Can I Revoke Consent for a Service in the IEP?

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Teacher and student working togetherMy son is dyslexic. He has an IEP and receives services in a special education classroom. Because he is not making enough progress, I enrolled him in the Barton Reading program. The school is implementing a new reading program that will conflict with the Barton program.

If I refuse consent for this new intervention program, can the school terminate my son’s IEP?

No.  You can revoke your consent for special education services in writing at any time. (Note: The regulations about a parent withdrawing consent for special education services changed on Dec 31, 2008.)

As the parent,  you represent your child’s interests. You are a key member of the IEP team. When you negotiate with the school on your child’s behalf, you increase the odds that your child will receive appropriate special education services that are designed to meet his unique needs.

The school must obtain your consent before your child is evaluated, reevaluated, or placed in special education. Consent means that you understand and “agree in writing” that the school may carry out the activity for which they need your consent. Granting consent is voluntary. You may revoke your consent at any time. (see Regulations adopted on December 31, 2008 at

Implementing Part of the IEP

You can allow the school to implement parts of the IEP. The school may not draw a line in the sand, or force you to accept the IEP “all or nothing.”  The school may not use your refusal to consent to one service to deny other services, benefits, or activities in your child’s IEP. (34 C.F.R. § 300.300(d)(3)) See page 24, Wrightslaw: All About IEPs, and page 239, Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition.

After you revoke consent for a service, the school may not continue to provide that service. (Regulations adopted by USDOE, effective December 31, 2008 at

If you don’t want your child to receive a particular special education or related service,  and you and the school agree that your child will receive FAPE without that service, the school should remove the service from the child’s IEP. Be sure to put your request in writing.

  1. if I am going through due process can I remove my son from special services and still go to due process hearing which after mediation on 6/2 they have scheduled for September?????

  2. To whom should the letter be addressed to revoke consent for a child to receive special services in the IEP? I have searched a few areas and I cannot locate this specific information

  3. I have a child who has been in special education since elementary school. Currently she is in 8th grade, homeschooled through a charter school in California. We have been told by the school many times that we can not refuse a specific service. We should accept all or nothing. Finally the beginning of this year, we had an IEP and we signed the papers saying we refuse all services. We have seen huge improvements in her progress since we are not running around to therapist’s every single day. Now the school tells us that next year, in high school, if we decide to stay with them we have to accept all therapies. I am not sure if they can legally do this.

  4. My son is in a special education school for more than one year. Over the year he was doing well but recently is refusing to do better and cannot cope any longer with the struggles of other kids (perhaps with greater needs) and lack of academic standards (he’s bored). However, because of the recent off task behavior, since he has “checked out” of participating, they refuse to mainstream him back to regular school (last quarter he was doing great and said they would do it this quarter but now are pulling back on it). I’ve called for an IEP review with the intention of discussing placement. School has said they will say he still belongs there. So then it’s due process and central meeting which takes 20 days and I’m not likely to win that one either. Meanwhile he’s out of school 30 days. While its not my first choice, and I would prefer the trial mainstream, if I revoke his special education services and IEP, can I then move him to his home regular middle school out of this program? Also I can’t find online, if I revoke special education and IEP, is he never eligible again his entire school years or would a later school potentially identify needs should they arise?

    • I hope you found an answer to your issues. I am a special education teacher in California. You can legally determine the placement of your student. You do not (and should not) revoke all special education services in his IEP, because it sounds like he does need support. Instead, insist on trialing him in mainstream. If they disagree, refuse to sign the IEP and take it to due process. Ask for “RSP support” or “resource” minutes for your child.

      Does he have an intellectual disability? What is his eligibility?

      • They refused to move him and I didn’t want further disruption of being out of school for more than 30 days going through that process and also relalized and researched that he can be found eligible at a later date for services so I revoked special education and enrolled him in his proper local middle school the next day and so far it’s good. He started high school now and I’m sure some of his academics will suffer without the additional support, but he’s around peers behaving well to a higher standard and slightly more challenged, so crossing my fingers. He was tagged adhd, mild pdd and it emerged further into behavior issues and was in a “special school”.

