to research what to do, an advocate is a good idea. I will tell you, upon my frustration with the school, I mentioned that maybe I should get an advocate and they began cooperating. Sometimes, you just have to see if they will call your bluff.

Also, as another poster mentioned, be as accommodating and available as you can be. Volunteer in the classroom, keep in contact with your child’s teacher on a regular basis to have updates on the child’s progress. Go to as many school functions as you can and mingle with the teacher’s and other parents so that you can get a feel for how everyone else is. If you show that you are involved and not just looking for “special” treatment, people will be more aped to help you and your child.

As a side note, and I mean this with the up-most respect to everyone here, but kids on 504/IEPs get discriminated against FREQUENTLY and therefore things have to be set in place so that these kids don’t get left behind. I am not saying that there shouldn’t be guidelines in place for gifted children, but in all honesty, I have never seen a gifted child be discriminate against, pushed to the side, left out, or sent home just because no one knew what to do with them. There is a difference there. If you child is gifted and doesn’t struggle…. be thankful, be VERY thankful!


June 21st, 2012
3:24 pm

Not trying to troll, but an honest question. What happens to kids with IEP’s and 504s when they graduate college and hit the workforce? I am aware the ADA covers some things but I can’t imagine an employer is going to do a special presentation or give extra time to complete a task to a LD employee.

non committal mind reader

June 21st, 2012
3:36 pm

I would hope the resistance to providing services stems from financial and staffing constraints and not negligence. But either way it’s illegal.

When a special needs kid takes as much as 100 times as much money to get through school as a standard kid, that breaks the school budget. If cost was all the same, I doubt there would be resistance to providing those services.

Its a tough spot. The kid needs, and is legally entitled, for the school system to spend as much money as necessary to educate the kid to the best of the kid’s ability. For a small school system, though, that burden falls on the taxpayers of a small town. I came out of a graduating class of 80. One severely autistic child in each of 12 grades could easily cost as much as all the other children in the school system… basically doubling property taxes and doubling the burden on an already financially poor community.

I’ve read nightmares of school systems spending MILLIONS of dollars for one child, essentially being forced to pay for full time care for 12 years for severely disabled students. Even then, the students never reach a point of self-sufficiency. Is that fair to the community or taxpayers?

If a child can be made a productive member of society, then it is worth it. If they can’t , then it is not. But communities have no choice.


June 21st, 2012
3:44 pm

@YellsBells&Smells ~ the whole point to having a 504 and/or IEP in place for a child in school is to adjust the learning atmosphere so that the child is able to learn and to eventually catch up to speed (those who don’t have debilitating disorders). However, you also should think about that fact that what kids learn in school, they don’t always use out in the field unless the become professionals (it was that way for me too in school). I personally was great at math, and currently work in accounting. However, I use a ten key calculator and do not have to rely on my “in mind” math skills to keep my job. The main thing is having the children be able to read, speak and write properly and to know basic math skills.

mystery poster

June 21st, 2012
4:00 pm

In my son’s case, his learning disability was present only in math. Now that he’s in college, he has chosen to major in English. Now that he’s beyond the required college algebra, his disability will not create any issues in his field of study or his chosen career field.

Atlanta Mom

June 21st, 2012
5:14 pm

” I have never seen a gifted child be discriminate against, pushed to the side, left out”
They are pushed to the side ALL THE TIME.
But my kids figured it out and worked the system. By the time they were in HS, they would fully particpate in class the first week of school. The second week they would bring a book to class and read it. The teachers were so glad that they were not answering all the questions, or asking questions far beyond the other students (and probably the teacher too), they got to do whatever they wanted, as long as they were quiet.

Atlanta Mom

June 21st, 2012
5:19 pm

Starting in first grade, my kids were sent to school with a book and instructions, finish your work and read your book, don’t bother anyone else. We supplemented, sent them to one academic camp in the summers, starting in middle schools.
Yes indeed, my children could have gotten a better academic education in a private school. But what they got instead, what an excellent education in life. They are all in college now, and they have all thanked me for send them those public schools.


June 21st, 2012
6:00 pm

@YellsBells&Smells Regarding “I can’t imagine an employer is going to do a special presentation or give extra time to complete a task to a LD employee.” There are actually quite a few employers, both small and large corporations, that work with various job programs and job coaches in the hiring of persons with various disabilities.

I also have a gifted child, but I homeschool. I do not begrudge the resources provided to those with other needs. It sounds like some of the other parents commenting who have gifted children, unfortunately, have not found the right “match” for their child in terms of the best school or learning environment. Having to send your child to school with other books to read due to boredom does not sound very stimulating. However, your kids are getting the benefit of a public education that goes way beyond what you actually pay in taxes. Only a portion of your property tax goes to public school and if you add up that amount over the course of 12 years, it adds up to far less than the cost of educating your children. If vouchers were provided, the amount would be only a small fraction of the cost of private schooling.


June 21st, 2012
6:04 pm

I’ve stayed off this topic, but I will say, where I work we rarely have demanding parents, like I have heard of in some places. Most of our IEP/504 parents are more the other way–very uninvolved, very hands-off. I spend some time trying to make sure their questions and concerns are answered.

We have been told we have “too many” sped kids, so for years it has been virtually impossible to get an IEP on an unserved student unless they move in with one in place. We have also been told there is no money for a BD class, and we just have to “make do.” This has resulted in kids not getting the services that would help them and their classmates, IMHO. We also have some sped teachers who act as a “consultant”, leaving the work to the classroom teacher (who has a full, needy class already.) And some of the teachers have less than regular habits about working with kids. Not sure how it is in other places. I just know that we can’t seem to get anyone through RTI to testing, and parent requests sometimes don’t seem to be honored. I have NEVER heard of the school system paying for a private evaluation–don’t know where that comes from.

On the plus side, we have some excellent, dedicated, overworked sped teachers who are amazing to watch!