SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – This week on Kids Under Construction, parenting journalist and expert Donna Tetreault speaks with Georgianna Junco-Kelman, a special education attorney and advocate. They speak with ABC4’s Emily Clark about the rights all parents have when it comes to a child with special needs.
“In theory, there are some incredible laws that protect our children, but unfortunately those laws are not often followed,” says Junco-Kelman. “Because children are often not offered their proper services, placements and supports, parents have to be ready to battle for their kids’ rights.”
Parents must always be their child’s biggest advocate, but even more so when it comes to children with special needs. It’s critical to ensure your child’s educational rights are fully accessed, wherever they may attend school.
Although this may seem daunting, Junco-Kelman assures that the law is on your side to ensure equal access to a proper education, along with the least restrictive environments.
So what can parents do right now to help their special needs child?
Sitting down with school administrators and teachers to collaborate on an Individual Education Plan (IEP) to address your child’s specific needs is something every parent is entitled to.
“A lot of children did not receive [the services] they were supposed to during the pandemic and are still not receiving it today,” says Junco-Kelman.
To successfully address your child’s unique needs, it’s critical to establish an open line of communication with your teacher. Junco-Kelman recommends meeting your child’s teacher at least once a month to address progress updates.
It’s important to stay informed so your child doesn’t fall behind, especially if the education plan isn’t addressing your child’s full needs.
To see the full conversation about advocating for your special needs child, watch the full conversation above.