Children with CFS are special, unique, distinctive and exceptional. They have the right to expect an educational program which permits participation on an equal basis with their peers. Children with CFS have the right to reach their full potential.
Q: How can parents assure school success?
A: Parents must become fully informed about their child's rights regarding school programs. They must be willing to become active participants in the development, implementation and evaluation of educational programs.
Q: What is the purpose of Public Law 94-142?
A: This law mandates a free, appropriate public education for all children with disabilities, ensures due process rights, and mandates education in the least restrictive environment with individualized educational programs.
Q: What is special education?
A: Special education is an approach for providing specially designed programs and services which meet individual needs and enhance strengths.
Q: Is CFS an educational handicap?
A: CFS can affect school success to differing degrees depending on the severity of the illness, time absent from school and the degree of cognitive or physical symptoms.
Q: What are some of the common CFS cognitive/physical symptoms that may interfere with learning?
A: Children with CFS may have cognitive problems with: attention, concentration, short-term memory, finding the correct word or poor visual motor perception. The physical symptoms may include: severe fatigue, muscle/joint pain, balance problems, dizziness, abdominal pain, headaches, eye problems or sore throat.
Q: What special education category does my CFS child fall into?
A: The law states that a child who has "...limited strength, vitality or alertness, due to chronic...health problems...which adversely affects a child's educational performance..." is labeled "OTHER HEALTH IMPAIRED."
Q: What can parents do if they suspect that CFS may be interfering in their child's education?
A: Parents have the right to request an evaluation of their child. The evaluation is conducted by a multidisciplinary team to assess the total child and his/her unique needs. The team may include the areas of: psychology, educational specialty, medicine, physical/occupational therapy and others.
Q: What happens if my child is found to be eligible for special education services?
A: The law requires that the parents and school meet to make decisions regarding the educational program. A written statment called an Individualized Educational Program (I.E.P.) is developed with parental input. The I.E.P. should include the child's weaknesses/strengths, type of specially designed educational program, related services, adaptive aids (calculator), testing modifications (flexible schedule), initiation date, duration and review date.
Q: What is the continuum of special education services?
A: Each school district must offer a variety of programs and services to meet each child's individual needs. Education must be provided in the least restrictive environment possible so that disabled students won't be isolated from their peers.
Q: What are related services?
A: Related services are special skills that are needed for the child to benefit from the academic instruction. These services include: transportation, speech, audiology, psychological services, physical and occupational therapy, etc.
Q: What happens if my child is too ill to attend school?
A: Special education services include instruction in the classroom, home or hospital.
Q: Does my child have to stay in special education?
A: The programs have to be reviewed at least yearly to see if the services are still appropriate for the child.
Q: What is due process?
A: Due process is a set of formal procedures which gives parents the right to challenge and appeal any decision concerning the identification, evaluation or program of their child.
Q: Is this information confidential?
A: Parents have the right to confidentiality of information.
Q: Who is responsible for special education programs?
A: Each state education agency must implement the Federal regulations.
Q: Where can I get more information?
* Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) at 202-732-1723.
THE EDUCATION OF ALL HANDICAPPED ACT - P.L. 94-142
"to assure that all handicapped children have available to them ... a free appropriate public education which emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs, to assure that the rights of the handicapped children and their parents or guardians are protected, to assist states and localities to provide for the education of all handicapped children, and to assess and assure the effectiveness of efforts to educate handicapped children."
These are examples of special services that may be required for the student to benefit from the special education program.
...administer the test in a separate location with minimal distractions
* Revised Test Format/Directions
...read the directions and/or questions
...changing the spacing, location or size of the answer spaces
...fewer items on each page
What rights do I have as a college student with CFS?
Section 504 Subpart E of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 requires all post secondary schools (college and vocational), which receive Federal aid, to provide an equal opportunity to all handicapped students to all programs and activities. A handicapped person is "Anyone with a physical or mental impairment that substantially impairs or restricts one or more major life activities, such as caring for one's self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working."
Adjustments must be made to the academic requirements. Examples of this are increasing the length of the time permitted for finishing a degree and providing auxiliary study aids (tapes, readers, adaptive equipment) for people with impaired sensory or manual skills.
College students are covered by the Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
Information for this text is from the brochure, "Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) And School Success," authored by:
Michelle L. Banks, M.S., ed.
This text prepared and provided by:
National Chronic Fatigue
Syndrome and Fibromyalgia Association
P.O. Box 18426
Kansas City, MO, USA 64133
(Text may be reproduced and/or distributed provided sources are credited.)
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