Sending your child off to school can be difficult for any parent, but when the child is healthy, you usually have an expectation that he or she will thrive in this new environment. The same isn't always true if you have a special needs child, as you may be concerned about the child's risk of falling through the cracks at school.
Choosing the right school and frequent communication with the child's teachers can go a long way toward ensuring that your child excels in school, but you may begin to see signs that border on neglect. If so, consult a special education lawyer. He or she will evaluate the merits of your situation and may advocate pursuing legal action.
Here are some issues that could compel you to make this call.
You're Seeing Signs of Neglect
Depending on the specific needs of your child, it's possible that he or she requires certain forms of care from the staff at school. For example, if the child cannot always control his or her bodily functions, the arrangement may be that a support worker at the school empties your child's diaper, cleans him or her, and puts a new diaper on. If your special needs child is coming home with soiled diapers, food on his or her face, or other similar issues, it may be apparent that there is some degree of neglect taking place.
The Child Isn't Developing
The medical specialists who treat your child should give you an indicator of how he or she should develop over the course of a school year. Even though your child won't develop at the same rate as other students, you may be eager to see signs of how he or she can do things better as the weeks and months progress. It can thus be a concern if you aren't seeing any development, or perhaps the child is even regressing in ways that you've noticed.
The Child Has Been Injured
Staff at your child's school are responsible for keeping each student safe. While various issues can arise that aren't anyone's fault, there can also be incidents in which one or more children pick on a peer and physically assault him or her. Even if your child doesn't tell you what has gone on, you can often see signs—visible injuries, ripped clothing, and perhaps even a new fear of going back to school. If any of these examples are evident, consult a special education attorney.