Educational Rights means that every child in this country who has a disability – no matter the nature of the disability – has the right to a public education at no cost to their families.

The federal law that gives children with disabilities from birth to age 21 the right to a free and appropriate education is called the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Under this law, an appropriate education means that educational services must be individually designed to meet a child’s unique needs in the least restrictive environment (LRE). This is written in a child’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP).

IDEA Dispute Resolution Parent Guides

The Center for Appropriate Dispute Resolution in Special Education provides IDEA Dispute Resolution Parent Guides available in English, SpanishArabicChinese (Simplified)HmongKoreanRussianVietnameseBurmesePortugueseJapanese, and Somali.

Procedural Safeguards Notice

Schools provide families with a document called the “Procedural Safeguards Notice” that describe the rights that families have in the special education process.  This document is lengthy but includes important information.  There are several resources available to help families understand the contents of this document and their rights that you can access on this page.

The Rights Done Right: The Procedural Safeguards in Plain Language

Video Vignettes produced by the PEAL Center with funds from the PA Developmental Disabilities Council.

Right to Participate

Right to Receive Prior Written Notice

Right to Give Consent or Refuse Consent

Right to Receive a Non-Discriminatory Assessment

Right to Receive an Independent Educational Evaluation

Right to Confidentiality

Right to Amend Student Records

Right to File a Complaint

Right to Mediation and to Stay in Current Program

Right to Request a Due Process Hearing

Right to be Informed of School Discipline Policy

Right to be Informed of Policies Regarding Children in Private Schools

Procedural Safeguard Notice Audio [Link]

  • Resource from the Office for Dispute Resolution
  • The above resource provides links to an audio recording of the Procedural Safeguard Notice (PSN) broken into IX sections.
    • I. General Information
    • II. Confidentiality Information
    • III. State Complaint Procedures
    • IV. Due Process Complaint Procedures
    • V. Hearing on Due Process Complaint
    • VI. Mediation
    • VII. The Child’s Placement Pending Mediation and Due Process
    • VIII. What if My Child is Excluded from School Because of Discipline Issues
    • IX. What Special Education Services are Available for My Child, if Parentally Placed in a Private School?

ConsultLine, Office for Dispute Resolution

1-800-879-2301 (Toll-Free)

ConsultLine is a toll-free information help line for families and advocates of children with disabilities who have questions or concerns about the education of a school-aged child. ConsultLine specialists answer questions and provide information about special education, gifted education, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. More information about ConsultLine here.

You can reach the ConsultLine at the following telephone numbers: 1-800-879-2301 (in Pennsylvania) and 717-901-2146 (outside of Pennsylvania).

In collaboration with HUNE, the Spanish HelpLine Plus is available for callers who would like to speak with a specialist in Spanish.


A set of resources to help you understand eligibility.

Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE)

A set of resources to help you understand FAPE.

Understanding IEP Goals

IEP Changes

A set of resources to help you understand IEP changes.