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Denying Services - Why do Schools Deny Services to Students with Disabilities?

Denial of Special Education and Disability Services - Why are Services Denied?


Updated May 22, 2010

It is a frustrating experience when schools or other agencies deny a type of related service, assistive technology, or other piece of adaptive equipment when parents feel that it is really needed.

In some cases, the agency or school may tell parents why the service is denied. In other cases, parents are left scratching their heads and wondering why the service is denied when it seems like the right thing the child needs.

There may be many reasons why a school provider does not want to accommodate the individual's request. For example, the provider may believe:

  • The request is a want, rather than an actual need;
  • The requested item or service is not guaranteed to be effective, or there is no solid research supporting the use of the item or service;
  • The provider believes it is already meeting the minimum legal and ethical requirements to serve the individual and see the request as more than is required.
  • The request is not related to the provider's obligations. For example, the school district may believe the requested item or service does not address an educational need because it focuses on medical needs.
  • The need can be addressed less expensively;
  • The requested item or service is not compatible with systems already in place or it is an unnecessary duplication; or
  • The request is inappropriate.
The reasons listed above can be valid. If the agency is correct, it may legitimately refuse requests for these reasons.

Sometimes providers are wrong in their rejection of a request. For example, in some cases, the provider may:

  • Deny the request for a service for no apparent reason;
  • Have an incorrect opinion about the service and how it may benefit the child's education;
  • May not fully understand the individual's disability and why the services is essential;
  • May not understand their legal obligations; and in rare cases
  • May be purposely and systematically denying services to keep program costs low.

Denial of Disability Services - What can Parents do when Schools Deny Services to Children with Disability?

Parents may feel there is nothing they can do when their children are denied services. However, parents have options if they wish to continue attempting to get schools to provide services. Learn what to do in my Advocacy Academy.

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