Learning Disabilities

Rights Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

The IDEA gives all children certain educational rights:

  • Access to a free and fitting public education for children ages six through 18.
  • Access to the same types of programs and services as other children.
  • Placement in the least restrictive learning setting. At the same school the child would normally go to if possible.
  • Access to another learning setting if going to a local public school isn't possible.
  • Someone to act on the child's behalf if their parent can't.
  • A chance to be part of drafting of their IEP (education plan).
  • Placement in a learning setting in another school, public or private, if the current school can't provide the right tools or programs.
  • Annual review of the child's learning setting.
  • Privacy and confidentiality of all records.

Parents also have rights under the IDEA:

  • Being part of the review of your child's IEP (education plan).
  • Agreeing to the time and place for IEP meetings.
  • Asking the school to hold these meetings in the language you speak best. You may also make special arrangements for any disability you or your spouse may have.
  • Giving your approval before your child's abilities are assessed.
  • Getting a copy of your child's assessment report.
  • Getting independent testing of your child at public expense if you don't agree with the school's assessment. The school may ask for a hearing to decide the correctness of its own test.
  • Providing written consent to any actions proposed for your child.
  • Getting written notice of any proposed change to your child's IEP (education plan). The school should also tell you if it will not make a requested change to your child's IEP.
  • Attending and making comments at an annual public hearing that helps form the whole state's special education plan.
  • Reviewing and asking questions about what is in your child's records.
  • Disagreeing and refusing your consent on the following ideas:
    • Corrections or changes to your child's files
    • Evaluations of your child
    • Placement of your child in a special education program
    • Asking for information about your child from an outside source
    • Allowing the school to give another person information about your child
    • Changing your child's special education program
    • Taking your child out of the special education program
Working with Your Child's School

School is an important part of your child's life. Most children spend at least half of their waking hours at school or a school activity. School is what our children "do."

For a child with mental health needs, school can be hard. But all children have the right to get schooling that best meets their needs. Many children with mental health problems may qualify for special education services.

Want more information about IDEA and IEP? Visit these websites: