By Patricia H. Latham
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) says that each child who has a disability and needs special education and related services will receive a free and appropriate public education (FAPE). Here’s a closer look at FAPE.
Patricia Horan Latham, J.D., is an attorney and mediator and the coauthor of eight books on disability and the law.
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At a Glance: Your Rights in the IEP Process
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At a Glance: Your Rights in the 504 Plan Process
“Stay Put” Rights: What They Are and How They Work
I have a question. My son is in the 5th grade and is on the Autism Spectrum. We do online schooling. The school holds class connects where the teacher teaches the lessons, and his teacher was on maternity leave from the begining of school until this week. The other 5th grade teachers were suppose to invite him their class connect sessions and did not, so he wasn't being taught, except for what I could do, for the first 6 weeks of school. What can I do?
Hi, Tatortosmom! Does your child have an IEP, since he is on the spectrum? You could ask for work during the time missed be allowed a grace period for instruction to be made up due to instruction missed, as prescribed and necessary due to IEP/disability. As well, the same request cold be applied to the missed instructional time, for any student really, as the instructional needs of a student were not met during the maternity time of the assigned teacher. You can contact the online school administration and ‘CC’ his teacher to request he be given additional instruction in the lessons missed, as he was not invited into other instructional sessions. Within the request, ask for the assignments to be completed with the supplemental instruction and then graded accordingly. You may want to only request such for the assignments that he needs additional instruction on to be successful to progress in the grade, etc. It would be helpful if you have the provision that the “other other 5th grade teachers were suppose to invite him their class connect sessions.” The online school should be able to note whose class he attended and did not from attendance login records. Please let us know how this goes.
My child has an IEP an is in public school but we keep running in to problems with helth we're concerned of him falling behind can he attend both a homeschool and public school so that his helth problems don't hold him back completely?
Hi, Momgrayam. There are two running underlying items here…one is the IEP and the other is the health. First the IEP…with an IEP, the IEP team can determine scheduling options for a child receiving services. With a third grader, it is of particular importance to make sure the IEP is written in an appropriate manner to meet his needs, as children learn many skills in this grade. Your concern for your son not falling behind due to health reasons is very understandable. You may want to consider calling a meeting of the IEP team (which you are an equal member of) to discuss your concerns. On the matter of the health issues…all students, even those without IEPs, can receive homebound instructional services if a doctor deems it necessitated, etc. If your son has major health issues that require him to be taught at home, you would need to speak to your child’s primary physician about this. Some children do not require permanent or long-term homebound instructional services, but may require intermittent services. You would need to work with your child’s physician and the school administration to coordinate this, if needed. If the student on homebound has an IEP, this service is coordinated in the interim as well. At times, this can require a temporary revision of the IEP itself.
As for as homeschooling…each state has its own regulations related to homeschooling and these regulations can also vary per district. HSLDA has a list of all homeschool legislation and laws per state. Your state department of education website may also list information related to homeschooling in Tennessee. Some parents do homeschool children with learning/attention issues and/or with health issues. Some school districts do offer services for homeschooled students. You would need to contact the school district your child attends to find out what services he could qualify for as a homeschool student and what could be offered.
You do have many options to consider. I know you want to do what is best for your child. I would recommend you talk to the school and school district, and perhaps his physician, to determine which option would best meet his individual learning needs.
is there an issue with FAPE is a student is being forced into special education?
Hi, T2G! Thank you for your question. This question does concern me. A parent has to agree to placement and the IEP for special education services to be administered for a child/student. Something is wrong with any scenario where the parent (or a teacher) feels the student is being forced into special education. FAPE can still be found in the settings and education provided to children who receive services under special education. It is important for the parent and IEP team members of the school to make sure that the student involved receives the education appropriate to his/her individual needs and that the education plan and services aligned with are all outlined in the IEP. If a parent feels the special education is being coerced or forced, the parent needs to seek counsel through the school district administration or district office. The parent may even want to contact the state department of education to ask questions and seek assistance.
Looking for information on how FAPE can be applied to gifted (not twice exceptional) students? How to advocate for acceleration in specific subject areas? What educational rights do gifted children have? What protections? How can parents find more information?
Hi MarcieB82. Thanks for your questions. Neither IDEA nor Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act apply if the student is gifted only. IDEA requirements, including FAPE, only apply if the gifted child is eligible for services under one or more of the 13 conditions covered under IDEA. Gifted services will vary from state to state, and even district to district. You may find this resource helpful: www.nagc.org/.../gifted-education-us
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