Least Restrictive Environment

The Individuals With Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) In California

Education for all students with disabilities is determined by assessing their unique needs on an individual basis and meeting those needs in the least restrictive environment (LRE).

Inclusion in the general education classroom setting can be the appropriate choice, but the school district may deny your child’s legal right to attend public school within the LRE. When this happens, the attorneys at Augustin Egelsee, LLP can evaluate your child’s circumstances and the available services to determine an effective strategy to get your child the free, appropriate public education (FAPE) he or she is entitled to.

Mandates Of The IDEA

The IDEA mandates that a student must be given a FAPE in the LRE.  This means a student with disabilities should be educated with other students who are nondisabled as much as possible.  A student should not be taken out of the general education classroom unless the disability is so severe that, even with services and supports, he or she cannot learn in the general education classroom.

Although there are no general formulas on deciding what a student’s LRE would be, federal courts have defined several factors to be used as general guidelines to consider when making placement decisions. The first is to compare the benefits a student with disabilities will receive in the general education classroom, with supports and services, compared to the benefits he or she will receive in a more restrictive setting.  The IEP team should also consider the nonacademic benefits of interaction with students who do not have disabilities, such as social skills and modeling appropriate behaviors.

Considering Effects On Others In The Classroom

Not only is the student with the disability to be considered in the placement decision, the effect of the student with a disability’s presence on the teacher and the other children in the classroom, as well as the cost of mainstreaming, can also be factored in.

Even if a student with a disability cannot be placed in the regular classroom full time – the school district must make sure that he or she is mainstreamed as much as possible. This includes extracurricular activities such as field trips, school assemblies, lunchtimes and physical education.

As with all elements of a child’s education, the Individualized Education Program (IEP) team makes the decision to place a child. Parents are crucial members of the IEP team. This decision must be made giving great weight to a child’s unique needs, considering placement options within the LRE. Each decision should be made on an individual basis and take into consideration the unique needs of the child.

Making The Connection

Contact the Orange County special education attorneys using our intake for or by calling Augustin Egelsee at 714-602-1498 or 866-781-7723. We can discuss your circumstances, explain your rights and set you and your family in the right direction.

We provide effective and efficient legal representation with the goal of improving the lives of the children we represent.

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