      • Hello Matt we are in California as well my son is 13 and was diagnosed with ED when he was in the second grade the school told my husband and I he could either be placed in a general Ed class and get pulled out for certain classes or he could be placed in a special classroom where there were less kids and the teacher to pay more attention and help him more so of course my husband and I may be hard decision to have him placed in the special ed classroom especially because he was behind academically forward to fourth grade they gave him a one on one behavioral aid and was doing a bit better now he’s in 7th grade and I want him to have some gen Ed classes but they say he might not be ready but we think the special Ed class is holding him back. Any advice would be great

  5. My son was given an IEP and I gave my consent. Two days later they had a meeting with his estranged father and they changed his IEP and added that my child speak to a social worker once a week. Can I give my consent to deny all services and remove my son from having an IEP even if his estranged father still gives his consent to have one? They are not focusing on helping him in school the social worker is asking my son about his home life and if he has thought of hurting himself since a hearing was scheduled to remove his estranged father’s parental rights.

  6. Hi, my son is in a California high school and has been a part of an IEP since elementary school. He’s now in the 10th grade. I want to transfer him to the ICE program for independent study. I was told If he is receiving IEP he is not eligible for ICE. He spent most of the 9th grade struggling and barely passed (all D’s). This year I’m seeing some of the same signs…failing math 1 month into the school year. How can I get out of IEP to put him in a program that I choose for him? I find this unfair. I know what is best for him. If he’s barely passing, then how is IEP helping?

  7. My fourth grade daughter has an IEP for speech. She has, over the summer, made extensive gains with an alternative speech teacher. I contacted the school saying we wanted to finish her speech with the private teacher other than the pull out sessions within the school day. The school speech teacher said we had to finish with her. Can we decline services mid IEP?

      • You should check your state’s policies. In our state, the district has an obligation to provide FAPE. If the IEP committee, which includes the parent, agrees changes can be made to the IEP, including removing certain services, and still provide FAPE, then services can be removed. However, if the school thinks the service is necessary for your child to receive FAPE, you cannot withdraw consent for one or more services. The IEP has to include all services REQUIRED to provide FAPE. Also, you cannot refuse special education services and accept only related services. Nor can you refuse FAPE to get 504.

  8. My son’s school (he’s in Kindergarten) feels that he should receive special education services for behavior. Hitting, running out of class. He shows no aggression at home. Therapist stated ADHD. I think school is trying to bully me to agree to testing. I spoke to OT however, we just had a meeting and they’re asking me again for testing. I want to do my own testing. School says if I’m not happy with the school, why is he there? Magnet school is my only option right now. I feel they’re trying to force me out because I don’t want to consent to testing. I just want to move at my own pace and not be forced to do testing on my son. I have the right to do my own testing. not sure what to do?

    • My son had the same issues that only manifested in public. We found out through our own testing with Nuerologist, Pediatricians and Occupational Therapists that he had Sensory Processing Disorder (Sensory Integration Dysfunction). Our family counselor originally thought it was ADHD and it’s a common diagnosis. Not a lot of school administrator are familiar with the neurobehavioral disorders, because they focus on Autism or ADHD. I did and still experience bullying of school administrators, just stay strong, you know your son best.

      • My daughter in kentergarden and the school is bullying us from the scond week of start of school. . The IEP is trying to move my kid to other school for special education. So the teacher can get rid of my daughter who likes to sing.

  9. As a Child I grew up with ADHD. and yes they do give you a IEP for that. and Get your child off the IEP. I had to drop out of highschool so i could avoid the great NY state IEP diploma that has no value and By education standards and Employment. your children will either need stay in highschool to get their GED or HIGHSCHOOL Diploma! Teachers tend to leave this little info out because the IEP is a money making Scam that schools prey on children with Learning disabilities. WE have the right to learn the same material as the “normal” kids do. STOP THE IEP MONEY MONGERING OF OUR CHILDREN!

