Parents Guide to Special Education (pdf document)
From North Dakota Department of Public Instruction
In the past parents of children with disabilities didn't have many educational
options for their children. In fact, many children with disabilities received little or
no education. In response to the concerns voiced by parents and many educators,
the United States enacted a law designed to ensure that local schools would serve
the educational needs of students with disabilities. Public law 108-446 is known
as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act. This law is
known more commonly across the nation as IDEA.
An updating of this law took place in 2004, and the U.S. Department of
Education issued final regulations for the IDEA in 2006. The North Dakota
Department of Public Instruction Office of Special Education carefully reviewed
the reauthorized the IDEA and the final regulations. This Parent Guide to Special
Education was revised to reflect the changes in our nation's special education law
and regulations. It was prepared to help parents have a solid understanding about
how the special education process works in the schools of our state. It was also
written so that parents can have an additional source of information about their
procedural safeguards, sometimes referred to as parent rights.
The primary themes of the reauthorized the IDEA 2004 include: early
intervention, access to the general education curriculum, scientifically based
instruction, paperwork reduction, school-wide approaches, focus on homeless
children, streamlined IEP process, highly qualified staff, over identification and
disproportionality, and expanded opportunities for parents and schools to resolve
differences. The reauthorized IDEA has strengthened the relationship with the No
Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, which promotes improved student achievement
and academic proficiency for all children. For information on how NCLB and
IDEA work together to improve academic achievement of students with
disabilities refer to Appendix A for the document titled, "NCLB and IDEA: What
Parents of Students with Disabilities Need to Know and Do."
Importantly, the IDEA 2004 supports parents' participation in their children's
education. With a clear understanding of the IDEA and your rights, you will be
better prepared to take an active role in your child's education. This role involves
close collaboration with your school district as you develop an appropriate
educational program for your child.
The ND Department of Public Instruction (NDDPI) has written this guide for
parents to answer questions you may have as you begin to take part in the special
education process in North Dakota. Your knowledge and understanding will help
your child benefit from a cooperative support system that includes a positive
partnership between home and school.
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