Sadly, accidents do not happen only to adults. Children often suffer injuries in accidents as well, and some of them suffer permanent health issues as a result. Even so, parents often want to provide their children with the most "normal" life possible. This includes tending to their needs in a variety of areas, and one of them is education.
This may be the position that you are currently in after learning that your child will be wheelchair bound. Part of any normal child's life includes an education. Regardless of your child's age, you can find educational services and programs for him or her.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
This law gives your child the right to a "free and appropriate public education" regardless of how severely disabled your child is. This includes the right to special education services, along with anything related to it. The schools in your district should conduct an assessment to determine what services and programs will benefit your child.
This evaluation should result in an Individualized Education Program. This contract between your child and the school may address one or more of the following in addition to any special education services:
- Physical therapy
- Psychological services
- Occupational therapy
- Diagnostic medical services
- Medical evaluation services
- Speech pathology
- Audiology pathology
- Rehabilitation services
- Recreation and therapeutic recreation services
As a parent, you do not have to just sit by and allow the school district to make decisions about your child's education. You may participate in all facets of the decision-making process, and you may appeal any decision with which you do not agree.
Obtaining these services and starting (or returning to) school
The education system needs to know about your child's situation as soon as possible regardless of the time of year that the accident occurred. This will help move along all of the formalities before your child first attends or returns to school. The principal can begin the IEP process before you child even leaves the hospital. However, since the school may request that the hospital release your child before starting the process, you may put the hospital and the school into contact with each other to help facilitate the process.
It can take up to 60 days to complete the evaluation process. If your child is not returning to school for some time, it may be possible to have a teacher come to your child with his or her coursework. Many rehabilitation centers provide the space and opportunities during which your child can "attend" class.
Education may be the least of your worries right now
As you and your child struggle to find a new way to live, you may not be focusing on your child's education. You may be focusing on holding the party or parties responsible for your child's injuries legally accountable for their actions. You may need to gain some sense of justice for what happened to your child, along with some closure.
Of course, you may also need some compensation for the financial losses you have incurred and may continue to incur because of the negligence of another person. Considering what is at stake, you may benefit from enlisting some assistance as you move through the settlement or litigation process.