    • It isn’t the IEP that’s the problem, it’s the public education system itself. The law mandates that special education students must have the same education as everyone else–that’s what the IEP is for, to make that possible. But the public school system doesn’t want to expend the time and money to make that happen, so they just go through the motions and make it appear on paper that they’re complying with the law. Nor does anyone really tell the student or parents what their rights are. There’s not sufficient oversight and checks and balances for the system to work the way it should. Many of us are working very hard to change the system into one that actually works like it’s supposed to. If you go around telling people that the IEP is a money making scam (which isn’t true), you will destroy al that hard work and what little progress we’ve made.

  10. I was wondering if someone could help me with this, my son is in 4th grade on an IEP, the school suggested that he attend a more specialized facility. I thought I was going on a tour and afterward felt completely ambushed into signing a change of placement. After I got home and began to think about the situation as a whole, I informed the school and the school board within a day that I had changed my mind and was not sending my child to school at this place. He never started there and when I informed the school, they are denying me the right to send my child back to where he was originally. My son has been out of school now for almost a week while I’m trying to figure out what to do. They never told me that if I signed this I had no recourse in changing my mind and now I’m oblivious of what to do.

    • The school cannot hold you hostage. But would the change of placement benefit your students/child overall learning and ability to progress? As a school the school has the responsibility to provide the best possible educational opportunity in the least restrictive environment. Make sure that you are looking at all of the facts for your child before you withdraw your child from the new program/school that the district suggested. You have the right to request an immediate IEP meeting to address this situation and the school cannot leave your student out of school longer than a 10 day period of time without conducting a manifestation determination hearing. So you have time and the law on your side.

      • Robert, can you point me to anywhere where the law says “to provide the best possible education….”

        • Ken,
          That isn’t what the law says. It guarantees a free and “appropriate” education in the least restrictive environment. Get a copy of Wrights Law, which will explain. Hope this helps.

  11. This is a very helpful website. Thanks so much to the creator.

    I do have another question.
    My son is in IEP, WA State. School has IEP in his records. I want to revoke the IEP, but I want the school to erase this label from his school records. As other parents mentioned here once the school system label your child it’s as they are being hostage and the school system do not want to let go. Is this legal? Thank you so much. Elizabeth

    • Elizabeth, Congratulations on your student being able to progress in the regular educational programming without the need for specialized services. The unfortunate truth is that the student records cannot be altered in any way. You can revoke the IEP but if I may suggest to review the IEP. Make sure that you know that your student will not need ANY specialized services. The reason for this is once you have the documentation in place do not let your belief that being labeled a special education student can impede your childs ability to move into the college arena. You can refuse any and all services if this is your choice. But there were specific reasons for having your student identified as needing specialized services. Revisit those needs before you make any decisions.

  12. Hi. My son is in the IEP at his school; he is 7 and repeated kindergarten. Now, he is in the first grade. My son’s initial diagnosis was “developmental delay”. I agreed and consented to initially have him evaluated because of some concerns. My son was making some progress his second year in kindergarten. However, his special ed teacher moved last year and was replaced with a new teacher. After the beginning of this school year (first grade) my son’s special ed teacher had concerned about regression. I have been working with him over the summer and I haven’t seen any regression. In fact, his general teacher has been giving him pretty good remarks, while his special ed teacher is more harsh. I consented for re evaulation of his IEP but now I am thinking that I should revoke the program altogether, then maybe he will do much better!

  13. My Child has an IEP. He is currently receiving speech therapy and support services for Language and Math. He does not need the math and language support. I have asked more than once to cancel these services and just keep the speech. The answer is no. I feel that he is being held hostage by the document. I want to cancel the language and math services. Do I have to put my request in writing? I thought that as a parent I had the right to end the services.

    • you do. Speech therapy and language services do not run hand in hand. I am wondering why the math goals? examine the Psychological eval documentation closely or ask for clarification in a requested IEP meeting. It is here you can make the necessary changes.

  14. My son is enrolled in IEP program… 4th grade…I do not believe he belongs in this program and he should be mainstreamed…can I request for him to be pulled out…how do I do so…his annual revaluation is coming and I do not want to give consent…it sounds like I don;t have to…what do I do…?

