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How the IDEA Helps You

Read this page to learn about what help this law (IDEA) can give you.

Who gets help - What IDEA (Part B) says:

  • Children from 3 to 21 years old can get help.
  • Children with a disability or delay can get help.
    • The disability or delay must cause problems with learning.
    • When a child is deaf, that is considered a disability in special education law.
    • This disability may cause problems with learning if your teachers don't use special ways of teaching.
    • Special education services are special ways of teaching.
  • In some states, children can also get special education services if they don't have a disability. But they have to have a "learning delay."

How to get help - What IDEA says:

1. Contact your local place in charge of special education.

2. Your child will be tested to see if she has a disability or delay and has learning needs.

  • Anyone can refer your child for testing. But you have to give permission in writing before she's tested.

3. If your child has "learning needs," a team of people will write a plan for your child.

  • Learning needs mean that your child needs special education services.
    • Your state has rules on who needs special education services.
  • The team of people who write the plan includes you, the parent.
    • The plan is called an Individualized Education Program or IEP.
    • The IEP lists the things your child needs to learn over the next year.
    • Everyone who works with your child must follow this written plan.

4. The state must give your child special help.

  • They can't refuse to do this because they say it costs too much money. They can't refuse because they say they don't have enough teachers. They can't refuse because they say they have too many students.
  • The state or school can't put your child on a waiting list for services.
  • People who test or work with your child must have special training. For example, they must be trained to work with children with hearing loss. In some states, these people may need a special certification or license to work with your child.

School Choices - What IDEA says:

1. IDEA says your child has a right to a "free and appropriate public education."
The IEP team (which includes you) decides where your child goes to school.

2. The IEP should be based on where your child can learn the things she needs to learn.
These are listed on the IEP. Your child could go to:

  • A local preschool for children without disabilities
  • A preschool for deaf or hard of hearing children in the community, or to a school for the deaf
  • Your local public school
    • A public school may or may not have other deaf students.
    • The school also may or may not have a program for deaf students.
  • A public school in another district with a program for deaf students.
    • This school may have other deaf students.
    • Teachers at this school may have experience in teaching deaf students.
  • A school for the deaf that the government pays for
    • This school will have deaf students and teachers of the deaf.
  • A private school for the deaf
    • This school will have deaf students and teachers of the deaf.

3. Parents also have the right to homeschool their children.

  • This means that you or someone you hire would teach your child
  • To find out more about homeschooling deaf children, go to the Another Path website.
    • Each state has rules that parents of children who homeschool must follow.

Who pays for your child's school - What IDEA says:

  • School and special services are free if you agree to send your child to the school or program recommended by the IEP team.
  • You have the right to send your child to another school, but you will have to pay for that school.
  • If you disagree with the school the IEP team recommends, you can try to convince the IEP team why you want a different school. If they agree with you, then the school you choose will be paid for.

What help you can get at school - What IDEA says:

1. Your child can get these kinds of help:

  • Special services, like sign language interpreters, notetakers and speech therapy, etc.
  • Bus to and from school
  • Special equipment, like FM systems, to help with hearing
  • Extra time taking tests
  • Your child will get this help if these services are written on your child's IEP.

2. The plan for your child's school is called an Individualized Education Program (IEP).
Here's what the IEP includes:

  • How your child is doing, in school and other areas
  • What you want your child to be able to do
  • How you're going to measure your child's progress
  • What special help your child will get in school
  • How often and how long your child will get that help
  • How you will be informed of your child's progress
  • What school your child will go to
  • Plans for what happens to your child after he finishes school

Next: What goes on your child's Individualized Education Plan (IEP), and how it helps you

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