Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) is an educational right of children with disabilities in the United States that is guaranteed by the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). According to the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004, students with disabilities should be prepared for further education, employment, and independent living. A special needs child may greatly benefit from assistance when pursuing special education for your disabled child. We can assist with any of the following: IEPs’ Individual education Plans, due process hearings. Disciplinary hearings.
All qualified persons with disabilities within the jurisdiction of a school district are entitled to a free appropriate public education. The ED Section 504 regulation defines a person with a disability as “any person who: (i) has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities, (ii) has a record of such an impairment, or (iii) is regarded as having such an impairment.” 3
For elementary and secondary education programs, a qualified person with a disability is a person with a disability who is:
of an age during which it is mandatory under state law to provide such services to persons with disabilities;
of an age during which persons without disabilities are provided such services; or
entitled to receive a free appropriate public education under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). (IDEA is discussed later in the pamphlet.)
In general, all school-age children who are individuals with disabilities as defined by Section 504 and IDEA are entitled to FAPE.
How Is an Appropriate Education Defined?
An appropriate education may comprise education in regular classes, education in regular classes with the use of related aids and services, or special education and related services in separate classrooms for all or portions of the school day. Special education may include specially designed instruction in classrooms, at home, or in private or public institutions, and may be accompanied by related services such as speech therapy, occupational and physical therapy, psychological counseling, and medical diagnostic services necessary to the child’s education.
An appropriate education will include:
education services designed to meet the individual education needs of students with disabilities as adequately as the needs of nondisabled students are met;
the education of each student with a disability with nondisabled students, to the maximum extent appropriate to the needs of the student with a disability;
evaluation and placement procedures established to guard against misclassification or inappropriate placement of students, and a periodic reevaluation of students who have been provided special education or related services; and
establishment of due process procedures that enable parents and guardians to:
receive required notices;
review their child’s records; and
challenge identification, evaluation and placement decisions.
Due process procedures must also provide for an impartial hearing with the opportunity for participation by parents and representation by counsel, and a review procedure.
Education Services Must Meet Individual Needs
To be appropriate, education programs for students with disabilities must be designed to meet their individual needs to the same extent that the needs of nondisabled students are met. An appropriate education may include regular or special education and related aids and services to accommodate the unique needs of individuals with disabilities.
One way to ensure that programs meet individual needs is through the development of an individualized education program (IEP) for each student with a disability. IEPs are required for students participating in the special education programs of recipients of funding under the IDEA.
The quality of education services provided to students with disabilities must equal the quality of services provided to nondisabled students. Teachers of students with disabilities must be trained in the instruction of individuals with disabilities. Facilities must be comparable, and appropriate materials and equipment must be available.
Students with disabilities may not be excluded from participating in nonacademic services and extracurricular activities on the basis of disability. Persons with disabilities must be provided an opportunity to participate in nonacademic services that is equal to that provided to persons without disabilities. These services may include physical education and recreational athletics, transportation, health services, recreational activities, special interest groups or clubs sponsored by the school, and referrals to agencies that provide assistance to persons with disabilities and employment of students.
Disabilities are divided into specific categories, such as learning, physical, speech, low vision, attention deficit, and many others. If a child suffers from a disability that impairs their ability to learn or to pay attention in school, then he or she may greatly benefit from an individual education program. This is a program that is designed to help students with disabilities reach educational goals that they otherwise may have an extremely difficult time doing.
Call Shep Zebberman today at (855)770-1836 to schedule a free consultation.