The federal regulations for Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) includes many provisions to protect the rights of parents and their child with a disability while also giving families and school systems means by which to resolve disputes. These rights are known as procedural safeguards. In this section, the concept of initial placement will be discussed.
Before a child may receive any special education services, a meeting must be held to discuss the results of the multi-factored evaluation (MFE) as well as to make a determination if the child has a disability under federal law IDEA or not. If it is determined that a disability is present and that the child requires special education and related services, then a meeting to determine goals and objectives as well as services and placement options will be held. This is the meeting to discuss the Individualized Education Plan or IEP.
Your child may not receive any special education services without your informed consent and written permission which was discussed thoroughly in a previous article. Briefly, you must be given your procedural safeguards in writing as a parent of a child with a disability in your language of choice. This document must be written in easy-to-understand language and you must be permitted the opportunity to ask questions if necessary.
If it is determined that your child has a disability and you do not respond to a request to provide consent for your child to receive special education and related services for the first time, or if you refuse to give your consent, the school district is unable to proceed with any services. No other recourse is available to the school district during the initial process.
If you refuse to grant consent for initial services or if you do not respond to the schools to provide consent then the school district is not: a) in violation of the requirement to make a free appropriate public education (FAPE) available to your child for its failure to provide those services AND b) is not required to have an IEP team meeting or develop an IEP for your child for the special education and related services for which your consent was requested.
If you decide to respond to the district’s request for placement, then depending on the length of time that has passed it may be necessary to start the process all over again to complete additional testing to obtain more current scores and information.