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IEP & Autism Rights

IEP (Individualized Education Program) and your rights

autism educationAn Individualized Education Program (IEP) is a written statement of the educational program designed to meet a child’s individual needs. Every child who receives special education services must have an IEP.

The IEP can be understood as the blueprint for the special education experience of your child with autism in the school environment.

First, Some Terminology

The most important elements to remember when advocating for yourself or a child are that students with disabilities must have individualized education plans (IEPs) that include offers of free and appropriate public education (FAPE), and that these students are entitled to receive their education within the least restrictive environment (LRE). These rights are guaranteed under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). These offers of FAPE come in the form of goals, based upon the present levels of academic performance and functional performance; description of services needed with time and location; accommodations and modifications; and some legally required check points.

Least Restrictive Environment

The law also requires that students with disabilities be educated in the least restrictive environment (LRE). This means that the district must show that it has attempted to provide services to the student in a classroom setting that is as close to the general education setting as possible. Unless your student has severe medical or physical impairments that require specialized staff, districts should try to include him or her in the general education classroom as much as possible. If the district would like to offer services in a more exclusive environment, such as a special education classroom, it must prove that the student cannot be successful in a less restrictive environment. For more information, see the IEP Toolkit online

Let Us Help

Special Education law allows parents or districts to ask for any of three dispute resolution processes. The process can be complex and confusing. Miller & Smith PLLC are trained dispute resolution specialists, and are well versed in IEP Law in Wake County, North Carolina. Call us today at (919) 714-8407


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