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If your child has special needs due to a disability and qualifies for special education, you may worry that it places a label on them that will be hard to overcome. The federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Texas laws rule that children with disabilities are eligible for a free, appropriate public education.

This education often means school-provision of special education and related services designed to meet your child’s unique needs and help them prepare for additional education, employment and independent living. As a parent, you are an integral part of designing and measuring your child’s educational progress.

Overcoming special education myths

Many Texas parents worry that unfair and untrue notions about special education may adversely impact their children. Here are four common myths about special education and the facts:

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If you have a child with special needs, you likely worry about them receiving an appropriate education. State and federal laws help ensure that they receive instruction tailored to their specific needs.

Once your child qualifies for special education, the first step is the Admission, Review and Dismissal (ARD) process, where a committee designs a plan for how the school district will meet your child’s educational requirements.

What does the committee do?

ARD committee meetings must occur at least once a year but can happen more frequently if warranted. The purpose is to design or evaluate an individualized education program (IEP), which defines the instruction your child will receive, how the school must provide those services and how to measure progress. As a parent, you are a vital part of this proceeding.

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Each Dec. 2, we celebrate National Special Education Day, commemorating the anniversary of the nation’s first law protecting the rights of children with special needs. President Gerald Ford signed the law in 1975.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) guarantees every child an appropriate public education. The law requires school districts to provide services and instruction for children with disabilities and other eligible conditions.

Four benefits of an inclusive education

If your child is eligible for special education, you may worry that they are kept apart from other kids their age. But most spend the majority of their time in general education classrooms in Texas. This inclusive learning environment has many benefits, including:

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As a parent, you only want what’s best for your kids. But it can be overwhelming when your child has special needs. In addition to the daily challenges at home, you must ensure that they receive the best education possible.

Federal law gives children with disabilities the right to receive a free and appropriate public education in Texas – one that’s individually designed to meet their disability. However, schools often don’t interpret the law correctly or, in many cases, fail to observe those rights.

What is special education?

In 2004, Congress passed the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), which broadly defines special education as “specially designed instruction” meeting the unique needs of children with disabilities. The law directs schools to create individualized plans for children with specific disabilities. To be eligible, your child must:

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Today, the Texas Legislature passed a law that would extend the statute of limitations on special education cases from one year to two! This will make Texas law consistent with Federal law. More importantly, it allows time for parents to gather information and make informed decisions about legally enforcing their child’s right to a Free Appropriate Public Education.

This is a huge victory for parents of disabled children. It is not unusual for it to take the better part of a school year to realize the impact of schools either not implementing an IEP, failing to provide appropriate services, or the impact of an inappropriate placement. Frequently, parents realize the problem after almost a year has passed, and that leaves little time to hold schools accountable and pursue better services for their children. The expansion of the limitations period will offer greater protection to parents and children.

Parents and their attorneys and advocates have been pleading for this for years. Now the law has passed both the House and the Senate. Now it is up to the Governor to sign it.

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A family lawyer does much more than simply provide legal answers. Our lawyers explore a variety of different solutions to help you achieve your goals and secure your family’s financial and emotional future and stability.

To discuss your case or set up a consultation, call us at 972-562-9890 or use the online contact form.

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