The need for proper services for all children is important in the world of education. This is especially true for those with special needs. A growing concern of parents is that their children may not be receiving the right level of support services. Each state has a protocol for special education referrals. It is critical for special education teachers and other therapists working in schools to understand this process. When working with students, they need to know how to advocate with the family for what the child requires to be most successful in the least restrictive learning environment. If a request is made, there is a time period in which school districts must address the concern, test, and report back to families.
The problem facing schools are state regulations on special education services. They are often being held to a certain percentage of students being classified. The reality is that this means many that could benefit from having an individualized education plan (IEP) and special education services are forced to request 504 Plans. While these are beneficial, they are not always giving students what they may need. The decrease in numbers of students getting special education services is not necessarily an accurate number. Those in the field point out that they are forced to adopt new techniques and practices. The administrators and teachers do the best that they can with the new rules by each state.
In Texas, the state set a goal of 8.5% as a special education enrollment number. This change meant that districts across the state saw 12% decreases on average in their special education numbers. This means that parents and teachers need to be more proactive and get into early intervention. Of course, this does not mean that all kids will qualify for that. In these cases, therapists and districts need to be able to point families to outside resources. Not all families will be able to afford therapy on their own, but some insurance companies may cover specific items based on a child and their diagnosis.
It is crucial for all those involved in special education and related services to be up to date on state laws, mandates, and options for their students. While budgeting restrictions may mean that some students are not eligible for services, there are ways to assist. If another child is eligible for group therapy and needs a partner, the other child could go on occasion to benefit with family permission. Also, resources about colleges in the area that may have programs available for children to work with students learning to be special education providers would be helpful to provide to parents. All of these are supervised by faculty and will be a great learning tool for children that may have no other options at the time.