To begin the process of developing an IEP for your child, file the treating provider’s report of medical diagnosis (stating the “disability” or “disabilities”), with the school guidance counselor, even if accommodations are not yet needed.
Each new school--for instance, not only if, or when, you move to a new town, and your child needs to change schools, but, also, when your child advances from elementary school, to middle school, or middle school to high school-- will need an updated medical report.
Why should you “bother to do this at all? Is it really necessary?
--You shouldn’t have to rely on whether or not the teachers are “nice” to your child, or if they understood the note you sent to the school nurse—or if the contents of that note even got passed down the line to each teacher, the bus driver, the cafeteria ladies, the school trip chaperones… (catch my drift?);
--If your child misses school a lot (perhaps, due to repeated flares, hospitalizations, doctors’ appointments, medical tests, and so on), the “excessive” absence rule and the Phys Ed requirement can be waived;
--Again, if your child misses school a lot, and especially if the absences are often unexpected, double sets of textbooks can be issued at the start of the school year; one set for in-school use, the other set, to be kept at home. In the event that your child suddenly misses school, he/she will not be without the currently assigned textbooks, and will be able to keep up with assignments (or, at least do the reading);
--Your child’s frequent and/or lengthy absences may make him eligible for school sponsored tutoring to supplement his regular work, or homebound instruction if he needs to be out for an extended period;
--Transportation accommodations may be needed, such as being picked up last each morning, and dropped off first at end of the day, on the school bus route.
Outside testing services (such as ETS, ACT, Kaplan) require prior, “official,” disability documentation to allow any testing accommodations for special needs kids. This means that, at the start of each school year, way in advance of registering for the SATs, or Advanced Placement Tests, it is imperative to contact the school guidance counselor to arrange to submit the necessary paperwork.