What Does IDEA Mean to You and Your Child? |
Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, parents
(and students, when they reach the age of the majority) have
A free appropriate public education for your child. Free means
at no cost to you as parents. Appropriate means meeting the
unique educational needs of your child.
Request an evaluation if you think your child needs special
education or related services.
Be notified whenever the school wants to evaluate your child or
change your child's educational placement, or refuses your
request for an evaluation or a change in placement.
Informed consent. Informed consent means you understand and
agree in writing to the evaluation and educational program
decisions for your child. Your consent is voluntary and may be
withdrawn at any time.
Obtain an independent evaluation if you disagree with the
Request a reevaluation if you think your child's present
educational placement is no longer appropriate. The school must
reevaluate your child at least once every 3 years, but your
child's educational program must be reviewed at least once
during each calendar year.
Have your child tested in the language he or she knows best. For
example, if your child's primary language is Spanish, this is
the language in which he or she must be tested. Students who are
deaf have the right to an interpreter during the testing.
Review all of your child's school records. You may request
copies of these records, but the school may charge you a
reasonable fee for making the copies. Only you, as parents, and
those persons directly involved in the education of your child
will be permitted access to personal records. If you feel that
some information in your child's records is inaccurate or
misleading or violates the privacy or other rights of your
child, you may request that the information be changed. If the
school refuses your request, you have the right to request a
hearing in order to challenge the questionable information in
your child's records or you may file a complaint with your state
Be fully informed by the school of all rights that are provided
to you under the law.
Participate in the development of your child's individualized
education program (IEP) or individualized family service plan
(IFSP), if your child is under school age . The school must make
every possible effort to notify you of the IEP or IFSP meeting
and then arrange it at a time and place that is convenient for
both you and the school.
Participate in all IEP or IFSP team decisions, including
Request an IEP or IFSP meeting at any time during the school
Be kept informed about your child's progress at least as often
as parents of children who do not have disabilities.
Have your child educated in the least restrictive environment
possible. Every effort should be made to develop an educational
program that provides your child with the services and supports
needed in order to be taught with children who do not have
Voluntary mediation or a due process hearing to resolve
differences with the school that can not be resolved informally.
Be sure you make your request in writing, date your request, and
keep a copy.
Source: ERIC EC Digest #E567