IDEA – Federal Law
The federal law governing the special education system is:
IDEA - The Individuals With Disabilities Education Act
IDEA entitles children with exceptional needs to an "appropriate" education that meets their unique needs. It is a law that creates a formal process for evaluating children with disabilities and for providing specialized programs and services to help children succeed in school.
What is included in an IEP?
- Assessment of your child in all areas of suspected disability.
- Appropriate annual goals to measure your child's progress.
- Your Child's Classroom Placement
Consideration must be given to the full spectrum of placements including general education, resource classes, special day classes, public or non-public schools, or residential schools.
- Other Educational Components
Related services such speech therapy or occupational therapy, specific curricula and teaching methods adapted for the child's disability, behavior programs, extended school year ... to name a few.
What happens in an IEP meeting?
An Individualized Education Plan (known as an IEP) is developed at a meeting that includes a team composed of the child's parents and professionals from your school district. The team will write the IEP and include assessments, annual goals, placement and other educational concerns.
The Term IEP Refers To Several Related Things:
- Initial IEP Meeting
After assessing your child, the school district will convene a meeting to determine if your child is eligible for special education services.
- Annual IEP Meeting
The annual meeting where you and the school develop your child's educational plan for the following year.
- IEP Document
The IEP will contain your child's assessments, educational progress, annual goals, placement, related services, necessary accommodations and modifications and other information required by federal and state law.
What if you think the IEP is not working?
You may request, in writing, another IEP meeting to discuss your concerns.
What if you flat disagree with the school district's decisions regarding assessment, eligibility, placement or services?
You may appeal and request a Due Process Hearing
A Due Process Hearing
If parents disagree with the school district's decisions regarding assessment, eligibility, placement or services, they may appeal and request a Due Process Hearing.
A Due Process Hearing before an impartial Administrative Law Judge of the Office of Administration Hearings will be conducted. Prior to a hearing, and within 15 days of receiving notice of the complaint, the school district shall convene a Resolution Session. If the issues are not resolved, then parents may elect to go to a mediation where a neutral mediator will facilitate negotiations between the parents and school district to reach an agreement.
If an agreement is not reached in mediation, then parents maintain the right to proceed to a hearing.