Special education families urged to prepare for back to school changes

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Posted at 7:20 AM, Jul 30, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-30 08:20:37-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Going back to school will be a challenge for many families this year and teachers and staff with Metro Nashville Public Schools have been working to modify Individualized Education Plans for students who need some extra help.

Administrators know this year could be a struggle. However, they are going to offer the same assistance to students as they have in the past. Like everything else, it will just look different this year.

The Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee is also urging parents of students with special needs to make sure they have the services they need to be successful. This includes asking the district to repay any previous payments for out-of-pocket services.

“I'm not going to say it's going to be easy… they're not going to immediately write you a check. And that's something you may need to call legal aid for assistance with,” said Rachel Moses, an attorney with the Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee. “But you have a right. If you've paid out of pocket for educational services or related services that normally the schools would've provided, you should request a reimbursement for those.”

They know it’s a lot for parents, but it’s important for them to work with teachers to find what works for the student. If you're concerned about your child's educational rights, there are things you can do right now:

  • Request an IEP meeting ahead of the first day of school. This will eliminate confusion for the student.
  • After a long break, parents may be concerned their child has regressed. Parents, take note of things you find alarming to present it to the teacher.
  • If it’s too risky for your child to go back to school, request at-home services.

MNPS exceptional education leaders say after September 9, they hope to involve more in-person learning sessions to continue to help those with special needs.