The special education process typically begins when a parent or teacher notice some delays or challenges to a child’s learning process. The child is then tested by the school district to see if they have a disability that would qualify them for special education and or accommodations. If they have such a disability, an IEP or 504 plan is developed. Parents, teachers, and the school district work as a team to develop the plan. This process in intended to be collaborative and non-adversarial.
Unfortunately, the process often turns adversarial when the parent and the school district do not agree about the child’s specific needs. Sometimes, the disagreement concerns whether the child qualifies for special services. Or else, the school district doesn’t have a program the parent believes the child needs. School districts correctly assume that most parents don’t know special education laws or their children’s rights, so they can usually win when the parent has not sought representation. This is when it’s time to consult an attorney. You should hire a special education attorney as soon as the school district decides it is going to fight you on the services you want for your child.