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Children with disabilities denied speech services at school

There may be fewer issues more pressing than the education of young people in California. In particular, children with disabilities usually require specialized education and therapies that will help them function to the best of their ability once school is over. For many of these students, speech therapy is critical to making sure that they are able to adequately communicate.

Despite the importance of speech therapy for students who need it, it was recently uncovered that one California school district has been failing to meet the needs of those students. The investigation discovered that many speech impaired students in the Fresno Unified School District weren't even receiving the services for which they qualified. Others weren't scheduled for an annual meeting that would have been used to address various factors of their special education.

The school district was given a variety of factors to address and correct, including providing students with back services for missed speech therapy sessions. It must also complete a database that lists the students who require speech services, presumably to ensure that no more children slip through the cracks. While a full-time speech pathologist may still not be available at every school, suggestions have been made to both hire on new pathologists as well as spread the time of existing pathologists between schools.

Raising well-educated children isn't just good for local communities or California -- it can also be good for America as a whole. However, this doesn't mean just ensuring that certain students receive the services they need. Children with disabilities deserve and are legally entitled to necessary services, such as speech therapy. Parents of children who have been denied these critical services are far from helpless, and can take actions including filing formal complaints on behalf of their children.

Source: fresnobee.com, "Fresno Unified violating special education laws, state officials say", Hannah Furfaro, Dec. 19, 2014

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