Requesting IEP to Discuss Placement - click here.
Placement: A Guide for Parents and Advocates
WHAT IS AN EDUCATIONAL PLACEMENT?
A placement decision is made after the
team develops an IEP. A placement is not just a physical location; it
is a package of services. For example, a child’s placement may be a
self-contained classroom for children with emotional disturbance.
There may be three different locations in the district where this
placement could occur. A change from one location to another would not
usually be considered a change of placement if the IEP services
remain the same.
HOW IS PLACEMENT DECIDED?27
The placement decision must be made by
a group of people that includes someone with knowledge about the child
and the meaning of evaluation results, and someone familiar with
placement options. Parents must be included in this group.
The placement decision is based on
test results, teacher recommendations, and the student's needs as
dictated by the IEP. The placement must be one where all the IEP goals
and objectives can be addressed.
Placement options include:
- a regular classroom;
- a regular classroom with
modifications and/or supplemental aids and services;
- a resource room for special
education instruction with instruction in a regular classroom;
- a classroom for children with
disabilities located in a regular school;
- day or residential special schools,
where many or all students may have disabilities; and
- a home, hospital, or institution
WHAT IS LEAST RESTRICTIVE
Congress has found that the education
of children with disabilities can be more effective by having high
expectations and ensuring access to the general curriculum to the
maximum extent possible.
By law, children with disabilities
must be educated in the least restrictive environment. A child must be
educated in the regular classroom with supplemental aids and services
unless he or she cannot be satisfactorily educated there. Supplemental
aids and services may include adaptations to classroom materials,
special materials or equipment (including assistive technology), or an
individual instructional assistant.
deciding a child's placement the school district must consider any
potential harmful effects, as well as positive effects on the child.
The district must also consider the quality and quantity of services
the child needs. In addition, the educational impact on other
students in the class must be considered.
Thus, a regular classroom, may not be
appropriate even with aids and services, if the child is greatly
agitated by the noise and movement of a large group or is so
disruptive that other students are unable to learn.
When a child is removed from a regular
classroom, the school district must ensure that, whenever appropriate,
the child will be with children who are in regular classes for
nonacademic and extracurricular activities.
Unless the IEP requires another
arrangement, children must be educated in the school they would attend
if not disabled. If the IEP requires a different placement, the
location of the placement must be as close as possible to the child's
WHAT IF I DON'T LIKE THE PLACEMENT?
Any change in placement must be based
on the child's IEP. Placement decisions must be reviewed each time the
IEP is significantly revised. Since IEPs must be reviewed annually,
placement decisions also must be made at least annually.
However, parents have the right to
request a change in placement whenever they feel a placement is not
working. The placement team, which includes the parents, meets to
discuss and decide placement.
CAN YOU VISIT YOUR CHILD'S
Prior to making a placement decision,
school districts should give parents the opportunity to visit the
proposed placement setting so parents can determine whether that
setting would be appropriate for their child.
Once the placement decision has been
made, you should still be able to visit the classroom. School
districts may have policies about school visitation by parents and
guests, designed to eliminate distractions to both students and staff.
So long as the policies are reasonable and applied equally to all,
they should be followed. Such policies may limit the amount of time of
your visit, and the cumulative amount of visitation time per week or
month. However, policies that do not allow you or your guests to take
notes, or that limit your visitation time to a particularly small
amount of time are probably not reasonable.
WHAT ARE MY PLACEMENT RIGHTS?29
- Parents have the right to sit on
the placement team and participate in discussions and decisions
- Parents have the right to give or
withhold consent for the child's first placement in special
education. If parents do not consent, however, the school district
may use due process hearing procedures to override the parents'
refusal to consent. School districts may choose to do this because
of their legal obligation to provide all students with disabilities
a free appropriate public education.
- Parents have the right to receive
prior written notice any time the district proposes a change in
placement. Parents also have the right to written notice any time
the district refuses to change the child's placement at the request
of parents. See
Parents may request an IEP meeting, mediation, write a letter of
complaint, or request a due process hearing to resolve any
disagreement about placement. See