"Bound By Law"

July 31, 2020

Quite often  (even in these Covid times) I  hear misinformation and misunderstanding from professionals and parents alike regarding children’s issues and the school’s response.

Maybe it’s my advancing years, but I find my crankiness meter rising as I hear the misinformation passed along.  Much of my professional mission (both with parents live and through the blogs and books) is to try and dispel these notions.

There may be a tipping point, though, where I am pushed over the edge.

Or as the Beatles said in one of my favorite songs, “It’s all too much for me to take.”

As an example, a mom recently insisted that the school was “bound by law” to accept my recommendations and findings regarding her 12 year old daughter  who clearly had  a variety of “issues.”

Sometimes in this work I feel like some version of the Grim Reaper as I try to bring a dose of reality into the situation. Recognizing that I am not a special education attorney, I respectfully told the mom, “No, they are not. They are not bound by law to accept my findings.”

As an  outside professional evaluating children, it is my job to evaluate the child, determine what is going on (from my perspective) and guide parents in what I call, “next step thinking.”

That is, they need to be informed what they should do next based on the findings.

While there are some relatively objective tests given to the child within the assessment, much of what is concluded is based on an interpretation of the test findings.  In other words a professional such as myself is offering a professional opinion,  with the operative word being “opinion.”

This opinion isn’t always objective in a “yes-no,” “has it – doesn’t have it” determination.  There are many variables or shades of gray that go into the ultimate conclusions.

In other words, there is no blood test or x-ray to comment on any reading, attention, writing or emotional issues that are concerning with the child.  This is as true for dyslexia as it is for ADHD/ADD.

Ideally, schools should take the findings  of the outside assessment into consideration in terms of what they offering the child relative to accommodations and interventions, but that is different than being required to accept them.

There are plenty of questionable methods or treatments that are promoted through advertisements, television and other media that are not supported by any research or clinical experience.

If the school gets a report recommending such an approach, is the school required to follow it?

No.  They are not.

The only time (as I understand it) where the school is required to follow a recommendation is when there has been a due process, special education hearing.  If the hearing finds that the child is not receiving an appropriate education, then they are bound by law to follow the recommendations of the hearing and the outside professionals.

Takeaway Point

Schools should consider the findings of reputable outside professional evaluations, but they are not required or “bound by law” to follow them.


Copyright, 2020 www.shutdownlearner.com
Questions or topics email Dr. Selznick.  Not in the South Jersey area? For a free 15 Minute Consultation, contact Dr. Selznick: email – rselznick615@gmail.com

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