    • Hello. Did you pull him out. I’m having the same question. I want to see pull him out.
      What did you do?

      • A parent can convince the IEP team to try a different program or they can use the dispute resolution process to try to get them to change it.

  15. Please help! We are trying to remove my daughters IEP that we regretfully agreed to prior to knowing she would be held hostage. We were told by a teacher that she could benefit from help in reading and math. She has NO documented learning disorders, she was just struggling a bit. But the school is making sure they are going to get their funding. This year we have had her returned to her normal classroom for reading and math and she is doing very well. She is currently getting help in writing, great but again I think she could thrive within her regular classroom setting. But, the IEP still is in place and they told us if we pull her from Speech, which she has ZERO Speech impairment and has no need for, that would cancel the whole IEP? can we/they do that?

    • You can revoke consent for the IEP and it goes away. The school cannot fight you on it at all. This website does talk about this very situation. Search the site, revoke IEP and you’ll find your answer.

  16. My son’s last-consented-to IEP includes a 15-minute pullout service to work on one organizational goal. At the end of last year, I told the IEP team that I did not believe he needed this goal or service. They would not remove it, and so I did not sign the annual review. We are in stay-put. At the beginning of this year, knowing this 15-minute service would interfere with his academic classes (he has a full schedule), I revoked consent for this one service in writing. The school responded and said I could not “retroactively” revoke consent. From September until now (February) the school has continued to insist they must provide the service and claim if they don’t he won’t receive FAPE. My son and I are beyond frustrated. What can we do?

  17. kc, services are independent of one another on an IEP. If one service is deleted it does not automatically mean that all services are deleted. If the school threatened to do this request that comment in writing. I believe they will not put that in writing as it is illegal. Usually a parent cannot just request an end to a service. It should be a team decision. Request an IEP meeting & discuss it. See why they do not want to release him from the services. You may agree with what hey say. If not you can bring in evidence as to why you think he no longer needs speech.

  18. my son is being served in Special Education for SLD, OHI, and SI. He will be entering high school in the Fall. I told his teachers at the meeting that I did not want him to receive services in High School for Speech. Speech, I understand is a related service. I was later told that if I ask for speech to be discontinued, I forfeit my rights for any special education services what so ever. This does not seem right. As a parent, don’t I have the right to accept and deny services for my child? After reading this I feel like I am okay, but I want to make sure.

  19. Nancy,
    It is my understanding that “stay put” occurs when a due process lawsuit is in place. I have not signed IEP’s & some of my friends have not either. What will happen is that the school will need to send you a Prior Written Notice letter to explain why they want to do what they are telling you. Sometimes when you refuse to sign more negotiation and talks occur. Sometimes the school will move forward and send the prior written notice telling you they are going to move forward. Hold your ground if you believe you are right. GEt together with professionals to get evidence on your side. This will go far. You can always consider hiring an attorney even for a mediation before going into full blown due process.

  20. can a parent demand a specific ABA provider? If I decline to sign the current IEP does “stay put” include the specific ABA provider at the time of the last agreed upon IEP. Can the district replace the ABA provider from the last agreed upon IEP with a different ABA provider?

  21. This may be an old statement that you made in 2010, because I work as an OT in the schools within Washington state, and we have been told the IEP is an “all or nothing” agreement. So, now I am confused.
    If a parent wants to remove OT services, but continue with the other goal areas, is that allowed? What happens when the parent wants OT reinstated?
    Also, does the term revoke apply only to special education as a total service? Or is the word revoke used when it is only one goal area of the IEP they want to eliminate service in? Thank you

  22. Our district is using this against us – the school says if we revoke consent for one service, we have revoked consent for all services and lose them. Actually, we didn’t even revoke consent, but asked the school not to have one sub work with our child

    They have brought Due Process against us for revocation of consent. Please help us understand under what conditions, if any, parents are allow to partially revoke consent.

  23. My son receives physical therapy & we are not happy with his physical therapist. I know the school has to provide the service as it is in his IEP, but can we change therapists & are they required to provide a different one? We are in NY.

