8 Parental Causes for Denial of Special Education FAPE for Children With Disabilities!

Are you the parent of a child with a disability receiving special education services? Have you been fighting for your child to receive an appropriate education but are afraid that you are losing the battle. This article will be addressing the definition of FAPE as well as 8 parental reasons that may be contributing to your child not receiving a free appropriate public education.

Definition of FAPE

In a US Court of Appeals Case in the Third Circuit N.R. vs. Kingwood Township FAPE is defined as: a satisfactory IEP must provide significant learning and confer meaningful benefit. The definition of FAPE in IDEA 2004 states that FAPE means related and special education services that are free to the parent, and meet the standards of the State Educational Agency. Recently, many states have passed National Core Educational Standards to make the standards more uniform from state to state.

Possible Parental Causes

1. Some parents may not educate themselves about all of the federal and state laws that they can use to advocate for their child. These laws are: IDEA 2004, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, ADAAA, etc. It is critical that parents read books, and attend conferences to educate themselves.

2. Parents may be unwilling to confront or stand up to special education personnel who are refusing to provide FAPE to their child. This may be due to parents upbringing of not confronting authorities or educators

3. Schools have low expectations of what a child can learn in academic and functional areas. Parents must stand up to low expectations by some special education personnel, to the benefit of their child.

4. Not making sure that their child is held to the same educational standards as children without disabilities. If children do not learn academics and functional areas they could be hindered in their adult life.

5. Some parents may not learn appropriate remediation that their child needs to help them in their education.

6. Some parents may be unwilling to file a state complaint, 504 complaint, or file for a due process. As an advocate for over 20 years I have seen many school personnel draw a line in the sand, and absolutely refuse to listen to any parental input on services that their child needs. This situation requires going outside of the school district in the filing of complaints or due process, in a timely manner.

7. Some parents may accept lack of FAPE year after year without doing anything about it, even trying to find private services (and asking for school reimbursement). I recently read about a family in San Francisco that fought their school by filing for a due process hearing when the school district refused to provide their 3 year old child with Autism Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) services, even though independent evaluators stated that the child needed this service. The parents did not wait year after year to let their child fail, they filed immediately. The family won after a 7 month fight, and was reimbursed for the private ABA services, that was given to their child.

8. Parents often approach school districts asking for the best services for their child. IDEA 2004 does not require that schools offer the best, but just related and special education services that are appropriate to meet the child’s educational needs.

How can parents turn this around? By educating themselves about special education law and research based remediation for their child. They also must be assertively persistent in their advocacy, for as long as it takes for their child to receive an appropriate education. Going outside the school district the first time they deny your child FAPE sends a message that you will not tolerate the civil rights violations to your child. Parents have a tough job, but if they work hard and advocate hard their child can receive an appropriate education.

Using a Scholarship Search to Fund a College Education

Finding ways to raise enough money for college is important, whether you are a high school senior or an adult getting ready to go back to college for more education. The cost of college has never been higher than today, and the high prices are making it more difficult to afford going to college.

Today, most jobs require that you have a college education, and a quality education definitely helps people on the road to success. While you may not have money set aside for college and your parents may not be able to make large contributions, scholarships can help you get the money you need for college. There are literally thousands of scholarships out there and it may be quite daunting to know where to begin. Using a scholarships search can help you sift through the available scholarships to find those that are applicable to you.

Get Started Early

One of the most important things to remember when you are doing a scholarship search is that you should start as early as possible. If you wait until the last minute, the number of scholarships available will be much more limited and you will miss out on some great opportunities. Starting the summer before you senior year or the first semester can help you have the time you need to find quality scholarships. Many scholarships require a great deal of paperwork, and some even require that you write essays for them as well, so you want to be sure that you have plenty of time to complete them without rushing.

Online Searches

One of the best places to do a scholarship search is on the internet. A variety of great sites are available that can help you find scholarships, and they make it very easy for you to find them. Some sites allow you to fill out your personal information and then they match you up with scholarships that you are eligible for. While you may only have a few matches to begin with, most of these sites will email you when a new scholarship comes available of they find another scholarship that you may be interested in. If you are not able to search online, then check with your school guidance counselors to see if they can help you to do a scholarship search. Often, these counselors are familiar with and have access to a variety of different scholarship opportunities.

