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San Diego Education Law Blog

Know your child’s rights at school

Parents with children who have special needs sometimes have to fight to ensure that school remains a nurturing environment.

There are laws in place that serve to protect your child from being neglected or bullied in school. Knowing these rights is the first step in taking action against those who threaten your child’s success.

3 Education goals for children with intellectual disability

If your child has an intellectual disability, also known as mental retardation, it can be challenging to know what type of education he or she should be receiving in school. Every child — no matter their challenge — deserves a meaningful education.

Here are three types of skills that help make an education meaningful for children with intellectual disabilities.

Does FAPE clarity make special needs advocacy easier?

2017 proved to be a banner year for the education prospects of children with learning issues. The Supreme Court of the United States ruled unanimously establishing a new definition of what "appropriate" means in the context of the free and appropriate education that federal law requires for each child in the country.

In many school districts, what was appropriate for many children with learning or other disabilities was providing the bare minimum. The high court said that effectively meant a child could receive no education at all and said that to be meaningful, education plans must encourage students to progress.

Does my child have OCD?

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a condition that causes uncontrollable and long-lasting thoughts, feelings and fears – also called obsessions. The obsessions cause a person to feel anxious, and to relieve the anxiety they will adopt behaviors called compulsions, or rituals. These compulsions are repeated over and over.

But what does OCD look like in children? Their fears may not have the same complexity as an adult, but they are no less real or consuming. Their fears might include the following:

Educational rights of your deaf or hard-of-hearing child

Raising your deaf or hard-of-hearing (DHH) child proves both challenging and rewarding. Your child will soon begin his or her first year of school, but you worry that they won't receive the same education as their classmates.

In California, laws establish both equality and special aid to children who suffer from a lack of hearing ability. As a parent, you are not alone, nor is your child in their development. Know that, by law, your child should receive care and teaching that fits their exact needs.

How to help your child handle ADHD

Some children have trouble concentrating at school or home. They might find it hard to focus on tasks, sit still or they may act out in impulsive or aggressive ways. Children with these symptoms may be suffering from a condition known as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

ADHD is a mental health disorder. It most often affects children, though some adults also suffer from it. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that as of 2016, 9.4 percent of U.S. children aged 2-17 have been diagnosed with ADHD. If you think your child may have ADHD, you should take him or her to your primary care physician. Only a medical professional can diagnose ADHD.

Importance of early intervention for children with special needs

You sense something is not quite right with your child. He’s not vocalizing, makes no eye contact and seems to be developmentally delayed compared with other toddlers his age. Because this time is so essential in the child’s life, it is critical that families seek early intervention programs that may make all the difference in the child’s future.

A report released earlier this year by the California Legislative Analyst’s Office noted that a number of developmentally-delayed children who get help early on “show significant progress and are determined to no longer require special supports at age 3.”

Dealing with dyslexia

Roughly 17 percent of the U.S. population has dyslexia, a common learning disorder that makes reading difficult. The source of the problem is their brain. A dyslexic person’s brain organizes and processes information differently. It has a harder time “decoding” how sounds and letters go together. The words suddenly change and the person doesn’t understand them.

Many children with dyslexia struggle in school in learning a written language, resulting in their avoidance of reading. It also may lead to anxiety, low self-confidence, depression and even anger. In many cases, schools are ill-equipped to handle students who have dyslexia.

Recognizing signs your child may be autistic

Roughly 1 in 68 children in the U.S. has autism – a neurological and behavioral disorder in which those afflicted may have difficulty socializing and communicating with others. Its levels of severity vary as well as do autism’s initial symptoms.

The onset of autism usually takes place before the child turns 3. The earlier the child is diagnosed the better chances are for him or her to lead a more routine life. Many families know that having a child with autism can bring numerous challenges.

Stigma accompanies a mental health diagnosis for many Latinos

Loco in and of itself is not a bad word. Yet, in many Latino communities across the United States, the word has a stigmatized meaning. Mental illness is an issue that is often viewed with embarrassment and is seen as a sign of weakness. When families have a disabled child, this belief is especially true. Overall, you just do not talk about mental illness or other disabilities. That is the way it has always been, so why change now?

The signs are there

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