Special Education and the IDEA
Key aspects of special education law include:
1. Eligibility: IDEA defines which students qualify for special education services based on specific disability categories and the impact of these disabilities on their educational performance.
2. Individualized Education Program (IEP): Schools are required to develop an IEP for each eligible student, outlining their unique needs, goals, and the services and accommodations they will receive.
3. Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE): IDEA ensures that students with disabilities have the right to a free and appropriate education, tailored to their needs, in the least restrictive environment possible.
4. Least Restrictive Environment (LRE): This principle emphasizes that students with disabilities should be educated alongside their non-disabled peers to the maximum extent possible, promoting inclusion and social interaction.
5. Parental Rights: Parents have the right to be involved in the special education process, including participation in IEP meetings, receiving notice of evaluations and decisions, and the ability to dispute decisions through due process procedures.
6. Evaluations and Assessments: Schools are required to conduct assessments to determine a student's eligibility for special education services and to regularly review and update the IEP.
7. Procedural Safeguards: IDEA outlines procedures for resolving disputes between parents and schools, including mediation and due process hearings.
8. Transition Planning: Special education law also addresses the transition of students with disabilities from school to post-school life, including employment or further education.
Least Restrictive Environment (LRE)
The term "LRE" in the context of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) stands for "Least Restrictive Environment." It is a fundamental principle outlined in IDEA, which is a federal law in the United States that governs special education services for students with disabilities.
The LRE principle emphasizes that, to the maximum extent appropriate, students with disabilities should be educated alongside their peers without disabilities in general education classrooms. In other words, schools should provide educational opportunities for students with disabilities in the least restrictive environment that can meet their individual needs.
IDEA also requires schools to provide a continuum of placement options, ranging from regular classrooms to more specialized settings, to ensure that students receive an education tailored to their specific needs. The goal is to promote inclusion and provide students with disabilities the opportunity to interact with their typically developing peers while receiving necessary support and accommodations.
The determination of a student's placement and the extent of special education services they receive is made through an Individualized Education Program (IEP) team, which includes parents, educators, and relevant specialists. This team assesses the student's needs and makes decisions about the appropriate LRE and the services required to support their education.
Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE)
Under IDEA, students with disabilities are entitled to receive a free and appropriate public education tailored to their individual needs. This education must be provided in the least restrictive environment, meaning that students with disabilities should be educated with their non-disabled peers to the maximum extent appropriate. FAPE includes services such as special education, related services, and accommodations necessary for students with disabilities to make progress in their education.
Schools must create an Individualized Education Program (IEP) for each eligible student, outlining the specific services and support they will receive to ensure they receive a meaningful education. FAPE is a critical concept in ensuring that students with disabilities have equal access to educational opportunities.
Section 504 Plans
Written educational plan developed for a child who has a disability identified under the American's with Disabilities Act and is enrolled in an elementary or secondary educational institution and is not eligible for an IEP.
A 504 Plan identifies what accommodations are required to ensure that the student has access to the curriculum and receives an appropriate education. A 504 plan is not as formal as an IEP and is provided to students participating in a general education program.
Accommodations could include some of the following:
- Sitting in the front of the class
- Extra time on tests or homework
- Modified homework
- Having tests read to the student
- Testing in a quiet location
- many other accommodations to meet student needs
Contact a Special Education Attorney in Los Angeles Today
At Bowen & Kennedy, P.C., we pride ourselves on having a special education advocacy team featuring members who have years of experience advising families about special education services, programs, and eligibility requirements. The rights of both parents and children are integral to any case involving a person who receives special education services. Contact us today at 866-372-0569 or complete our online form to schedule a confidential Free 30 minute consultation .