The federal law that gives children with disabilities from birth to age 21 the right to a free and appropriate education is called the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Free means at no cost to the families. Appropriate means that the educational services must be individually designed to meet each child’s unique needs.
In order to make sure that your child gets the help he or she needs throughout his or her school career, you should familiarize yourself with the rights you have as your child’s advocate.
As a parent, you have the right to disagree with the school’s/district’s decisions concerning your child’s right to a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). When you and the school disagree, it is important to first try to resolve differences informally. However, if you continue to disagree there are actions you can take.
The organizations listed below can help you understand your rights and assist you if you feel there is additional action necessary.
Conflict Resolution Program
special education mediation
Delaware Volunteer Legal Services
legal services provided at no cost to low-income families
Department of Education: Special Education
state department providing leadership and oversight to special education programs statewide
Disabilities Law Program (DLP)
individual advocacy, referral services, community education, and self-advocacy training
Parent Information Center (PIC)
information, consultation and workshops about special education
Transition to Adulthood – Your Rights
website with information about rights for young adults with disabilities
website with information about special education laws