Basics about your child’s rights

At a Glance: Your Rights in the IEP Process

By Andrew M.I. Lee

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You have the right to help shape your child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP). Find out what this means and what the law allows you to do.

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At a Glance: Your Rights in the IEP Process
If your child has an Individualized Education Program (IEP), IDEA guarantees you some important rights. Here’s a look at what they are.
The Right to…
Participate in IEP Meetings
You have the right to participate in all meetings in which your child’s educational needs are discussed. You can request an IEP meeting. You can attend meetings by phone if necessary.
An Independent Evaluation
You can have your child evaluated by outside professionals— but the school doesn’t have to accept the results. You usually have to pay for an independent educational evaluation (IEE). But you might be able to get an IEE at public expense.
Give (or Deny) Consent
A school must obtain your written permission (called “informed consent”) before evaluating your child or providing special education services. You can agree to all, some or none of the services offered.
Contest a School’s Decision
You can ask to meet with the school to reach an agreement with the help of a third party (called “mediation”). You can ask for a due process hearing in which a hearing officer makes a decision. You can file a civil lawsuit.
Private Education Paid by the Public School (in specific circumstances)
If you transfer your child to a private school, the school district doesn’t usually have to reimburse you. But if there was a determination that your child needed services, and the public school doesn’t offer those services or failed to provide them, the school district might have to pay for the tuition.
Graphic of At a Glance: Your Rights in the IEP Process
Graphic of At a Glance: Your Rights in the IEP Process

About the Author

Portrait of Andrew Lee

Andrew M.I. Lee is an editor and former attorney who strives to help people understand complex legal, education and parenting issues.

Reviewed by

Portrait of Bob Cunningham

Bob Cunningham, Ed.M., serves as advisor-in-residence on learning and attention issues for Understood.

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