Being the parent of a special needs child can make navigating the education system a challenge. But it should not be this way.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act provides you with protections and rights to ensure your child gets the best education possible. It is important for you to take full advantage of IDEA by understanding the rights it affords to you and your child.
Receiving a notice
You have the right to receive a notice that clearly explains how IDEA protects and provides for you and your child. The school must provide this notice to you annually and also at certain times when incidents happen, such as you filing a complaint or when your child undergoes an evaluation.
You also have the right to consent to anything that the school wants to happen with your child. The school also must make sure you understand any plans and evaluations. You must approve anything that happens with your child. The school cannot provide your child with special education services without your full consent.
You also have the right to meet with school personnel to discuss your child and the services he or she receives. You should be able to meet with those who work with your child or make decisions about the services offered.
Your child’s rights
Your child has the right to fair treatment. He or she should not have to undergo anything that is embarrassing or upsetting. Your child should get services that enhance his or her school experience and do not cause harm or stress.
Overall, IDEA works to ensure that you and your child have a beneficial experience with special education services. Your main rights are to be informed by the school and to ensure your child is helped through the services provided.