As of the writing of this article, the world has been dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic for over a year. A new wave resulting from the Delta variant of COVID-19 has been wreaking additional havoc throughout the state in Florida. It is creating more uncertainty as to what will happen with the 2021-2022 school year. The loss of public school system services can be very damaging to the future and well-being of special-needs children. In this article, we will discuss compensatory education and how it may help school-aged special needs children.

What Is Compensatory Education?

Compensatory education is an option for students with special needs. It allows them to receive educational services that they may have missed through no fault of their own. The purpose is to help get the student to a level that they would be at if they had not missed any services to begin with.

Compensatory education helps remedy the loss of services. It is in addition to the regular school day in order to allow the student to receive their typical education.

Is Compensatory Education Automatic?

Compensatory education will not be given to a child automatically.

How To Qualify

In Florida, a parent doesn’t have to show that the school was derelict in providing services for their children. To obtain compensatory education, a parent will need to request it through an official advocacy letter to the school system. In the letter, the parent will need to make the case that due to school closings as a result of COVID-19, their child did not receive the services they needed. In the case of distance learning, they will need to claim that it was insufficient to provide the adequate services the child needs. If a child is denied compensatory educational services, the parent also has the right to get the denial written in a letter as well.

How To Prepare

In order to have a compensatory education request approved, if possible, a parent will want to document the following:

  • A record of missed services that occurred due to COVID-19 closures.
  • Show previous and current progress reports.
  • Understand how your child previously progressed.
  • Show any regressions and, if possible, test to show for those regressions.
  • Show how COVID-19 substantially altered previous services. For example, if the school altered services go through distance learning, which was not sufficient.

Seek Help

Ultimately, due to the interruption of many lives resulting from COVID-19, there will be many families seeking compensatory educational plans, which may lead to a backlog for the school system. Parents should seek the help of professional advocates who are familiar with the law and the bureaucracy of the school system. Contact Thompson Law for a consultation on the rights your child may be entitled to and how to properly make sure they are being received.