5. Your Child's Legal Educational Rights

We’ll help you to understand the U.S. federal legal framework and how to find your local state laws. We’ll teach you what certain acronyms stand for, such as FAPE (Free Appropriate Public Education), IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) etc. And we’ll help you understand the basics of IEPs (Individualized Education Programs), 504 Plans, the SPED (Special Education) referral process and much more.


Here's how to get started

Step 1

Know the law and your basic rights

Your child has the right to a free and appropriate public school education. It is very important to know your child's rights under state and federal law as well as understand your parental responsibilities in navigating the education system.


Additional Resources: Comparison Highlights of IDEA, Section 504 & ADA

Terminology & Your Rights

A must-have resource for legal language.

9051 views

Step 2

Develop professional and positive relationships

As parents our communication and collaboration with school staff should be student-centered and focused on our child's needs. Outcomes are improved when stakeholders work together to find ways to meet the child's specific needs.  


Additional Resources: Parenting a Struggling Reader
Wrightslaw

How to solve problems and protect parent-school relationships

10062 views

Step 3

Understand the special education process

Special education is specially designed instruction—provided at no cost to the parents—that is set up to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability. There is a process to be navigated in order to access services and supports. Parents need to understand the steps of this process in order to advocate on behalf of their children.

Additional Resources: Sample Letters
The Special Education Cycle

Understand the process and steps

9429 views

Step 4

Advocate effectively on behalf of your child

Effective advocacy involves doing your research, planning well and preparing yourself to be an active participant in the process. Parents can model these skills and work towards building strong self-advocacy skills in their own children.

Parents Can Be Advocates

Tips to help you champion your child

9138 views

More Resources

Comparison Highlights of IDEA, Section 504 and ADA

A flow chart of services

11222 views

Parenting a Struggling Reader

Why you are your child's best advocate

10121 views

504 Flowchart Handout

Determining eligibility under IDEA and Section 504

9829 views

Acronyms to Know

Define the jargon used in IEP meetings

9022 views

Estimated Reading Time:10minute
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Educational Rights 101

Learn the correct language and terms to use when communicating with school.

19102 views

Estimated Reading Time:22minute
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Sample Letters

Making a referral for evaluation

11244 views

Estimated Reading Time:10minute
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