A child's unique needs can manifest themselves in multiple different varieties. One specific child may have difficulty maintaining attention while in class, which can subsequently affect his/her academic progress, and create a need for special education services. Another child may have difficulty with auditory processing, which may be affecting his/her ability to understand teacher instruction or directives, and subsequently create a need for special education support. Another child may have difficulty interacting with peers, or be exhibiting signs of depression in school, which can subsequently affect his/her ability to progress with regard to their social emotional present level of performance, and also create a need for special education services.
Special educational evaluations are crucial in determining and understanding what an individual student's unique needs are. Examples of educational evaluations include: Psychoeducational Assessments, Language and Speech Assessments, Occupational Therapy Assessments, and Functional Behavior Assessments, among many others.
School districts are required to provide all students with a Free and Appropriate Public Education, often times referred to as "FAPE". What constitutes "appropriate" is a point of much contention between parents, school districts and attorneys alike. Therefore, it has been left up to the courts to shed more light on what actually constitutes an appropriate public education. Located below is a brief glimpse into how different courts have weighed in on this discussion. In determining whether the Local Education Agency has offered Student a FAPE, the proper focus is on the adequacy of the offer of placement. If a student fails to make progress within a reasonable period of time, the LEA must convene an IEP meeting to address the student's lack of progress. A LEA's continuation of inadequate services will almost certainly be regarded as a denial of FAPE. 
Every parent who attends an IEP meeting is simply looking to obtain an educational placement that is appropriate for their child, and will allow their child to make substantive progress throughout the school year. However, the IEP process can also be very stressful and confusing. What all parents should be aware of in preparing for an IEP meeting, is that the burden is on the school district to provide a Free and Appropriate Public Education ("FAPE") for all children. Not only must the educational placement be appropriate, but it also must be qualify as a clear written offer of placement. (Union Sch. Dist, v Smith, (9th Cir. 1994), 15 F.3d 1519.)
You may be thinking about enrolling your child into a charter school. Parents in a parent group you're in, or maybe even friends or family have their children in charter schools, and they rave about how well those kids are doing. Charter schools can boast smaller learning environments, better teacher to student ratio, smaller campuses and more teacher and staff availability to parents. All of these things are great, and they do work out very well for some students. However, you may be wondering if the charter school route is right for your child, who is enrolled in special education.
Children involved in the foster care system have additional rights to placement in addition to any special education and related services they are currently receiving. Under the California Assembly Bill 490 (AB 490), if a foster child changes residential placements, the district serving the foster child shall allow the foster child to continue his or her education in the school of origin for the duration of the school year. This is allowed under the law if remaining in that school is in the child's best interest.
When your child turns three years old their resident school district becomes the responsible entity for providing any necessary special education and related services. Local school districts have a duty under "Child Find" to seek out children with suspected disabilities, but as a parent you should not sit around and wait for this to happen. If you suspect your child has an applicable disability get them assessed by their local school district prior to turning three years old so services are in place by the time they turn three.
Epilepsy can develop at any age and can be a result of genetics, stroke, head injury, and many other factors. It can also can cause developmental delays and brain damage. Recurring seizures are also a burden for those living with brain tumors and other disorders such as cerebral palsy, mental retardation, autism and a variety of genetic syndromes. There is a strong association between epilepsy and depression: more than one of every three persons with epilepsy will also be affected by depression, and people with a history of depression have a higher risk of developing seizures.
You just had your child's IEP, and a bunch of information was thrown out there by multiple professionals over the course of a couple of hours. The school district administrator is now asking you to sign the place in the IEP document which indicates that you consent to the IEP. What do you do? Is it ok not to sign it?