With annual reviews coming up and children transitioning from preschool to school age there is no doubt that every one of us can compile our own exhaustive list of questions about how to deal with the Board of Education. The following are some of the questions that most frequently arise and some guidance on how to answer them. We hope weve covered your questions but if not feel free to call the TAFKID office at (718)998-7333 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What should I do if my child wakes up on the day of his/her scheduled evaluations feeling ill?
If your child is not feeling well it may have a negative effect on their evaluation and the evaluators will not be able to see an accurate picture of your childs abilities. You should call the CSE first thing in the morning and let them know that your child us under the weather and ask to reschedule. It is advisable that you obtain a note from your doctor stating that your child was ill on that day for your records just in case there is any problem.
Do I have a right to see my childs evaluations prior to the CSE review?
Yes. When all the evaluations are completed (they usually are by the time you receive notice of review), you may call or write the district to request a copy of your childs evaluations. If you need the evaluations immediately, we suggest calling the district and asking if you could come by and pick it up. Whether picking up evaluations or requesting them by mail, you must make this request in writing.
If I am unable to attend the CSE review meeting on the date it was scheduled, do I have a right to reschedule the meeting? Can I participate by phone?
If it is not possible for you to attend on the date scheduled, you may call the CSE and attempt to reschedule. It is not advisable to do this more than once because it may be perceived by the CSE as "parental delay". We recommend that you make an attempt to be present at your childs CSE review meeting. If that is not possible or if the meeting is about an issue that you and the CSE are in agreement on such as summer services you may participate in the meeting by phone.
If I disagree with the Board of Eds evaluations can I go out and get private evaluations?
Yes, a parent always has the right to have their child privately evaluated. If the CSE has conducted an evaluation and you find that it does not accurately represent your childs needs you may write a letter notifying the CSE that you disagree with their evaluation results and therefore you are having your child privately evaluated and are seeking to have the costs reimbursed by the Board of Ed. Always send all letters to the CSE certified or registered return receipt requested and keep a copy for your files. Or you may hand deliver your letter and have them give you a copy of it with their time and date stamp on it for your files. Save all canceled checks and receipts of money you have laid out for the evaluations. In order to attempt to seek reimbursement you will have to file for an impartial hearing.
My child has Down syndrome but B"H no health impairments. I would like to send my child to a mainstream Yeshiva. Can the CSE provide him/her with a shadow/1:1 para/consultant teacher?
No. At this point in time a child is not entitled to a shadow, pare or consultant teacher in a Yeshiva. However, if a child requires a health para or nurse for health related issues, they may be provided with these services in their Yeshiva.
Can my child receive services for CSE if he/she attends a private religious school? Can he/she receive services on the site of the religious school?
Yes. If your child has an IEP mandating services, your child is entitled to receive those services even if he attends a religious school. Courts have ruled it permissible to provide services on site at religious schools but have left it up to the discretion of the local CSEs. At this point in time most CSEs in New York City have not allowed it.
If my child attends a private school, can he/she receive door to door transportation?
Yes, if it is included as a recommendation on his/her IEP.
If my child is classified as bilingual, must the CSE place him/her in a bilingual program?
Yes, if an appropriate bilingual program exists. If there is no appropriate program, the CSE is permitted to place your child in a monolingual class with an alternate placement para who speaks your childs preferred language. If you are in such an alternate placement, the CSE must send you a Nickerson letter which entitles you to enroll your child in a school approved by the New York State Education Department for the education of children with disabling conditions.
If my child is recommended for bilingual services but a bilingual provider can't be found, can he/she receive service in English without changing his/her bilingual status?
Yes. File for an impartial hearing to request that the hearing office order that your child receives the services in English until a bilingual provider can be found.
If the school tells me that they cannot find a service provider for a therapy which my child is mandated to receive, how will my child receive his/her therapy?
If your child is not receiving related services mandated on his/her IEP, you should receive a Related Services Authorization (RSA) which will allow you to obtain the services through a private provider that you select at the expense of the Board of education. Additionally, you will be entitled to reimbursement for any transportation costs incurred. You should receive an RSA within approximately the first month of school. If you have not received your RSA, call the Office of Related and Contractual Services at (718)935-3580/1/2 and tell them that your child has not received his/her mandated services. If you dont get a response in a reasonable time, file for an impartial hearing.
Is there a rule that limits the amount of time my child can spend traveling on the school bus? What can I do if his/her ride is just too long?
There is no actual regulation on travel time. Generally, though, for children traveling within the borough, the travel time should not exceed 1 hour. Travel time between boroughs should not exceed 1 hour and 45 minutes. If your child has special medical concerns necessitating shortened travel time, you need to obtain a letter of explanation from your doctor and send it to the CSE.
How can I request that my child received services during the summer if his/her IEP does not say 12-month program?
Write a letter to the CSE stating that you feel that your child requires a 12-month school year in order to maintain his/her developmental levels and prevent regression. If you can obtain a letter of support from your childs classroom teacher, do so. The letter should preferable be sent before April if not earlier and this process must be repeated every year.
If there is a lapse in my childs services due to an error or delay on the part of the CSE, is my child entitled to compensatory services?
Yes. File for an impartial hearing to request that the hearing office order compensatory services. You will need to prove that the lapse was not due to parental delay.
This article first appeared in issue #8 of Down Syndrome Amongst Us