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An Overview of the Law 1 Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE)

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1 An Overview of the Law 1 Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE)

2 Purpose Key terms To ensure that all children with disabilities have available to them a free appropriate public education that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for employment and independent living – Free appropriate public education (FAPE) – Individualized education program (IEP) – Least restrictive environment (LRE) – Special Education – Related Services Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

3 FAPE Free, Appropriate, Public Education Provided at public expense and under public supervision and direction Meet the standards of the state educational agency Include an appropriate preschool, elementary school, or secondary school education Be delivered in conformity with the IEP

4 Board of Education of Hendrick Hudson Central School District v. Rowley, 458 U.S. 176 (1982) Parents of a deaf early elementary student want the school to provide their daughter with a sign-language interpreter in class. After a trial period, the district decided that the student only needed an FM hearing aid, not an interpreter. The court held in favor of the district. – FAPE consists of educational instruction specially designed to meet the unique needs of the handicapped child, supported by such services as are necessary to permit the child “to benefit” from the instruction. – Such instruction and services must be provided at public expense, must meet the State’s educational standards, must approximate the grade levels used in the State's regular education, and must comport with the child's IEP. – Amy is receiving an “adequate” education, since she performs better than the average child in her class and is advancing easily from grade to grade.

5 Rowley Questions Has the state complied with IDEA’s procedural requirements? Is the IEP reasonably calculated to enable the child to receive educational benefits?

6 What does reasonably calculated to enable the child to receive educational benefits mean? It is judged on an individual basis. It does not require an ideal education or one that maximizes a child’s potential. The IEP must produce more than a trivial educational benefit. The child must make progress towards his/her educational goals. State laws may require a higher standard.

7 Individualized Education Program (IEP) The IEP is a written statement that outlines a student’s needs and programs and services the school will provide that is reasonably calculated to give the child a meaningful educational benefit. The IEP process develops and formalizes the free appropriate public education.

8 IEP Requirements Procedural – follow law in IEP development process Notice to parents Follow timelines Parents involved in decision-making process Evaluations Proper IEP team members IEP designed to provide FAPE Implement IEP as written Substantive – confer a meaningful educational benefit Access student’s academic and functional needs Base goals on student’s needs Complete, appropriate and measurable goals Provide effective special education and related services Includes transition services if student 16 or older Monitor student progress towards goals

9 IEP Team Required Participants The students’ parents or guardian A special education teacher A general education teacher A representative of educational agency(ies) who is – qualified to provide or supervise the provision of special education – knowledgeable about the general education curriculum – knowledgeable about the available resources in the school A person who can interpret the instructional implications of the evaluation results (may be one of the preceding team members) The child, when appropriate Discretionary Participants Related services providers A person with expertise in assistive technology For a transition IEP, a representative of the agency that is likely to provide or pay for the transition services Other persons, at the discretion of the parents or the school; these individuals must have knowledge or special expertise about a student or his or her disability Part C provider if a child is eligible for Part C

10 Most Common Mistakes in IEP Development 1.Failing to obtain informed parental consent 2.Failing to ensure parents’ meaningful participation in the IEP process 3.Predetermining IEP services and placement 4.Improperly excusing IEP team members 5.Improper IEP team membership 6.Failing to address transition to postsecondary activities and independent living 7.Failing to ensure a continuum of alternative placements 8.Failing to consider the five “special factors” (i.e., behavior, limited English proficiency, blind/visually impaired, deaf/hard of hearing) 9.Failing to follow proper procedures for publicly placed private school students 10.Failing to follow requirements for interstate and intrastate transfers 11.Failing to address a student’s behavioral and emotional needs 12.Failing to establish and consider existing evaluation data and present levels of performance

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