By Andrew M.I. Lee
You have the right to help shape your child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP). Find out what this means and what the law allows you to do.
Andrew M.I. Lee, J.D., is an editor and former attorney who strives to help people understand complex legal, education and parenting issues.
Bob Cunningham, M.A., Ed.M.
Feb 10, 2014
Feb 10, 2014
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My child has attended a private catholic school since kindergarten. While in preschool we received help from occupational and speech therapist through our school district, however he had "graduated" from these programs. When he started kindergarten we thought it would be in his best interest to go to a private school, less than 20 kids per class. In 2nd grade he was diagnosed with severe ADD, dysgraphia, and a reading disability. After years and years of barreling, we were finally told in 6th grade that private schools CANNOT provide IEPs. We settled for a 504 plan, but my now 8th grader will be starting in a public high school in another state and I fear I may have hurt him by not making sure he had an IEP. Is it normal for private schools to refuse IEPs?
Dr Bucy, You clearly have had your child's bests interests in mind throughout his schooling– from placing him in a small class, to getting him diagnosed in the 2nd grade, and getting him a 504 plan. If he has received supports for his diagnoses at his private school, then you have not disadvantaged him in any way. To answer another part of your question: It is true that private schools do not create IEP's; instead they typically provide a service learning plan (or something similar). You can read more about evaluations and private schools here (www.understood.org/.../evaluating-kids-who-attend-private-schools-who-pays-the-bill). However, as that article also states, "Just because your child is enrolled in private school doesn’t mean he can’t get evaluated for special education." Therefore, you can get your son evaluated through the board of education (typically in your home district). In the new state, should your son go to a public school, you can get him evaluated directly at that school (which will hopefully generate an IEP).
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