Do you have a 17 or 18 year old with a disability receiving special education services? Have you been told that your 17 or 18 year old with autism or a learning disability, will be given a certificate of attendance? Have you also been told that your child will no longer be eligible for special education services, if they receive a certificate of attendance? This article will discuss a new tactic by some special education personnel to convince parents that their child is no longer eligible for special education. The tactic is certificates of attendance and will be discussed.
Several months ago I heard from a parent in Pennsylvania that had this tactic used on her. She 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 a free appropriate public education (FAPE) available to all children with disabilities does not apply with respect to the following: Children with disabilities who have graduated from high school with a regular high school diploma.
The truth is that a Certificate of Attendance does not 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 years to 21 years. As long as the child does not accept a regular education diploma, they are eligible to receive special education services.
Another thing that parents must keep in mind is the importance of functional skills as well as academic skills. When IDEA was reauthorized in 2004 Congress added a section about functional skills. A child’s IEP must now include present levels of academic achievement and functional performance. Make sure that your school district is testing your child in the area of functional performance.
For children over 13 years of age I recommend the Scale of Independent Behavior. It is performed by parent survey, which means that the parent answers questions about what their child can do and cannot do. This scale covers: activities of daily living, communication, functional skills, job skills etc. Awesome measure of a young persons functional ability.
Also the purpose of IDEA is to: prepare children with disabilities for further education, employment, and independent living. If a child who is 17 or 18 years old and is not ready for post school learning, a job, or independent living they may need additional years of education. Parents often overlook functional skills when advocating for their child’s education.
If your school district tries to tell you that a Certificate of Attendance ends your child’s right to further special education services, consider filing a complaint with your state board of education. In my experience the more parents stand up to special education personnel who are not truthful the less they try and get away with. Do not let your child’s life be ruined by deceptions from some special education personnel. Good Luck-keep up the fight!