Do you have a disabled 17-year-old or 18-year-old receiving special education services? Were you told that your 17 or 18 year old with autism or learning disabilities will receive a certificate of attendance? Were you also told that your child will no longer be eligible for special education services if he receives a certificate of attendance? This article will discuss a new tactic some special education staff have been using to convince parents that their child is no longer eligible for special education. The tactic is certificates of participation and will be discussed.
Several months ago I heard from a parent in Pennsylvania who had used this tactic on her. He contacted me and asked me what I thought about this issue.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) states the following: The obligation to make available to all children with disabilities adequate free public education (FAPE) does not apply to the following: Children with disabilities who have graduated high school with a regular high school diploma.
The truth is, a certificate of attendance doesn’t make a child ineligible for special education services. IDEA also states that children with disabilities have the right to be educated from the age of 3 to 21. Until your child accepts a formal education diploma, you may be eligible for special education services.
Another thing parents need to keep in mind is the importance of functional skills and academic skills. When IDEA was reauthorized in 2004, Congress added a section on functional skills. A child’s IEP must now include current levels of academic achievement and functional performance. Make sure your school district is testing your child in the area of functional performance.
For children over the age of 13, I recommend the Independent Behavior Scale. It is performed by the parent survey, which means that the parent answers questions about what he can and cannot do with his child. This scale covers: activities of daily living, communication, functional skills, job skills, etc. Impressive measure of a young person’s functional ability.
Also the aim of IDEA is: to prepare children with disabilities for higher education, employment and an independent life. If a 17- or 18-year-old child isn’t ready for post-school learning, a job or independent living, they may need additional years of education. Parents often overlook functional skills when supporting their children’s education.
If your school district tries to tell you that a certificate of attendance ends your child’s right to additional special education services, consider filing a complaint with your state board of education. In my experience, the more parents object to special education personnel who are not truthful, the less they try to get away with it. Don’t let your child’s life be ruined by the deceptions of some special education staff. Good luck, keep fighting!