Important Information

When you are doing a scholarship search it is important that you include as much information about yourself as possible. Many of the scholarships are actually only available to those who meet a specific set of requirements. Some may require that you are a male, or some scholarships may require that you are part Indian or part Hispanic in order to be eligible. Other scholarships require that you have at least a “B” average in school or some may require that you are majoring in a science field. When you include your personal information, such as your race, gender, average grades, and intended field of study, you can be better matched to scholarships.

Instead of worrying about how college will be affordable for you, do something about it and start a scholarship search. With so many scholarships out there, no doubt you will be able to win enough money to help you out with college. When you use a scholarship search, it will be quick and easy to find the scholarships available to you so you can have the money you need for a great education.

The Difference Between Being Smart, Educated, and Intelligent

I’ve always been intrigued by the subject of intelligence. As a child my mother would refer to me as “smart,” but I quickly noticed that all parents refer to their children as smart. In time I would discover that all children are not smart, just as all babies are not cute. If that were the case, we’d have a world full of beautiful, smart people – which we don’t.

Some of us are smart; but not as smart as we think, and others are smarter than they seem, which makes me wonder, how do we define smart? What makes one person smarter than another? When do “street smarts” matter more than “book smarts”? Can you be both smart and stupid? Is being smart more of a direct influence of genetics, or one’s environment?

Then there are the issues of education, intelligence and wisdom.

What does it mean to be highly educated? What’s the difference between being highly educated and highly intelligent? Does being highly educated automatically make you highly intelligent? Can one be highly intelligent without being highly educated? Do IQs really mean anything? What makes a person wise? Why is wisdom typically associated with old age?

My desire to seek answers to these questions inspired many hours of intense research which included the reading of 6 books, hundreds of research documents, and countless hours on the Internet; which pales in comparison to the lifetime of studies and research that pioneers in the fields of intelligence and education like Howard Gardner, Richard Sternberg, Linda S. Gottfredson, Thomas Sowell, Alfie Kohn, and Diane F. Halpern whose work is cited in this article.

My goal was simple: Amass, synthesize, and present data on what it means to be smart, educated and intelligent so that it can be understood and used by anyone for their benefit.

PRENATAL CARE

With this in mind, there was not a better (or more appropriate) place to start than at the very beginning of our existence: as a fetus in the womb.

There is mounting evidence that the consumption of food that’s high in iron both before and during pregnancy is critical to building the prenatal brain. Researchers have found a strong association between low iron levels during pregnancy and diminished IQ. Foods rich in iron include lima beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, spinach, asparagus, broccoli, seafoods, nuts, dried fruits, oatmeal, and fortified cereals.

Children with low iron status in utero (in the uterus) scored lower on every test and had significantly lower language ability, fine-motor skills, and tractability than children with higher prenatal iron levels. In essence, proper prenatal care is critical to the development of cognitive skills.

COGNITIVE SKILLS

Cognitive skills are the basic mental abilities we use to think, study, and learn. They include a wide variety of mental processes used to analyze sounds and images, recall information from memory, make associations between different pieces of information, and maintain concentration on particular tasks. They can be individually identified and measured. Cognitive skill strength and efficiency correlates directly with students’ ease of learning.

DRINKING, PREGNANCY, AND ITS INTELLECTUAL IMPACT

Drinking while pregnant is not smart. In fact, it’s downright stupid.

A study in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research has found that even light to moderate drinking – especially during the second trimester – is associated with lower IQs in offspring at 10 years of age. This result was especially pronounced among African-American rather than Caucasian offspring.

