Sending a child to school can be nerve-wracking for any California parent. If a parent has a child with special needs, the idea may be even more anxiety inducing. Parents may worry that their child will not be treated fairly or will not receive the specialized teaching that he or she needs to truly learn. However, it is important that parents understand that their child is entitled to a free appropriate public education.
When understanding FAPE guidelines, it may help parents to break down what it truly stands for:
- Free: Parents should not have to pay a non-profit public school for specialized education for their child.
- Appropriate: The educational approach taken for a special needs student should appropriately fit his or her needs and abilities.
- Public: Special education should meet grade-level standards set by the state and should provide the same general curriculum as general education does to other public school students.
- Education: If a child needs an individualized education program, that program should provide educational benefit to the child.
Schools must abide by FAPE guidelines. This means that if a parent has a child with special needs, that parent should be able to work with the school to find a way for his or her child to receive the proper educational approach. In some cases, this could mean creating an individualized education program to meet the child’s specific needs.
In some cases, parents may face pushback from schools or teachers about implementing an IEP. Unfortunately, parents could also find that their child’s school is not providing their child with a free appropriate public education. If this happens, California parents may want to look into their legal options for ensuring that schools follow special education law.