Special Education services through my local school district.
Special Education Rights
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) orders that all children in the U.S. receive a free and appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment possible, provided by their local school district. However, the process differs in its details from state to state & sometimes from school district to school district. The basic outline consists of an initial evaluation, followed by the development & ongoing evaluation of an Individualized Education Plan (IEP).
- Evaluation – When a parent or teacher suspects that a child’s difficulties in the classroom are disability-related, they should contact the school district’s Committee on Special Education (CSE). Upon receiving parental consent, the CSE will then evaluate the child’s physical, social, psychological and behavioral development. If parents have arranged for any independent evaluations, they should provide those findings to the committee. The parents and committee then jointly determine whether or not the child should receive special education services. If so, an IEP team is assembled to create an instructional plan.
- IEP – This document establishes goals and an implementation plan for each school year. Education policy generally holds that youngsters learn best in the least restrictive environment, but parents and school districts work together to determine the best mix of mainstream classroom and specialized education settings.
- Your Child’s Rights – Schools must notify parents of any plans to evaluate a child or to modify an IEP. Parents have the right to attend all IEP meetings and to request sessions to discuss potential IEP changes. They are entitled to an impartial hearing if they disagree with a course of action proposed by the school district. This is typically the point at which they seek the services of a special needs attorney.
If at any time you feel your child’s rights are being violated, contact your special needs attorney &/or a local advocate.