The federal regulations for Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) includes many safeguards 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.
The rights of parents/children with disabilities include the following:
- The right of parents to receive a complete explanation of all the procedural safeguards available under IDEA and the procedures in the specific state for presenting complaints. This document must be written in easy to understand language as well as be available in various languages for those individuals with English as a second language.
- The right of parents to expect confidentiality of all information as well as inspect and review the educational records of their child.
- The right of parents to participate in meetings related to the identification, evaluation, and placement of their child in special education.
- The right of parents to participate in decisions of placement regarding free, appropriate public education (FAPE) of their child.
- The right of parents to obtain an independent educational evaluation (IEE) of their child.
- The right of parents to obtain prior written notice on matters relating to the identification, evaluation, placement and provision of free, appropriate public education (FAPE).
- The right of parents to give or deny their consent before the school may take certain action with respect to their child with a disability.
- The right of parents to disagree with decisions made by the school system on those issues.
- The right of parents and schools to use IDEA’s steps for resolving disagreements, including the right to appeal determinations.
These are not the only procedural safeguards provided under IDEA, but they are the most relevant to the majority of parents and children with disabilities. It is essential to understand your rights as a parent in order to help your child receive the best education. If you wish you may obtain an advocate if you feel uncertain in the decision making process regarding the special education of your child.
In upcoming articles, more information on these topics will be discussed.