During the summer months, parents have an opportunity to review some things to get ready for the next academic year. This is especially true for parents of a child who learns and thinks differently. Whether your child is attending summer school or taking a mental health break over the summer, there are things that you can do to ensure that your child’s IEP, 504 Plan, or your child’s need for an evaluation are ready to go.
To help us understand this topic and our rights, powerhouses Vickie Brett and Amanda Selogie join the podcast today. Vickie and Amanda are both attorneys and founders of the Inclusive Education Project, which includes support groups, an IEP Learning Center, and a podcast. Ultimately, they are committed to strengthening and empowering clients who come to them beaten and broken down by their experience in the education system.
[2:34] – Right now in the summer, Vickie and Amanda are feeling the need to recharge.
[4:01] – There is a collective trauma as a result of the pandemic that we continue to be impacted by.
[6:37] – Schools don’t know if gaps in learning are due to Covid or if there are underlying issues that a student needs support for.
[8:36] – The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act does not look at a student as compared to their peers. It looks at their needs and circumstances.
[10:11] – If their experience is impacting them in the educational environment, a student may be eligible for an IEP.
[12:52] – The majority of people working at schools do not have legal knowledge.
[14:13] – If there is a suspicion of a disability, an assessment must be done, even if they don’t believe they’ll qualify.
[15:53] – Include several people in an email when requesting assessments or IEP evaluations.
[17:44] – If requested over the summer, the time frame begins on the first day of school. In California, schools have 15 days to complete an assessment.
[19:41] – At the beginning of Covid-19 lockdowns, many parents experienced seeing their child learn for the first time.
[21:14] – What do you get with an IEP that you don’t get with a 504?
[22:39] – Even if your child does not qualify for an IEP, the information gathered from the evaluation is valuable.
[24:00] – You should not be getting pushback regarding an assessment.
[27:07] – It is important to know that you can request an IEP meeting at any time. Vickie and Amanda share when to request one.
[29:14] – Sending an email to all teachers is important to keep in contact about their IEP.
[31:47] – IEP goals should be written concisely. Take a look at those goals and see what you can work on over the summer as well to see what they’re able to do.
[33:47] – Take every opportunity to ask questions.
[35:08] – It is completely okay, however, to take the summer off for mental health breaks.
[36:41] – Another valuable tip is to bring a friend to an IEP meeting to take notes.
[38:14] – When should you reach out for legal help?
[40:33] – Each school year brings increased academic demands. Bring concerns up to the school and request an IEP meeting.
[41:57] – If you send an email over the summer, be aware that administrators may not prioritize this until the school year starts.
About Our Guests:
Vickie Brett was born and raised in Southern California and through the Inclusive Education Project she focuses on advocating and educating families about their legal rights. Vickie is committed to strengthening her clients who come to her disheartened and beaten down by the current education system. Because Vickie is bilingual, she represents and empowers many monolingual Spanish-speaking families. She is a dedicated pro-bono attorney for the Superior Court of Los Angeles’s Juvenile and Dependency 317(e) Panel and, in the past, was a supervising attorney for the UCI Law School's Special Education Law Project.
Amanda Selogie received a bachelor’s degree in Child and Adolescent Development, specializing in Education from California State University, Northridge and a Juris Doctorate from Whittier Law School where she served as a Fellow in the prestigious Center for Children's Rights Fellowship Program and served in the school's pro-bono Special Education Legal Clinic.
Amanda immersed herself in the world of civil rights and educational advocacy through her work in education, empowerment, and advocacy with the Inclusive Education project, supporting inclusion in early education through her appointment to the Orange County Child Care and Development Planning Council and their Inclusion Collaborative Committee, previous work serving as a supervising attorney for UCI Law School’s Education Rights Pro-bono project and coaching of AYSO’s VIP (Very Important Player) program coaching players living with disabilities and creating an inclusive soccer program.
Connect with Vickie and Amanda:
Links and Related Resources:
- Episode 32: Advocating for Children with Special Needs with Heather Zakson
- Episode 2: Demystifying the Assessment Process
- What is a Comprehensive Evaluation and How Can It Help Support My Child’s Learning?
- How to Initiate a Special Education Assessment
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The Diverse Thinking Different Learning podcast is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical or legal advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Additionally, the views and opinions expressed by the host and guests are not considered treatment and do not necessarily reflect those of ChildNEXUS, Inc or the host, Dr. Karen Wilson.