Parent Advocacy Often Starts with the Right Parent Coach
In many states, counties and schools, Response to Intervention is being used to delay or deny an evaluation.
I was in Washington a couple of years ago at a meeting with Melody Musgrove, the Director of the Office Special Education Programs in Washington. When I shared my frustration, Melody Musgrove asked, “Don’t you have a copy of my letter?”
Clearly the answer was no, and she corrected that problem. Here is a link to her letter that is very clear — RTI is not to be used to delay or deny an evaluation
Schools take a very different position when presented with the information. When our parents have presented the draft letter we provide and Melody Musgrove’s letter, 99% of the schools comply — and often it is the first time they are aware of the policy.
The challenge is that getting a school to evaluate your child is just the first step in a very complex subject. Too often:
– The evaluations show that reading is not nearly as big an issue as the parents thought is was — because schools use reading fluency tests that show how well your child reading out loud. An interesting piece of information, but no where near as valuable as a reading comprehension assessment
– Some schools evaluate reading comprehension using a 150 word passage. This is very different than the 800 word passages your third grader or above are required to read and answer questions about
– Schools will evaluate a child and determine that their grades are too high to qualify for special education services
All this is wrong, and we help parents to get it right.
We request reading comprehension assessments that are equal in length and complexity to what your child will be tested on
We recognize grades are often higher than reading comprehension levels, because your child and you may spend hours and hours on homework and projects to boost your child’s grades — which is exactly the right thing to do. It should not even be considered when evaluating reading, writing and math skills for special education services
We are forceful and collaborative. We want to work in partnership with parents and schools to get it right, and we insist that the student’s rights are protected.
We work closely with the Special Education Directors in Broward and Palm Beach Counties as well as the Special Education Director for the State of Florida. This entire process is complex and we recommend you get educated, and that you work with a Parent Advocate, where necessary
We do provide Parent Advocacy Services and can be reached at 561-361-7495.
You might want to start by doing the following three things>
1- Visit The RTI Trap, and use the information
2- Download a copy of Mira’s book “Life is a Ball, Do Not Put Me in a Box”, If this resonates with you — we are likely to understand both your child and your situation better than others
3- Take the no cost Success Assessment — it will help you to understand if you child learns differently and if there could be an attention and/or eye-teaming issue
Finding the right parent coach can make parent advocacy much easier