What Are Your Rights and Responsibilities to an Appropriate Education for your Child with a Disability?

 

As the parent of a child who has disabilities, you have the right to:

    • Expect a free, appropriate public education (F.A.P.E.) for your child.
    • Refer your child for an evaluation for a 504 plan and/or for special education.
    • Meet with the school district to decide whether or not to evaluate your child to determine if he or she has special needs (there must be written parental consent for evaluation).
    • Be fully informed regarding testing: What tests will be used and why? What are the findings?  Implications?
    • Ask for an independent evaluation at public expense if you disagree with the school district’s evaluation results.
    • Actively participate in the IEP process as an equal member of the team. This includes any meeting where decisions are made about your child’s identification, evaluation, program, or placement.
    • Call an IEP meeting. Be fully informed about the child’s program and progress. Ask questions. Give input.
    • Understand what the school professionals are saying about your child.
    • Agree or disagree with the other members of the team.
    • Bring another person to the meetings.
    • Take the proposed IEP home to review before signing it.
    • Review your child’s records.
    • Receive copies of anything that is in your child’s records.
    • Be treated as a qualified professional regarding your child.

As the parent of a child who has disabilities, you have the responsibility to:

    • Expect a free, appropriate public education (F.A.P.E.) for your child.
    • Keep a comprehensive file on your child.
    • Be professional.
    • Participate in meetings and discussions where decisions are made about the identification, evaluation, program and placement for your child.
    • Focus on the child.
    • Ask questions to clarify information.
    • Listen and consider the information from the other professionals.
    • Give feedback—positive as well as negative.
    • Be prepared as a member of the IEP team.
    • Stay informed.
    • Be consistently involved.
    • Be willing to share knowledge and information.
    • Work for the best interests of your child according to his or her needs.

You have many more rights and responsibilities than those listed here. Remember that you are a professional and the expert on your child, and you are an equal member of your child’s team! You are your child’s best advocate, because you know your child better than anyone else does.

The Office of the Education Ombudsman provides assistance to resolve complaints. They can be reached at:  1-877-297-2595 Or you can contact their website: www.governor.wa.gov/oeo

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The PAVE Parent Training and Information Program may include information on State or Federal laws regarding the rights of individuals with disabilities. While this is provided to inform or make one aware of these rights, legal definitions, or laws/regulations, it is not providing legal representation or legal advice. The recipient understands that this is information is to educate them not to provide them with legal representation.