Getting Important Methodologies Like ABA in Your Child’s Special Education Program

Are you the parent of a young child with autism that thinks that your child needs an applied behavioral analysis (ABA)program? Are you the parent of a child with dyslexia or other learning disabilities who thinks that your child needs an Orton-Gillingham Based multisensory reading program? Would you like to learn how to advocate for these particular methodologies for your child? This article will discuss what methodology means, and information that you can use to advocate for the appropriate methodology for your child.

Methodology means the specific curriculum or program that special education personnel are going to use, to teach your child. Some of the most popular methodologies for teaching children are ABA (for children with autism) or an Orton-Gillingham based multisensory reading program for children with dyslexia or other reading disabilities.

Many special education personnel continue to tell parents that they have no right to tell them what methodology to use. Below are 4 points that you can make with school personnel to get the methodology that your child needs in order to benefit from their education.

1. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) 2004 states under 300.26 that: special education means specially designed instruction means adapting as appropriate to the needs of the eligible child . . .the content, methodology, or delivery of instruction.

This section is one of the most important clarifications in the IDEA law. It
gives parents the right to discuss the content, methodology and delivery of education to their child. The discussion of methodology is important for all children but especially those children with autism or language based learning disabilities.

2. In a recent court case entitled KL vs. Mercer Island School District found that: The particular teaching methodology that will be used. . .will need to be discussed at the IEP meeting and incorporated into the student’s IEP.

3. Another court case the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois discussed methodology in the case of TH vs. Palatine School District. The court held that the school’s argument that it had the right to choose methodology was not valid since the school district had no methodology. The US Supreme Court decision in Rowley could only apply if the school had chosen and implemented a methodology calculated to allow the child to make meaningful progress.

4. There is no legal basis for school districts decision to not discuss or specify the methodology in a child’s IEP! School districts position on this contradicts common sense. IDEA regulations require that the IEP should include related services and supplementary aids and supports to be provided to the child, and a statement of the program, modifications or supports. It is mind blowing that school districts take the position that it should specify the supports and modifications which may be dependent on the methodology, but not specify the methodology.

If you feel that your child needs a particular methodology in order to benefit from their education, bring it up at an IEP meeting. If the IEP team feels that they do not have to put the methodology in your child’s IEP, bring up all of the 4 points above! Put special emphasis on the wording of IDEA which does include the word methodologies. You may have to fight for a particular methodology that your child needs, but it will be well worth it!