Frequently Asked Questions
- My child is only 8 months old but I think something is wrong. Who can I contact?
NJ has an Early Intervention System operated by the NJ Department of Health and Senior Services, which provides specially-developed services for children with developmental delays or disabilities from birth until the child’s third birthday. To determine whether your child is eligible for Early Intervention services, contact 1-888-653-4463.
- My son is 4 years old and has Down Syndrome. Can he attend school in my town?
Every public school in NJ is required to offer a free, appropriate public education to a child with a disability who requires special education once he or she turns 3 years of age. If your district offers a preschool program, your child is entitled to be enrolled in that program; if they do not, you can work with the district to locate an appropriate program (that the district may fund) so that your child may be educated throughout his preschool years, until the district’s in-district educational program begins.
- My daughter is enrolled in public school. She used to read on grade level but is falling farther and farther behind. She now reads 3 years behind other students in her class. How can I get the school to take action?
Has your child been referred to the Intervention and Referral Services Team?
The district also has “child find’ obligations to locate, identify and refer all children who may have a disability for evaluation by the district’s to determine eligibility for special education programs and services.
To learn more about these obligations, read NJAC 6A: 14-3.3
- I’m interested in homeschooling my child. Am I allowed to do this in NJ?
New Jersey permits parents to homeschool their children using curricula of their choice.
> Read the NJ Department of Education’s fact sheet on this subject
- I think my child is gifted. How can I obtain advanced educational opportunities for her in her public school?
Take a look at these webpages on the New Jersey Department of Education’s website for guidance how to proceed in your school district:
> View the FAQ regarding the talented and gifted services
- What does an Individual Education Program (IEP) look like?
Every school district is permitted to use a form of IEP of its choosing, however, all IEPs in NJ must contain all of the elements prescribed in the state’s template.
> View the template
- My husband’s family has a tradition of attending a particular private school in another town. I want my son who has learning disabilities to attend that school as well. If he’s accepted, are they obligated to give him an IEP?
As a general rule, private schools are not required to develop IEPs for students who attend classes there. Nonetheless, the board of education of the school district in which the private school is located is obligated to enter into “child find” of students with disabilities and may provide special education programming and/or related services to private school students through Individual Service Plans.
> See this guide published by the US Department of Education
- My child has been diagnosed with ADHD. I don’t think he really needs an IEP, but I would like him to receive some support in his classes. How can I get him this help?
Perhaps your son can get the assistance he needs through a 504 Plan. In general, 504 Plans, which are developed by a team, outline the accommodations that a student with a disability needs to “level the playing field” with students who do not have disabilities. This may mean extra time for testing, larger print hand-outs, development of a positive behavior support plan, use of a ramp and an elevator, preferential seating, use of an FM system, medication management, school nursing services, a tap on the shoulder to refocus, and the like.
- My daughter receives a lot of related services during school hours that take her away from her classes. What can I do about this?
One solution may be to talk to the IEP Team about integrating some therapy services into her ongoing activities during class. See NJAC 6A: 14-3-9. Also, check out the New Jersey Coalition for Inclusive Education (www.njcie.net) for some good ideas about these types of inclusive therapies.
- Can a school require me to medicate my child to attend school?
No. NJAC 6A: 14-1.1(i) prohibits a school district from requiring any child to obtain a prescription as a condition of attending school, receiving an evaluation or receiving special education and related services.