What is the age of majority?
The age in which the child will now be considered an adult and MUST receive notice of an IEP meeting, consent to an evaluation, select the participants of an IEP meeting, attend an IEP meeting and consent to the contents of an IEP.
These rights must be explained no later than one year prior to the age of majority. The age of majority is most commonly the 18th birthday but could be different based on the State you live in. In Texas, the age of majority is 18.
Why does the age of majority matter?
Parents are used to holding their child’s educational rights. These rights transfer to the child when they hit the age of majority. Often times parents feel upset and isolated when the school stops talking to them regarding their child’s IEP and start talking directly to the student. It’s very important for the parents and their child to have a plan for when this time comes. Make it clear to your child that you still want to be a part of the conversation and that they should never sign anything without discussing it with you first.
If the school is pressuring your child to sign any IEP documentation without you present teach them to respond this way:
“Thank you, but I don’t feel comfortable signing anything without going over the document with my parents first and having them present when I sign.”
This should diffuse the situation and allow your child time to discuss the document with you. If your child does not have the cognitive ability to make their own decisions then the parents would need to go to court and get a conservatorship for their child. If this is the case, talk to an attorney early because it is a lengthy process.