My child has a learning disability. Her Individual Education Plan (IEP) puts her in general education with accommodation. She also receives one hour of pullout reading services each day. She excels in this placement.
The school wants to place her in a special education team-taught class because she has an IEP. I want her to continue in general education classes with accommodations. What are her legal rights?
What Does IDEA Say about LRE?
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) gives a qualifying child with a disability the right to an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) that provides a free appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment (LRE).
An IEP is a written statement, developed, reviewed, and revised in accordance with the IDEA. It describes the special education and services your child is to receive. It also says where your child will receive these services. 20 U.S.C. § 1401 (14) and 20 U.S.C. § 1414 (d). Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Ed., pp. 53 and 99. Your child’s IEP is the blueprint for her education.
FAPE means that your child will receive special education at no cost to you and that the school will provide the education as designed by her IEP. 20 U.S.C. § 1401 (9). Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Ed., p. 51.
Special Education is “specially designed instruction, to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability.” 20 U.S.C. § 1401 (29). Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Ed., p. 55. Your child receives “specially designed instruction” in the area of reading intervention.
The IEP Team found your child eligible for an IEP because she is a “child with a disability.” That disability seriously affects her education. Because of her disability, she needs special education and related services. 20 U.S.C. § 1401 (3). Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Ed., p. 49. Your child’s IEP entitles her to special education in the LRE.
LRE means that your child must receive her education in a setting with non-disabled children, “to the maximum extent appropriate.” 20 U. S. C. § 1412 (a) (5). Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Ed., p. 72. That means the IEP Team must consider general education placement as the first placement.
Your child must receive her education in general education unless her disability is so severe that the school cannot educate her there, even with the use of supplementary aids and services. 20 U. S. C. § 1412(a)(5). Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Ed., pp. 72-73.
If your child is successful in general education with accommodations, that placement is her LRE.
Get your copy of IDEA 2004 with analysis and commentary by Pete Wright.