Least Restrictive Environment

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) requires that every student be given a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment in which his or her needs can be met.

This objective is related to inclusion, a term that reinforces the idea of educating the student to the maximum extent appropriate in the school classroom that he or she would otherwise attend. It involves bringing support services to the student, rather than separating the student to a specialized classroom.

A student with disabilities has the right to be educated in a setting that is not overly restrictive considering what is appropriate for that student. Appropriateness entails an education that will provide meaningful benefit for a student. The less a placement resembles the general education environment, the more restrictive it is considered.

Special Needs Advocacy In La Mesa, Chula Vista And All Of Southern California

If the school-based individualized education program support team evaluates your child and concludes that he or she will not make progress in an integrated setting, even with supplementary aids and services, then the least restrictive environment for your child may be a small, segregated setting for part or all of the school day.

Common forms of special education instruction include the resource program and the self-contained, full-time special education program. A resource program is one where the student is "pulled out" of the regular classroom for one or more periods a day in order to receive some form of specialized instruction.

A self-contained special education program is one where the student spends all or most of the school day with other special education students. Placement in a therapeutic day school, in most cases, will only be considered after an unsuccessful attempt to serve the student in a special education classroom has been made.

Steps To Achieve Least Restrictive Environment

If you believe your child has not been placed in the least restrictive environment that suits his or her educational needs, you should contact your child's IEP support team via letter to request a meeting to consider a less restrictive environment. If you are dissatisfied with the outcome of that meeting, you may request mediation or, ultimately, a due process hearing to resolve the dispute.

It is wise at this point to enlist the services of an experienced special education lawyer who will advocate on your behalf to ensure that your child is placed in the least restrictive environment in San Diego.

Attorney Meagan Nunez offers a free, no-obligation consultation in which she will answer your questions about least restrictive environment issues or any matter regarding your child's special education needs. Call 619-757-1290 or use our contact form to schedule an appointment.