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Your Child’s Rights

Several federal laws are designed to protect your child’s educational rights. If your child has a learning disability, he or she may qualify for additional protections. As a parent, it is important for you to understand these rights so you can better advocate for your child. For more details on the laws that affect all people with learning disabilities, visit our Learn the Law section.

Child's Rights - Learning Disabilities

Your Child’s Rights


What Is FAPE, and What Can It Mean to My Child?

What Is Fape - Individuals with Disabilities Education Act FAPE is the acronym for a Free and Appropriate Public Education. It is one of the most misunderstood concepts of the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA). And it often causes the greatest conflict between parents and schools. A required component of IDEA, FAPE mandates that school districts provide access to general education and specialized educational services. It also requires that children with disabilities receive support free of charge as is provided to non-disabled students. It also provides access to general education services for children with disabilities by encouraging that support and related services be provided to children in their general education settings as much as possible.

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Knowing Your Child’s Rights

Special Education Rights - Childs Education Your child has the right to a free and appropriate public school education. Getting involved in his or her education is among the most important things you can do as your child’s advocate. As you’ll see below, you have a right to be a part of every decision regarding your child’s education, including the process of finding out if your child needs special services. You know your child best, and your input should be considered at every opportunity.

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Advocating for Your School-Aged Child

Special Needs Child - Child Advocacy Your child has the right to a free and appropriate public school education. Getting involved in his or her education is among the most important things you can do as your child’s advocate. As you’ll see below, you have a right to be a part of every decision regarding your child’s education, including the process of finding out if your child needs special services. You know your child best, and your input should be considered at every opportunity.

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How Parents Can Be Advocates for Their Children

What is Self Advocacy - Student Advocacy Parents are often the best educational advocates for their children, especially children with a learning disability. True advocacy is a largely positive process, which should build on your child’s strengths and challenges. As your child’s best advocate, you are in a unique position to identify and implement positive changes. The following tips can help parents advocate for their children in a constructive way.

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Advocating for Your Pre-School Child

Child Advocacy - Learning Pre School Being an advocate means knowing how to ensure that your child gets the help he or she needs to be successful. For children who experience learning difficulties, it’s never too early to start looking for ways to help them succeed in learning. Even before formal schooling starts, there are things you can do to make sure your child gets help early, so that learning can be a fun and productive experience.

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Getting Started At Home

What Is Self Advocacy - Student Advocacy

10 Ways Parents Can Help Their Children With Learning Disabilities (LD)

  1. Learn more about learning disabilities

    Information on learning disabilities can help you understand that your child does not learn in the same way as other people do. Find out as much as you can about the problems your child has with learning, what types of learning tasks will be hard for your child, what sources of help are available, and what you can do to make life and learning easier for your child. You can find much of the information you need by reading this web site and following links to outside resources.

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Special Education Laws and Rights for the Military Child

Special Education Law - Military Child Growing up in a military family has its advantages and adventures, but for kids with learning disabilities (LD) and others who need special education services, the road can be rocky. Whether your child is being evaluated for special education services or is already enrolled, you’ll want to understand how special education works in both civilian public schools and those governed by the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA), because you’re likely to experience both when you’re a military family.

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NCLB and Students Who Struggle With Learning

No Child Left Behind - Disabilities Act

An Online Chat With Candace Cortiella

On August 18, 2004, SchwabLearning.org hosted an online chat with Candace Cortiella, a national expert in special education law and an advocate for children with learning disabilities, as well a member of the professional advisory board for the National Center for Learning Disabilities. Chat participants asked Ms. Cortiella how the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act might affect public school students who struggle with learning. Schwab Learning's Online Community Manager, Scott Moore, moderated the chat.

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My Child Has LD—Isn’t He Automatically Eligible for Services?

Special Education Services EligibilityOnce you learn that your child has a learning disability (LD), you’re undoubtedly wondering how to get your child the services he needs to be successful in school. But services are not automatically given to students when they are identified as having LD. A diagnosis of LD does not mean your child is automatically eligible for services. Determining eligibility for special education services is separate process in which parents play a crucial role. Being informed and prepared will help ensure your child gets the help he needs.

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10 Tips for Preparing a State or Due Process Complaint

employment-application-question-mark-keyboardThe Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) provides options for resolving disputes between schools and parents. Two of these options are state complaints and due process complaints. Either of these options could be used to address matters involving a school district’s delay or denial to evaluate a student.

Here is a list of some information you may want to include in a state complaint or due process complaint.

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Making the Most of the Parent Information and Training Network (audio)

In this audio podcast, two longtime directors of Parent Centers—who are themselves parents of children with disabilities—talk about the network of nonprofit Parent Training and Information Centers and Community Parent Resource Centers. These Parent Centers, funded by the U.S. Department of Education, were created specifically to help families understand their rights and responsibilities under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

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A Parent’s Perspective—Twenty Years Later

child-advocacy-family-sitting-in-livingroomWhat have I learned after weaving my way through the special education maze?

Knowledge is power—you must be as informed as possible about your child’s disability AND your child’s strengths. You must know the law and how to use it. You must have good communication skills. You must believe in yourself. You must believe in your child. You must be creative. You must be patient. You must be part of a team. You will play many roles, not just mother or father but also Cheerleader, Advocate, Tutor, Lawyer, Researcher, Detective, Teacher, Mediator, Psychologist and Student.

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