THE SUPREME IMPORTANCE OF A PARENTS ROLE IN CREATING COLLABORATION Presented by SANDEE WINKELMAN
WHAT IS THE PARENTAL ROLE IN 2004, WITH THE REAUTHORIZATION OF THE INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITY EDUCATIONAL ACT (IDEIA), CONGRESS STRENGTHENED THE ROLE OF A PARENT TO ENSURE THE ENHANCEMENT OF THEIR DISABLED CHILD’S EDUCATION Parents must give their written consent to evaluate their child and to provide special education services Parents must attend educational planning meetings “IEP meetings” Parents must be permitted to provide meaningful input regarding their child’s needs and are part of the decision making team Parents have the right to disagree with the school staff and challenge the educational plan Parents play an important role in their child’s education
PARENTAL RIGHTS AS PROVIDED BY IDEIA The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals said parents have no rights including the right to a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) under the IDEIA. The court said the Winkelmans have 30 days to find an attorney or their case would be dismissed. Winkelman v. Parma was heard by the U.S. Supreme Court where the court was asked to answer the question: WHAT ARE THE PARENTAL RIGHTS UNDER THE IDEIA?
Winkelman v. Parma City School District, 127 S. Ct. 1994 (May 21, 2007) Held: 1. IDEA grants parents independent, enforceable rights, which are not limited to procedural and reimbursement- related matters but encompass the entitlement to a free appropriate public education for their child. Pp. 4–17. 2. The Sixth Circuit erred in dismissing the Winkelmans’ appeal for lack of counsel. Because parents enjoy rights under IDEA, they are entitled to prosecute IDEA claims on their own behalf. In light of this holding, the Court need not reach petitioners’ argument concerning whether IDEA entitles parents to litigate their child’s claims pro se. Pp. 17–18.
Winkelman v. Parma City School District, 127 S. Ct. 1994 (May 21, 2007) The Supreme Court decision has opened the door for parents to help ensure that their children receive adequate care and education. Before Winkelman, most courts that had considered the question had held that parents of special needs children were not permitted to sue in federal court to enforce substantive rights under the IDEA unless they were represented by legal counsel. In Winkelman, the Court held that because parents have a right to a free public education for their child, they may “file these suits themselves, without legal representation, in order to enforce rights guaranteed by the Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).”
EVALUATIONS AND ASSESSMENTS IDEIA Requires evaluations and assessments Evaluations determine the need for services Parents need to understand what the evaluations tell us about the child’s needs Find books on assessments at the library and the internet Ask the evaluator to explain the results Conduct research
HOW DOES AUTISM IMPACT THE CHILD’S EDUCATION The school is not required to provide a service unless it is necessary for the child to benefit from his education. Educators who do not have any knowledge or training with autism have difficulty identifying how autism impacts the child’s education.
HOW TO BUILD COLLABORATION Educators do not rely on medical recommendations when creating an educational plan because medical reports do not discuss the educational setting. Observations of the child by a trained professional will help develop a collaboration between the educational setting and the medical diagnosis. Educators do not seek out help from the medical professionals for various reasons Parents need to create a collaboration between the educators and medical professionals by providing consent to share information Parents need to encourage the medical professionals to attend meetings
WHAT CAN A PARENT DO WHEN A CONFLICT ARISES Make sure that any and all assessments have been conducted to assist in understanding the needs of the child. Bring evaluators to the table Provide your input in writing When all else fails you may need to file a formal due process complaint It is always best to resolve the issue because education should always be your focus and litigation should be your last resort. Always keep the focus on your child Keep up to date on your rights and your child’s rights by attending the many trainings available in the community Always advocate for your child and never feel ashamed or embarrassed The parental role and responsibility for their disabled child is huge. Parents have a duty to ensure that their child’s future is bright, and that they become independent members of their community.