My child has learning difficulties. Does the school have to help?
Question & AnswerMy child has learning difficulties. Does the school have to help?
2. Start the IPRC process
Only an Identification, Placement, and Review Committee (IPRC) can formally decide if your child has an exceptionality. If your child is having difficulties at school, it is usually a good idea to ask for an IPRC.
Starting the IPRC process
You have a right to ask for an IPRC for your child. If you ask for an IPRC, the principal is not allowed to say no. They must start the IPRC process.
To start the IPRC process, you can simply write a letter or email to the principal asking for one. Keep a copy for yourself.
Within 15 days of when you ask for an IPRC, the principal must give you:
- a written response
- a copy of a parent’s guide explaining the IPRC process
- an approximate date of when the IPRC will meet. Sometimes the meeting happens quickly, but sometimes it can take a few weeks or longer before the IPRC has time to meet.
The principal can also start the process on their own. They can do this without your permission, and even if you don’t agree. For example, the principal may do this if your child’s teacher tells them that they think your child needs an IPRC.
Giving information to the IPRC
Parents and students 16 years of age or older have the right to:
- attend all IPRC meetings and discussions
- give the IPRC any information you think is relevant
- get a copy of any written information the IPRC receives about the student
Examples of helpful information include:
- your child’s medical history, especially medical diagnoses that relate to an exceptionality
- a psychologist’s or other health professional’s written opinion about the supports and services your child needs
- a psycho-educational assessment of your child. This is a report from a psychologist explaining how your child’s mind works, especially anything that is unique or different about your child. Sometimes it includes an official diagnosis. A good psycho-educational assessment should include specific recommendations about the services, supports, or programs that would help your child. These reports are expensive, so school boards usually only pay for them in special situations. If your school board won’t pay for one, you can pay a psychologist to have one done privately.
- written opinions from other relevant experts
- information from you, your child, their teachers, and others about supports and services that have worked in the past
Sometimes the IPRC will want to interview the student. You can agree to the interview, or you can say no. If your child is 16 or older, they decide for themselves.