When and How to Seek OOD Placement: Part 1

For all children, and particularly those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), receiving appropriate educational services is vital for their growth and development.

But what if you have argued for years for the substantial services your child is receiving at school, and they are not making the expected progress? What if the IEP (individualized education plan) goals are the same, year after year? What if the school district refuses to provide the services you deem necessary?

In these cases, seeking an out-of-district placement may be necessary to ensure that your child with autism receives the specialized support they need. 

However, securing this OOD (out-of-district) placement, and having it paid for or reimbursed by the school district is a complex and often difficult process. With the right support along the way, and knowledge of what steps to take, this process is easier to navigate, and well worth the time and effort.

What is OOD Placement?

Out-of-district placement is necessary when the school district cannot offer your child a free and appropriate education to meet their specific needs, as required by law. For some students, this will be schooling at home, and for many, this will be a private school for children with special needs, such as Gersh Academy

The easiest way to secure OOD placement is through an IEP placement. This is when the school district is in agreement that they cannot provide a FAPE (free appropriate public education) for the child and takes responsibility for all associated costs.

Many OOD placements, however, are known as unilateral parental placement. This is when the parent believes the school district is not meeting their child’s needs, and will need to prove the private school is imperative to their growth in order to receive financial assistance from the district. 

What to Consider When Looking for OOD Placement

Before considering an out-of-district placement, it’s crucial to have a thorough understanding of your child’s individual needs. Consult with their therapists, teachers, and doctors to gain insight into the unique educational and support services required for their optimal development. This understanding will guide your decision-making and help determine if an OOD placement is necessary.

Look through their IEPs over the years, evaluations, and any additional measurable data. Then ask yourself these questions:

  • What is the environment for your child in which they will learn the best?
  • Can your school district provide this environment?
  • Is your child progressing, as seen through data?
  • Are their IEP goals changing over the years to demonstrate growth?
  • Are they often sent to the nurse’s office for potential symptoms of overwhelm or anxiety?
  • Do you receive phone calls or emails multiple times a week regarding your child’s behavior?

Often, children with autism require a specialized and individualized education. They need the assistance of a teacher uniquely qualified to work with children with ASD to thrive. 

Seeking this OOD placement for your child can be a challenging process, which we will detail in the next blog in this series. However, by collaborating with professionals, and continuing to be the advocate for your child’s rights, you will ensure the right educational environment for their development.

Gersh Academy has a variety of educational programs and services suited to the needs of children with autism. Our expert teachers, on-campus therapies, and opportunities to hone social skills are just some of the things we offer your child. Reach out to discuss what our schools provide.



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