Determining the supports and services required to satisfy a student's unique needs can be a difficult process. Under the Individuals with Disability Education Act (IDEA), schools have a duty to "consider the communication needs of the child" and "consider whether the child needs assistive technology (AT) devices and services." If you believe that your child may benefit from supportive services such as AT or Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) devices, request an AT or AAC evaluation in writing.
Moving is stressful enough. Amongst hiring help and labeling boxes, you shouldn't have to worry about your child's education, especially when your child requires special education services.
One of the most critical steps to understanding your child's specific educational needs is obtaining appropriate assessments. Once your child has been appropriately assessed within all areas of need, both yourself and the IEP team will have a much better understanding of how to best maximize your child's learning potential. Therefore, it is important that all parents understand the legal requirement for school districts to comprehensively assess students in all suspected areas of need.
Your child has been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder by their medical doctor, and you want the school district to do an assessment to determine the need for additional services. The school district does the assessment, and the results come back showing that your child has average cognitive ability, average academic performance and has moderate grades. Your child is diagnosed with ADHD, and is reported as having some off task behaviors in class, but their classroom teacher says they can be redirected and are doing fine academically. Does your child qualify for special education services?
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. 
In some instances, parents want to place their children somewhere other than a comprehensive public school campus. This may include consideration of a child's special needs, past performance or just a personal preference by the parents or the child. Whatever the considerations may be, many times parents understand that a private school is the same thing as a nonpublic school, which is not necessarily accurate, especially if you're asking for the school district to foot the bill.
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.)
Many parents face a similar dilemma with disciplinary action against their special needs child: We went to an IEP labeled a "manifestation determination," and the team said the child's behavior was not manifestation and my child is now being subjected to disciplinary action. Most have a million questions, but most prevalent is "why was the behavior not a manifestation?"
Many parents are aware that their special education child is entitled to re-assessment at least every three years by the school district in all areas of suspected disability (called a triennial assessment). However, in many cases, children with special needs are provided an IEP every three years that is not accompanied by warranted re-assessment. The school district officials may say to you that your child doesn't need another assessment, or provide you with the child's present levels of performance and say that qualifies as an assessment. You may be wondering if that is appropriate or adequate?
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.