Using county curriculum and expected level of competency, examine the difference between the expected outcome and the actual outcomes attained by the student and their possible causes.
Look at former specialized education documents to determine if the student really has met the goals set forth.
Service Components of Guerrilla Advocacy™
Educational Benefit Review
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) reauthorization in 2004 does not specify the level of achievement constituting 'meaningful benefit' from education. This issue was argued in front of the Supreme Court in December, 2016. The educational benefit review's five steps can be used to determine if intervention has increased student access to, participation in, and progress in general education.
Review of Records
Gather all test results, school transcripts, progress reports, and Individualized Education Plans, Section 504 material, and behavior intervention plans as applicable.
Review test results to see if they are properly aligned, e.g. all tests are based on age, not one on age and another on grade.
Look for patterns such as different results for timed and untimed tests.
Examine testing vs. classroom performance.
Interpret results and present them in both text and graphics, as appropriate.
Suggest additional tests if needed to complete the picture.
Selecting Goal Areas
Select a maximum of five areas that are bottlenecks to student achievement. Neither a student or team of teachers can work on more than five areas at once. If a student meets once goal, the team can always generate another, either for a higher level of performance in that area or in a different area altogether.
In each area, set a general goal of where you'd like the student to be at the end of the IEP period.
Writing the IEP
Using all of the material produced in earlier steps, write an IEP with well-crafted goals and objectives, and related services required by the student. Tie them to county curricula, standards of achievement, educational needs and current levels of performance.
Packaging Educational Needs with the IEP
Using aspects of the educational benefit review, review of records, and diagnosing gaps that are specifically related to the goals set forth in the IEP, develop a statement of educational needs. This 'statement' is usually at least 15 - 20 pages long. Put this statement and the IEP into a binder and present to the Chair of the IEP meeting at least one week prior to the scheduled meeting.
The IEP Meeting
Attend the IEP meeting with an advocate and the security of knowing that it will be hard for anyone present to find fault with the proposed IEP.
If, at any point, you feel that the IEP is not being implemented, your child's output, school record and notes may be requested for examination prior to a new IEP meeting. A parent can call an IEP meeting whenever they feel one is necessary.
Mediation and Due Process
Despite everyone's best efforts, sometimes the school and parents can not agree on what is appropriate for the child. The parents may ask for mediation and a due process hearing. As a trained mediator, I am often discouraged by the mediation process. Maryland does not send mediators with any knowledge of education, much less special education. Nor do the individuals seem skilled in the art of mediation. Therefore, it is wise to try to reach agreement with the school without mediation or due process.
A due process hearing takes place before an administrative law judge. Going to due process requires hiring a special education lawyer. Unless the school was involved in a blatant disregard of procedural requirements, there is but a small chance of prevailing in due process.
Other means of contesting a school decision is to file a complaint with your state's Department of Education or, in rare cases, with the federal Department of Education. Complaints are useful for a narrow set of circumstances and must be written in a specific way and submitted with appropriate documentation
Work with parents to aid their understanding of a diagnosis and it's implications. Help identify current bottlenecks to advancement. Develop a treatment plan. Refer to specialists. Set in place a structure at home. Provide a script for talking to close friends and relatives.
Please see below
High School, Career, and College Coaching
Work with students to develop a personalized tool kit of strategies to use when faced with novel situations in new environments. Help develop self-advocacy skills if they are not already present.