As the parent of a child with special education needs, you understand how difficult it can be to ensure that your child has everything he or she needs in life. Children with certain types of disabilities may require physical support, medical care and more, and it is not always easy to advocate for their needs. One difficult task you may encounter is ensuring that your child has what he or she needs in the classroom. Despite learning difficulties or disabilities, children have certain rights in the classroom.
It may be helpful for you to learn more about the rights your child has in the classroom. A full understanding of special education rights can help you help your child get the support he or she needs and deserves. Your child is entitled to an appropriate educational experience, and as a parent, you can fight to ensure that he or she gets it.
Services and support
Students who have special education needs, often require specific types of support to succeed in the classroom. If a child displays certain behaviors or struggles, you have the right to seek an evaluation of your student’s needs. If he or she qualifies for special education support, your child will have the following rights:
- The right to an Individualized Education Program (IEP) — This is a special support plan tailored to the learning needs of your child, including accommodations, services and more. Schools must follow the terms of an IEP.
- The right to a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) — Each student has the right to a free education, despite their learning deficits and special education needs. A school cannot ask a parent to pay for services that should be part of a free public education.
- The right to a minimally restrictive environment — A school must strive to place a special education student in the least restrictive environment as possible. Special education students should have access to general education classrooms as much as possible unless severe medical, physical or other limitations prevent it.
It can be daunting for a California parent to navigate the special education process. You may be unsure of the rights your child has or what you can do to ensure that they receive an appropriate education. It may be helpful for you to seek an evaluation of your specific situation in order to determine if the school is violating your child’s educational rights, or what steps are necessary to secure the support and services your child needs.