Letters from various districts and SELPAs are being generated which are generic, meaning not specifically addressed to each Parent, with the intent of misleading Parents into believing that the District is not responsible for providing the services that are listed in their child’s IEP.
The law has NOT changed and Districts are still required to meet your child’s special education needs.
Many of my clients have been members of a regional center when they were young but once they started school Parents have allowed their eligibility to lapse. Also, Regional Centers represent to Parents that services are provided from the local school district once the child turns 3 years of age. It’s true that the regional centers don’t provide much support for a school age person, maybe just behavior support, social skills and respite. But future thinking Parents have to understand that once a student graduates high school the regional center system can be very helpful in providing transition and adult services.
The reason not to remove your child from the Regional Centers’ system is that it is sometimes very hard to get back in. If your child has received intensive services for their entire school lives they may present as fairly capable young adults. This is great news but they are still in need of wonderful regional center resources. Under the Lanterman Act even if your child was eligible at a young age to re-qualify they must have a “substantial disability” which results in major impairment of cognitive and/or social functioning. This impairment includes significant functional limitations in three or more areas of major life activity. This includes receptive and expressive language, learning, self-care, mobility, self-direction, capacity for independent living, and economic self-sufficiency. This is often a difficult hurdle for our higher functioning children and regional centers are working to prevent these young adults from re-qualifying.
It doesn’t cost Regional Centers anything to determine that your child isn’t eligible. But it costs Parents a lot money and time to fight this determination. The system is not geared to favor Parents or young adults. Hearings are decided by Administrative Law Judges (ALJ) who are employees of the Office of Administrative Hearings, a state agency. The presumption that the ALJ begins the hearing with is that the Regional Centers employees are the experts so their determination of eligibility carries greater weight and the burden is on the Parent to show otherwise.
The takeaway from this is to make sure you get your child assessed and made eligible one of the state Regional Centers at the earliest age possible and definitely under the age of 18 years. You may not take advantage of the limited services offered or available during their school years but check out what is available at every stage of their life. You may never know what your child/adult may need.
Other questions you have may be answered here on our FAQ. All other resources can be found here. If you have any further questions you may contact us.
A2Z Educational Advocates represents disabled children under-served by their school districts.
By Renee Flannery
Daily Journal Staff Writer
PACIFIC PALISADES — Jane DuBovy spent 25 years practicing bankruptcy law before making a switch to educational advocacy.
“Always one step ahead of the curve,” DuBovy said, characterizing her irregular career moves. She received her master’s degree in clinical psychology from Pepperdine University before earning her law degree from the school in 1981.
She began her law career by typing out a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing for a family member. She said it was an awkward beginning but after that first filing, she went on to specialize in Chapter 7, 11 and 13 bankruptcy. At the start, “I still had to hire law clerks from Pepperdine because I didn’t know what … I was doing,” she said.
She successfully ran her practice for 20 years when in 1997, DuBovy learned her son was diagnosed with autism.
“When I got the diagnosis of my son … it was so scary to me,” DuBovy said. Read more
I was nervous before my interview. Up until this point, my interactions with people with autism have been among either children in a treatment setting or the speakers in an academic setting. When Casey Reilly first walks up, one of the first things he says is “I’m sarcastic and I have a weird cynical-esque view of Autism.” Then the interview began. Instead of an interview, it felt like I was just talking to a person, who happened to have Autism, about his life. I often times forgot about the questions I had meticulously prepared a day previously. Instead I just listened to what he had to say and became extremely interested in his life as whole – the aspects of his life directly affected by Autism, indirectly affected or not all. In the middle of the conversation I asked him how he identified (as an Autistic person, a person with Autism, on the spectrum, etc.), because we had discussed it in class and I was curious. His answer surprised me because it’s not a perspective that we’ve been exposed to in class or seen in the literature; he said he identified himself as simply a person. Most of what’s written about Autism is by people who are self-advocates or are very expressive and passionate about their diagnosis. In other words, they consider Autism a salient part of their identity. However, there isn’t much writing about those who have Autism, it’s a part of their lives, but the Autism doesn’t necessarily define who they are. Casey was able to give me insight into this perspective. He admits that Autism has influenced who he is and his interests, but it doesn’t define him. Read more