Most parents don’t know they have rights in the IEP process. Recently, I had a conversation with a very concerned mother… it went something like this;
Mother; “But, I’ve only been invited to my son’s IEP meeting every three years…”
Me; No response, since I was literally speechless…
Mother; “Are you there?”
Me; “Yes, I’m here, and I’m about to fly over to your son’s school and read them the “riot act!” It’s your RIGHT to be invited to every single IEP meeting your child has… that’s a minimum of once a year!”
Mother; “Oh, I didn’t realize that… ugh, it would have helped a lot to work with his teacher to figure out how to help…”
The Special Education Process is Flawed
I cannot tell you how often I hear crazy things like this from the parents I work with…
The scary part… it’s not their fault!
The system is flawed and in some cases, RIGGED!
The language used in an IEP and during an IEP meeting usually requires a four-year degree to decipher…
Well, conversations like these over the years have led to us creating a program to ENSURE children get the exact services they deserve from their school…
Want One-On-One IEP Help?
More on that in a little bit...
First, let’s understand the rights that you have as a parent!
What Are Your Rights in the Special Education Process?
When it comes to special education, parental involvement is paramount to the success of a child!
This is especially true during all aspects of the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) creation, changes, and anything else related to this vital process.
As a parent, you can initiate the IEP process. So it’s essential that you understand your rights and responsibilities to ensure that the process is efficient and collaborative.
Parents whose children are aged 3 to 21 years and have a disability are entitled to different rights when it comes to IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act).
Furthermore, these rights are typically referred to as procedural safeguards and are extended to a child’s guardians and the student themselves when they turn 18.
8 Parental Rights In The IEP Process
#1 Right To Participate
Every parent has the right to participate in all decision-making meetings held to develop an IEP for their child.
These meetings are backed by FAPE (Free Appropriate Public Education) and include the child’s;
- Educational Placement
- Any Other Matter Pertaining To Their Education
In the case there isn’t a parent available for these meetings, a surrogate parent should be appointed by the district to help represent the child adequately.
#2 Right To Written Notice
You have the right to receive written notice before any changes are made. This pertains to changes in:
- Educational placement initiated by the school district
#3 Right To Consent
Parents have the right to provide informed, written consent for the special education IEP. This should be before the assessment process or the provision of special education and related services.
This consent is necessary before any changes are done to the program already in place. Parents should only supply their consent once they have a clear understanding of the IEP team proceedings.
Also, you have a right to request an interpreter if your native language is different from English or you are deaf. You should also have all IEP documents and written notices translated.
Keep in mind; parents have the right to refuse the evaluation or educational placement of their child.
#4 Right To Access Educational Records
If your child is enrolled in special education and has an IEP you have the right to their educational records. This me you can…inspect, evaluate, and request copies of your child’s educational records.
#5 Right To Request A Hearing
You have the right to request a hearing for any complaints concerning the provision of FAPE.
During the hearing, you can request that an advocate, attorney, or if appropriate, your child be present. Furthermore, parents have the choice to make the hearing public.
#6 Right To Keep Child In Current Placement
You have the right to disagree with any proposals to change your child’s placement. When a disagreement surfaces, your child should remain in their current program until resolved.
#7 Right To Mediation
When a disagreement arises, parents are free to seek voluntary and impartial mediation to help find a mutually agreed-upon solution regarding their child’s special education IEP.
#8 Right To Information On Disciplinary Action
Children enrolled in special education have specific rules when it comes to suspension or expulsion.
If these instances extend for more than ten days, an IEP meeting should be called to assess how their disability could be contributing to the child’s misconduct.
Additionally, the participants should discuss the potential for an alternative placement as an alternative.
Why It Is Important to Know Your Rights in the IEP Process
The parent is an essential member of the IEP team. You should actively participate in the progress of your child’s education and performance.
IDEA guarantees the rights of parents formulating the necessary educational programs and decisions that will benefit their child. It is, therefore, important for you to exercise your rights responsibly to guarantee the success of your child.
The world of special education is a big one. This means there’s a lot of information parents should be aware of describing the;
- Complexities Of Services
- Tips and Tricks To Gaining Proper Opportunity
The more information you have, the better equipped you will be to make future decisions for your child with special needs to ensure their success.
How Can We Help?
Consequently, Special Education Resource was explicitly created to help parents of children with special needs find the information and assistance necessary to help their child reach their excellence.