  24. My daughter has Down Syndrome and is registered at our neighborhood school. Last year she attended pre-K in a General ed classroom and her teacher has recommended inclusion. Our school district in GA places all Kindergarteners and 1st graders in a Program non catagorical unit which is a self contained classroom. Our local school has a Special ed teacher, but no PNC unit. The school has told us that if we do not send her to the school with the PNC it means we are declining special ed services and she will no longer be eligible for Speech, Hearing impaired services, etc. They said, It’s all or nothing and we can’t pick and choose services. Is asking for placement in our local school in an inclusive classroom the same as declining services? Can they take away speech and other services if we do so?

  25. In California, We have a regional center ABA provider and the School is using a different provider. We can not force the school to switch. After our IEP, we stated that there should be one provider to keep the same techniques, methodologies, and curriculum the same. The school has made FAPE but we still have the right not to consent to their provider and have done so for the past year. They are still providing ABA services. The next step is getting a restraining order. I am surprised that the school’s “provider” would not just walk away? They are just a bad ABA provider and do not consider what parents wants and needs for their unique child (its all about money). Hope the other parents that read this do not have a school district that is so hateful.

  26. Your statement that parents can revoke consent for only part of special education services is wrong. Under the headline “Implementing Part of the IEP,” and immediately following your commentary that a parent can provide forward-looking consent to only certain services (which is accurate), you state:

    “After you revoke consent for a service, the school may not continue to provide that service. (Regulations adopted by USDOE, effective December 31, 2008 at”

    Parental revocation of consent for provision of special education services is an all or nothing proposition, and this is made explicitly clear in the federal regulations and commentary. It is unlike forward-looking consent in this respect. There is no ability to retroactively revoke consent for only part of an IEP.

  27. A. Hoover – You need to request in writing a reading and language arts standardized test by the school. I would send it certified mail to the special ed director and copy the principal. Put in why and that you are looking forward to hearing back from them in 5 business days. When you meet to discuss this be sure to ask if there is a paper that the school has you sign for this testing request. In my district the “60 day clock” does not start ticking until the school’s paperwork is signed by you. This way you will not waste time since your child is in 11th grade. Students may remain in school until age 22 so you have time to get the services you need for your child. It is part of an education system to teach your child to read. It is your child’s right.

  28. I have been at odds with the school district and their failure to implement IDEA 2004 as of the day of writing this! All I have ever asked, pleaded, begged and have now demanded is that they “TEACH MY DAUGHTER TO READ AT THE MOST BASIC LEVEL”! She has NEVER been assessed to see which program will work for her and in fact her teacher at a meeting in May 2009 stated “I have been using this program for 31 years and it works fine for me”! (direct quote) I advised her I was not interested in what “works” for her, but what works for my daughter…nothing done. She is in the 11th grade (they have insisted she is “pre-academic”) and I want them to retain her in that grade/find the reading program that WORKS FOR MY DAUGHTER, and teach her to read. THEY HAVE REFUSED THIS REQUEST FOR YRS. They treat these children as if they are “herded cattle”.

    • A. Hoover: Retention may not be the answer for your child, but you are right about the fact that they need to teach her to read. Your comment – not interested in what “works” for the teacher, but what works for your daughter – was priceless. What 31 year old program is the teacher using? How does it measure up in the reports from FCRR, intended to help teachers, principals, and district personnel choose materials that will be used by skilled teachers to provide effective instruction.

      For more info and resources on teaching a child to read go to:

  29. My daughter is in IEP and she has been doing better since i have taken control of making sure she does her homework. I check it and if she gets things wrong she goes over it and makes corrections. Thats part of the learning process. Anyhow when she did take her home work to school they checked it together and she would just erase the wrong answers and replace them with the right answers given by the teacher. This type of process is not learning. Then they would take Tests in class and if they failed it they could take it over after they removed some choices on the test. This seems to be like making the test easy for them to pass and is not a correct way that a test should be given. A test is a measuring tool to see what the child has learned. IEP is just pushing our kids through and thats a problem.

