The United States Code includes a law generally known as the Individuals with Disability Act (IDEA), which uses the term 'special education' to mean specially designed instruction, provided to school age children by their public school at no cost to parents or guardians, to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability, including instruction conducted in the classroom, in the home, in hospitals and institutions, and in other settings; and instruction in physical education. In short, for a student to be eligible under IDEA's definition of disability, and for the pubic school to be responsible for fully funding a student's educational needs under IDEA, that student must be found to be in need of specially designed instruction.
It is important to understand that each learning disabled child as an individual presents unique specific learning differences, and the specially designed instruction must be appropriate for these individual needs. What may be appropriate for another child as specially designed instruction can not be presumed as appropriate for your child. An individual's learning differences must be tested and evaluated, and initially a parent must in writing request specific testing and evaluations to be done by their public school to start the legal process for obtaining a program for special education for your child, and the public school can take up to sixty days to do so, or refuse, telling you it is not needed or that some other testing is suggested. If you disagree with whatever the public school proposes, there is a legal remedy to have a hearing before an impartial person, known as a Due Process Hearing.
Other remedies include having an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) Facilitation, or a Mediation of the disagreement.
Should your child get an IEP developed, or at least drafted, the IEP process itself presents many variables, which may be unfamiliar to many parents. Usually, a person with specialized knowledge such as an Educational Advocate (EA) can be helpful, not as your legal representative, but to accompany you at IEP meetings. As with all public school curriculum decisions, to reach any binding decision whoever represents the school must have authority to commit school resources. A parent has the right to have all teachers, regular and special education, attend all IEP meetings, as well as any other school staff member who is part of the evaluation process. Many times schools request a parent to waive attendance of some or all of this IEP team, and have a one-on-one meeting to ask you to just sign here! Litman Law Office is here for you to consult with before you get into these situations, so your child's future education does not get waived in this process.