Ask the Experts

Q: My Son’s IEP Does Nothing for His Behavioral Issues

If your child’s IEP fails to address behavioral issues that impact his learning and growth, you can request a functional behavioral assessment from his school. Read on to learn your IDEA rights, and how to get an FBA.

Q: “My son’s new school has been relatively accommodating. But his IEP only addresses academics, and when I raise my behavior concerns, the IEP team doesn’t seem to comprehend that he’s not neurotypical. How do I advocate for him?”

A: Contact the IEP team and explain that your son’s emotional and behavioral needs are not being adequately met. Ask them to do a functional behavioral assessment, or “FBA,” which isn’t routinely done for every IEP but is a right under the IDEA.

Getting an FBA for your son will provide the necessary information to create a behavioral intervention plan, which has a structure similar to an IEP but focuses on different behavioral situations. If you receive any pushback from the school, remind administrators that they are legally obligated to accommodate your son’s needs.

Also be mindful of the fact that students who have or should have an IEP are entitled to special rules about suspensions. If there are disciplinary proceedings being brought against your son and if he has behaved in a way that could get him suspended, he is entitled to a special preliminary hearing where his behavioral issues are taken into account.

This content came from the ADDitude webinar by Susan Yellin, Esq., titled “A Parent’s Guide to Changing Schools: How to Find the Best Match for Your Student with ADHD or LD” That webinar is available for free replay here.

Susan Yellin, Esq., is a member of the ADDitude ADHD Medical Review Panel.

[How to Make School IEP Meetings Count: Your Free Guide]