My 10 year old son has Tourettes/OCD. His teachers do not understand his disability and what he is going through in class. They have no idea about inner tics. Their main concern is proper position of words on a page.  They are not trained to effectively work with him or teach him. His IEP meeting is in a week, what do I do?

What do you do? Turn to what IDEA says about support and training for school personnel.

IDEA envisions services that are provided to the parents or teachers of a child with a disability to help them to more effectively work with the child – that’s why “supports for school personnel” was included in this section of the law.

Supports for School Personnel

This does not just mean participation in normal inservice training that all teachers get – but targeted directly on assisting the teacher to meet a unique and specific need of the child.

The school may need to bring in an outside expert in TS to train the teacher and provide consultation services about how TS affects your child.

This training or support for the teacher must be written in the IEP – clearly designating who will train, when, how much, etc.

So do your research and be prepared when you meet to revise the IEP.

You will find answers in Chapter 5 Wrightslaw: All About IEPs and your Wrightslaw Special Education Law book – 20 U.S.C. 1414(d)(1)(A) and the federal regulations 34 C.F.R. 300.320(a)(4).

Tools for Effective Advocacy

You will also want to use your best advocacy skills when you meet with the team.  Attorney Susan Bardet says “By making sufficient use of support for school personnel and parent training, IEP teams can use the tools provided by IDEA to help children succeed.”

For more information on how to do this, be sure to read this article by Susan – Support For School Personnel and Parent Training: Often Overlooked Keys To Success.

Sample Letter Requesting Support and/or Training for School Staff

Name and Address of School Principal and/or Special Ed Administrator

RE: Request Support and Training for School Personnel

Dear _____________,

I am the parent of (child’s name). I am writing because I believe that additional training and support is needed for the teachers, aides and other personnel that will be or are dealing with my child at school.

The IDEA regulations at 300.320(a)(4) say that Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) must include “a statement of the program modifications or supports for school personnel that will be provided to enable the child- (i) To advance appropriately toward attaining the annual goals; (ii) To be involved in and make progress in the general education curriculum in paragraph (a)(1) of this section, and to participate in extracurricular and other nonacademic activities”. Support has been interpreted by lawyers and others to include training of teachers and staff.

The regulations also say that the state education agency “must establish and maintain qualifications to ensure that personnel necessary to carry out the purposes of this part are appropriately and adequately prepared and trained, including that those personnel have the content knowledge and skills to serve children with disabilities.” (300.156(a))

I believe that school staff need training in the areas of (list specifics, e.g., autism, ADHD, ABA, managing behaviors), and support (list specifics, e.g., additional consultations with …., additional technology, software, etc.).

I am requesting that an ARD/IEP meeting be scheduled within (list period of time) so that we can discuss these issues and appropriate training and supports be added to the IEP, so that my child can make progress in the general education curriculum and/or advance appropriately toward attaining their annual goals. (You can also list when you are available.)
I appreciate your attention to this matter and look forward to hearing from you in five school days.


(Your Name)
Contact information
c.c. to appropriate staff

The first part of the article is from the Wrightslaw Blog, 12/12/11 –