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Thursday, Jun. 29th 2017

Accommodations for K-12 Students with Disabilities

The challenge of obtaining meaningful accommodation for K-12 students with disabilities in school continues to be difficult for many families. The provision of accommodations is of particular importance in helping to ensure K-12 students with disabilities graduate. Without proper accommodations, students with disabilities have trouble meeting graduation requirements. The current challenge is in giving K-12 students with disabilities greater access to educational curriculum. According to assessment systems, many states’ accommodations are unsatisfactory, with many failing to achieve minimal levels of compliance. The relationship between students’ academic experiences and the formulation of post-school transition plans that address how K-12 students with disabilities will access post-secondary education, employment, and community living opportunities, has continued to raise concern.

Large numbers of K-12 students with disabilities are not faring well on assessments. Several factors beyond academic achievement affect their performance, including accurate identification of the disability, provision of needed accommodations, and educational support that makes learning possible regardless of disability-related factors. Although behavioral disabilities may present a risk factor to the graduation goal, a growing concern is with students with a combined deficit. K-12 students with disabilities that also have ethnicity and family income issues are more likely to drop out of school. State and local special education agencies are not meeting standards of accountability, in the context of standards-based reform (Thurlow, Sinclair, & Johnson, 2002). They are falling short of providing the incentives and methods needed to demonstrate dropout prevention and intervention strategies for high-risk groups of K-12 students with disabilities, minority students, and students living in poverty.Cohen-Law-Firm-K-12-Students-with-Disabilities

Probably the largest challenge to K-12 students with disabilities and their families is preparing for post-school life. An area of major non-compliance is with the Individualized Education Program (IEP) process, which requires that K-12 students with disabilities participate in a “core education” planned curriculum. This curriculum is suppose to provide students with basic (such as: dressing oneself, going to the bathroom alone, or tying one’s shoes) and advanced life skills (such as: walking to school unattended, work-based learning, and personal development/self-esteem building, and involvement in extracurricular activities). Support from their school, family, and the adult service system is essential to accomplishing their goals. 

Other challenges that inhibit some families and K-12 students with disabilities is the school’s inability to provide enough aides to assist students with disabilities. Not all disabilities are the same and some required aides with specific skills and training. If there are two K-12 students with disabilities, the school may need more than usual level of student aide; however, often a school will assign assistance to multiple teachers and, in some cases, to other students. In instances such as this, parents are often compelled to rely on outside sources, such as advocacy groups or a student’s rights attorney, to ensure accommodations for their K-12 student with disabilities are being provided.

Mr. Cohen is an attorney with experience in Kansas and Missouri in matters concerning IEP/504 matters, school district appeals and court appeals. For a no cost, no obligation consultation by email or phone: cac@studentrightslawyers.com or 785.979.7361

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