Know Your Rights

The law called the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (or IDEA) gives all students the right to a free education that meets their needs until they are 22.

This means that your child can stay in school, with the services they need, until they turn 22.

  • The services must be agreed on by the IEP team and written into the IEP.

  • They may include therapies like speech, occupational, physical and behavioral therapy like ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis).

  • They may also include providing assistive devices like communication boards, and training the student to use them effectively.
  • For details about the timing of exactly when services end, talk to your school district. It may depend on when your child's birthday is during the summer or school year.

The law also requires school districts to  do formal Transition Planning, starting when a student turns 16.

  • Your IEP team should work with you and your child to create a Transition Plan.

  • Go back to the FAQ section for more on Transition Plans!

What if the school says they can't help your child and suggests you keep them at home?

(This is called Home Schooling.)

  • It's illegal for a school district to refuse to educate a child. They are required to find special educators and address your child's needs. Special education teachers have training and can help your child to make the most progress with their learning.

  • Don't let a school push you into home-schooling your child unless you want to and can hire special education professionals. If you home-school your child, they will not get the benefit of this expertise or other special services and therapies that they may need.

If your child's school does not seem to be meeting their needs, you have a right to look into other schools. Some have better programs for students with more severe disabilities.

Learn more:

See these E-Learning Modules form the Louisiana Parents Training and Information Center (LaPTIC). (Click to open them in a new window.)

  • What to do when the school calls to pick up your child?

  • What transportation services are available for my child with a disability?

  • How can I prepare for my child's IEP meeting?

  • Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) Basics

  • What is the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE)?

To learn more about solving a problem with the school or district, see the Special Education Guide.