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Special Education: Protecting Your Child, Protecting Your Rights

October 2016

If you think your child needs special education services, this guide can help you have your child evaluated to see what services are needed. You will also learn how to help make sure your child gets the services he or she needs to do well in school.

Si usted cree que su niño necesita servicios de educación especial, esta guía le puede ayudar para que su hijo sea evaluado para determinar qué servicios son necesarios. También aprenderá como asegurarse de que su niño reciba los servicios que él o ella necesita para hacer bien en la escuela.

Placement in Special Education

Where will my child get special education services?

Your child’s special education program may be given in

  • regular classes with support services,
  • special classes or schools,
  • your home,
  • a hospital, or
  • a residential program.

Your child must be placed in the least restrictive environment possible. This means your child should stay in the regular classroom unless the team decides that your child cannot be successful there, even with support services. Support services might include

  • an aide in the classroom,
  • use of computers or other technology, or
  • changes to the regular education curriculum.

Remember: The school district must pay for the special education program and the services recommended by the Planning and Placement Team.

What happens after my child is placed in special education?

After your child has been placed in a special education program, a PPT meeting must be held

  • at least once a year,
  • whenever you ask for one (within reason),
  • if your child is suspended for 10 or more days,
  • before the PPT can change or remove your child’s special education services.

The school must tell you in writing every time a PPT meeting is scheduled. The school must also give you a written explanation of your legal rights once during each school year and whenever you ask for one (within reason).

The annual PPT meeting

At the annual PPT meeting, you and the other team members will talk about your child's progress towards the goals and objectives in the current IEP and develop an IEP for the next school year. The team should consider

  • your child's strengths,
  • your child’s areas of improvement,
  • your concerns,
  • the results of any evaluations,
  • behaviors that may interfere with your child's learning, and
  • whether your child needs technology to help communicate.

Can my child's IEP be changed?

Yes. Make sure any changes are put in writing and given to all of the team members. You should ask for a copy of the revised IEP for your records, too.

A PPT meeting will usually be held before a child’s IEP is changed, but there may be times when you and the school agree to a change without holding a meeting. This type of change is called an Amendment to the IEP. There is a form you must fill out (form ED634), and the agreement is only official after you’ve signed and returned it.

Will my child be evaluated again?

Yes. Your child must be reevaluated at least once every three years unless you and the school agree otherwise. Evaluations must also be held

  • before any significant changes are made to a child’s special education placement, and
  • before a child is removed from special education.

Discipline of Special Education students

My child is eligible for special education. What happens next?

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