  30. Karen – I would not revoke consent for services but instead have another IEP meeting to discuss the services you have. It is the school’s responsibility to teach your child to meet the state standards and the IEP goals. If you have a local organization for children with learning disabilities (LDA of America can help. They have a website) you can perhaps have access to an advocate that can review your child’s evaluation and IEP. I know how you feel about being intimidated but the best way to deal with it is to get educated. Read about the disability, talk to an advocate, your physician to get some referrals, etc. Perhaps you know other parents that can help. I never go into IEP meetings by myself and I always take a tape recorder so I don’t forget anything. I just let the school know.

  31. My son is entering high school this year and his teacher told me he was not smart enough to learn anything therefore she would only advise to have him learn living skills. I want to revoke the IEP which I signed for because she intimidated me with the Principal, Special Ed Director, and other teachers in the meeting. I don’t feel my son is not capable of learning, I just feel it’s the teacher who lacks faith in her student! please help!!!

  32. Karen – It may be that your son’s speech difficulties caused spelling and fluency difficulties, but that is not the same as saying working on speech will fix spelling and fluency.

    The RTI model is not funded. It is a model that changes way the school thinks about teaching children. The goal is to provide intervention quick not wait for failure. If your son is not making progress with RTI then he needs either greater frequency, different instruction, or a different level of instruction.

    If spelling is an issue. I highly recommend an assessment called SPELL Links to Literacy

  33. Classified as speech impaired, my son’s speech pathologist has determined all viable goals are met and is removing him from speech services.

    He is being provided RTI services in his classroom to support fluency weakness in reading and writing and spelling. In contrast, my son’s reading comprehension and vocabulary are above grade level.

    The school reading specialist and speech pathologist have stated there is no correlation between his articulation delay/speech impairment and spelling and reading fluency weakness.

    Furthermore, the school would not identify the classroom instruction or progress/non progress to RTI on my son’s IEP for speech services.

    Why not?

    Also, Where do the funds for RTI come from: My school is as confused about this as I am.

    And, how is fidelity of this instructional approach monitored?

  34. Erica: In our state Ohio we are able to request an IEP meeting anytime. This is where you may change the items that must be sent to you quarterly or how the school will document how they are meeting your child’s IEP goals. If there is no homework either the reading program is such that it is all hands on or the school will have no evidence that your son is progressing. You need to get together with them to understand the reading program and ask for evidence of progress. The best evidence is standardized tests as this is the only thing that means anything legally if you need to go that route.

  35. Can someone please help me understand stand the rights and wrongs of IEP’s for the state of Maryland, please. My son, has an IEP for reading comprehension and NEVER receive homework with his reading class. How is that helping him where he suffers?

  36. thank you for this article. How many times was i told by the school system that it was “all or nothing,” even in a prior written notice and on the witness stand in a due process hearing (I lost count). And i had to file due process if i didn’t agree with the IEP team.

    when a “service” took place of a regular class/program with regular kids, that’s when I objected to a particular service or program. I argued and argued. I shouldn’t have to anymore.

  37. In looking at 300.300(d)(3) I do not read it to address specific services under the IEP, unless a state requires such consent.

    School attorneys routinely tell schools that they can provide services & placements over parents objections, if they can defend what they are recommending. The dispute resolution process is set up to deal with such disagreements over services. Could you provide more legal, court, etc citiations to assist parents on this issue, since it is a common problem for parents?

  38. I would never consider revoking IEP services for the reasons you suggest. It is very difficult to get the services back. Better to work wtih the school to get the things you need.

  39. My son’s IEP substituted State Mandated End of Course testing.

    An IEP meeting was held after the school year for review of the following year IEP. The District added the end of course requirement to the following year’s IEP. My son had already completed the course and was penalized by getting a 0 for 20% of his final grade in the 08-09 subject that the EOC was added.

    The district’s attorney advised that since they gave us Prior Written Notice of their plans to propose this change, parents are not required to agree with their decision to add this requirement to the 09-10 IEP.

    Even though is it was clearly added to the 09-10 IEP, the district reduced my son’s grade in the course for the 08-09 despite the IEP documenting that a substitute test would be accepted.

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