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.
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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