Every child is unique and learns in different ways. If your child has been identified as needing special education services to support his or her learning at school, you can play a major role in shaping the services your child receives.
This section will help you understand the Individualized Education Program (IEP) and the importance of your participation in developing your child's IEP Plan. You are a required member of your child's IEP team, and your ideas must always be considered in any decisions the IEP team makes. The development of the IEP is required in the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA 2004), its regulations (known as 34 Code of Federal Regulations [CFR] Parts 300 and 301), and in Minnesota state special education rules and statutes. The federal regulations, which have the force of law, explain how the law will be carried out.
Each state implements the federal laws somewhat differently. If your child qualifies for special education and attends a private school, you may call PACER Center for more information on special education for private school students.
The purpose of special education is
“to ensure that all children with disabilities have available to them a free appropriate public education that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment, and independent living.” — IDEA 601(d)(1)
See an overview chart of the special education process. Learn about the structure of special education in Minnesota. Tips for effectively communicating in IEP meetings and many more resources.
PACER’s parent advocates often hear from parents when they encounter certain statements or situations at school meetings that they find uncomfortable or uncertain. These tips are suggestions and techniques from PACER advocates to help parents address some of those concerns, as well as improve communication with school staff.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) calls for a team of individuals, including parents and school personnel, to work together to develop an Individual Educational Program (IEP) for a child who qualifies for special education services.
School Discipline Guide
Parents of children with disabilities often ask:
This interactive guide will answer these and many other questions. Whether your child is on an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) or a Section 504 Plan, or if you suspect that your child has a disability that affects his or her behavior at school, this guide will help you understand the complex disciplinary process for Minnesota public school children with disabilities.
If your child has an IEP or will be getting one, we recommend starting with:
2018 edition | 34 page pdf
or Call PACER Center (952-838-9000) for a printed copy, free to MN parents.