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Special Education LAW - FAQ's

(Frequently Asked Questions)


This service is a membership benefit and available to NAPCSE members only


This FAQ document has been developed for NAPCSE members to answer many of the questions and concerns that families and professionals have when they contact NAPCSE. This document looks specifically at the mandates and requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the federal law that supports special education and related services programming for children and youth with disabilities.

The answers to the questions listed below on special education and the law can be accessed only by members of The National Association of Parents with Children in Special Education (NAPCSE).  If you are not a member of NAPCSE, and would like to join, click here to register. Members of NAPCSE, please log in above (member login and password) to activate these, and all other websites, in our database.

Table of Contents


Background Information on the IDEA

  • What is the History of the IDEA?
  • How Can I Obtain a Copy of IDEA and Its Regulations?How Can I Obtain a Copy of My State's
  • Special Education Law?
  • What Does the Term "Public Agency" Mean Throughout this Paper?

Purposes of the IDEA:


  • Who is Eligible?
  • What Types of Services are Provided?
  • What are the purposes of the IDEA?
  • What is a free appropriate public education?
  • Who is eligible for services under the IDEA?
  • What is special education?
  • Where is special education instruction provided?
  • What are related services?

Accessing Services


  • What is the first step in obtaining special education and related services?
  • How do I receive an evaluation of my child?
  • What does the evaluation process involve?
  • How are the evaluation results used?
  • What happens if I don't agree with the evaluation results?
  • Will my child be evaluated again in the future?

The Individualized Education Program (IEP)

  • What is an Individualized Education Program (IEP)?
  • Who develops the IEP?
  • So we, as parents, are involved in developing our child's IEP?
  • What happens during an IEP meeting?
  • What is required in terms of transition planning?
  • What are assistive technology devices and services?
  • How is my child's placement determined?
  • How often will my child's IEP be revised?
  • How can I be involved after my child's IEP is developed?


What to Do When You Don't Agree: Procedural Safeguards

  • What are some of the procedural safeguards under IDEA?
  • Are my child's records confidential?
  • What can the public agency do if parents don't consent to their child's initial evaluation, reevaluation, or initial provision of special education and related services?
  • What can I do if, at some point in time, I don't agree with decisions the school makes concerning my child?
  • What is mediation?
  • What is a due process hearing?
  • What should I do if I want to file a complaint?
  • What do I do if I want to put my child in a private school?
  •  If my child breaks a school rule, how may the school discipline him or her?

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