Key IDEAs: What You Need to Know About the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

Has your child been diagnosed with a learning disability? You should know your rights as a parent, and of course know the rights that your child has as a student. We’ve compiled some key points to help.

  • Parents have a right to participate in any meeting that might discuss the identification, evaluation and placement of their child

  • Parents may give or deny consent before a school takes any action regarding the child’s education While the school may issue an evaluation to determine whether or not the child has a learning disability, the parent may choose to take their child for an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE)

  • All tests must be conducted in your child’s native language, and parents have a right to all paperwork (results, etc.) pertaining to the evaluation

  • If the evaluation decides the child does indeed have a learning disability, the child has rights pertaining to their special education services. You and your child have the right to attend a meeting to design an Individualized Education Program; this meeting must be held within 30 days after your child has been deemed eligible for special education services

  • The student should be provided with “specially designed instruction” — that is, the school and classroom should take into consideration your child’s very specific needs and difficulties, and adjust the teaching accordingly while ensuring the child has access to the general curriculum. Remember to ask about assistive technology devices; for instance, if your child suffers from dyslexia, there are numerous apps that will allow text to be scanned and read back to the student.

The U.S. Department of Education provides the full text of IDEA here.

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