The Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA) is a powerful law.  It says that children with disabilities who are in need of special services to access the educational curriculum are entitled to a Free Appropriate Public Education that confers a meaningful educational benefit in the least restrictive environment.  

The IDEA says that the supports and services provided must be individualized to each child’s particular needs.  Another law, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, removes obstacles to full participation in the educational process and provides disabled children with access to the same school experience enjoyed by their non-disabled peers.  If your child is identified as having a disability and requires specialized support and services in order to fully participate in the school experience, then those supports and services must be provided at no cost to you.

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The IDEA assures other rights, too.

  • As a parent, you can expect to participate in team decisions involving:
    • your child’s evaluation and determination of eligibility, 
    • the preparation of your child’s IEP, and
    • the determination of your child’s appropriate educational placement.

  • As a parent, you can expect that the special education and related services
    contained in the IEP will be provided at no cost to you.

  • As a parent, you must be notified in advance, in your native language,
    whenever the school proposes to change or refuses to change your child’s
    identification, evaluation, and placement.

  • As a parent, you must be provided with access to education records created
    and maintained by the school concerning your child.

  • As a parent, you may contest any school decision you feel is inappropriate
    or not in keeping with the law through mediation or a due process hearing.

  • As a parent, the school must notify you of your rights.

If your child has a disability of any kind – physical, emotional, or psychological – and you feel that his or her IEP is inadequate or not being followed, perhaps something can be done.  If you suspect your child should be evaluated and identified, now is the time to take action.  Your son or daughter has only one childhood in which to learn and prepare for adulthood.  If you have concerns, consider making GoldLaw your partner in the process.

June Gold

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