“IQ is a measure of the child’s ability to learn and to survive in his or her environment. It predicts the potential for success in school and in everyday life. Although a small but significant percentage of children are diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) each year, many more children are exposed to alcohol during pregnancy who do not meet criteria for FAS yet experience deficits in growth and cognitive function,” said Jennifer A. Willford, assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Paul D. Connor, clinical director of the Fetal Alcohol and Drug Unit and assistant professor in the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of Washington has this to say about the subject:

“There are a number of domains of cognitive functioning that can be impaired even in the face of a relatively normal IQ, including academic achievement (especially arithmetic), adaptive functioning, and executive functions (the ability to problem solve and learn from experiences). Deficits in intellectual, achievement, adaptive, and executive functioning could make it difficult to appropriately manage finances, function independently without assistance, and understand the consequences of – or react appropriately to – mistakes.”

This is a key finding which speaks directly to the (psychological) definition of intelligence which is addressed later in this article.

ULTRA SOUNDS

Studies have shown that the frequent exposure of the human fetus to ultrasound waves is associated with a decrease in newborn body weight, an increase in the frequency of left-handedness, and delayed speech.

Because ultrasound energy is a high-frequency mechanical vibration, researchers hypothesized that it might influence the migration of neurons in a developing fetus. Neurons in mammals multiply early in fetal development and then migrate to their final destinations. Any interference or disruption in the process could result in abnormal brain function.

Commercial companies (which do ultrasounds for “keepsake” purposes) are now creating more powerful ultrasound machines capable of providing popular 3D and 4D images. The procedure, however, lasts longer as they try to make 30-minute videos of the fetus in the uterus.

The main stream magazine New Scientist reported the following: Ultrasound scans can stop cells from dividing and make them commit suicide. Routine scans, which have let doctors peek at fetuses and internal organs for the past 40 years, affect the normal cell cycle.

On the FDA website this information is posted about ultrasounds:

While ultrasound has been around for many years, expectant women and their families need to know that the long-term effects of repeated ultrasound exposures on the fetus are not fully known. In light of all that remains unknown, having a prenatal ultrasound for non-medical reasons is not a good idea.

NATURE VERSUS NURTURE…THE DEBATE CONTINUES

Now that you are aware of some of the known factors which determine, improve, and impact the intellectual development of a fetus, it’s time for conception. Once that baby is born, which will be more crucial in the development of its intellect: nature (genetics) or nurture (the environment)?

Apparently for centuries, scientists and psychologists have gone back and forth on this. I read many comprehensive studies and reports on this subject during the research phase of this article, and I believe that it’s time to put this debate to rest. Both nature and nurture are equally as important and must be fully observed in the intellectual development of all children. This shouldn’t be an either/or proposition.

A recent study shows that early intervention in the home and in the classroom can make a big difference for a child born into extreme poverty, according to Eric Turkheimer, a psychologist at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. The study concludes that while genetic makeup explains most of the differences in IQ for children in wealthier families, environment – and not genes – makes a bigger difference for minority children in low-income homes.

Specifically, what researchers call “heritability”- the degree to which genes influence IQ – was significantly lower for poor families. “Once you’re put into an adequate environment, your genes start to take over,” Mr. Turkheimer said, “but in poor environments genes don’t have that ability.”

But there are reports that contradict these findings…sort of.

Linda S. Gottfredson, a professor of educational studies at the University of Delaware, wrote in her article, The General Intelligence Factor that environments shared by siblings have little to do with IQ. Many people still mistakenly believe that social, psychological and economic differences among families create lasting and marked differences in IQ.

She found that behavioral geneticists refer to such environmental effects as “shared” because they are common to siblings who grow up together. Her reports states that the heritability of IQ rises with age; that is to say, the extent to which genetics accounts for differences in IQ among individuals increases as people get older.

In her article she also refers to studies comparing identical and fraternal twins, published in the past decade by a group led by Thomas J. Bouchard, Jr., of the University of Minnesota and other scholars, show that about 40 percent of IQ differences among preschoolers stems from genetic differences, but that heritability rises to 60 percent by adolescence and to 80 percent by late adulthood.

And this is perhaps the most interesting bit of information, and relevant to this section of my article:

With age, differences among individuals in their developed intelligence come to mirror more closely their genetic differences. It appears that the effects of environment on intelligence fade rather than grow with time.