The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) mandates that all children in the U.S. receive a “free and appropriate public education” in the least restrictive environment possible, provided by their local school district. While the process differs in its details from state to state-and sometimes from school district to school district– the basic framework consists of an initial evaluation, followed by development and ongoing implementation of a “504 plan” or an Individualized Education Plan (IEP).

A 504 plan levels the playing field for students with disabilities, while IEPs focus on the provision of individualized, special education and related services.

As Advocate for parents and children with special needs, when a parent or teacher suspects that a child’s difficulties in the classroom are learning-related, the child school’s special education department should be noticed for testing. If the school district finds reason to suspect a disability and the parents’ consent to an evaluation, the child ‘school should plan testing with the following, physical, social, psychological, and behavioral development for the child to be assessed. After the assessment, the goal and objective are planned. Sometime these steps can take months or years. This is where, my team and I step in the help the parents understand their child legal rights. The parents and school committee joints together to determine whether the child should receive special education services. If so, an IEP team is assembled to create an instructional plan.

Your Child’s Rights – Schools must notify parents of any plans to evaluate a child or to modify an IEP. Parents have the right to attend all IEP meetings and to request sessions to discuss potential IEP changes. They are entitled to an impartial hearing if they disagree with a course of action proposed by the school district.