Special Education/IDEA

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Educational Rights & Individualized Education Programs (IEP)

Defining & Understanding Special Education

A reference list to expand your understanding of what key terms in IDEA mean and how schools address the needs of students with disabilities and support them in achieving the annual goals stated in their IEPs.

The Right to Special Education in Pennsylvania: A Guide for Parents and Advocates, Education Law Center of PA

Individualized Education Program (IEP)

The IEP is an important document in the educational lives of students with disabilities receiving special education under IDEA. This is a written document listing, among other things, the special education services that the student will receive. The IEP is developed by a team that includes the child’s parents and school staff.


Supreme Court Case Decision Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District Re-1

On March 22, 2017 the U.S. Supreme Court issued a unanimous opinion in Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District Re-1, 137 S. Ct.988 that the scope of the free appropriate public education (FAPE) requirements in the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA) be determined that “[t]o meet its substantive obligation under the IDEA, a school must offer an IEP that is reasonably calculated to enable a child make progress appropriate in light of the child’s circumstances.” The court additionally emphasized the requirement that “every child should have the chance to meet challenging objectives.”

Q & A on Endrew

After 34 Years, the Supreme Court Revises FAPE – The Endrew F. Decision – an article from the PEAL Center’s Summer 2017 newsletter 


FAPE at a Glance:

Dispute Resolution & Procedural Safeguards

IDEA Dispute Resolution Parent Guides

The Center for Appropriate Dispute Resolution in Special Education provides IDEA Dispute Resolution Parent Guides (available in EnglishSpanishArabicChinese (Simplified)HmongKoreanRussianVietnameseBurmesePortugueseJapanese, and Somali.). These guides are companion resources to OSEP’s release of a Q&A on IDEA Part B Dispute Resolution


Procedural Safeguards Notice


Procedural Safeguard Notice Audio

Resource from the Office for Dispute Resolution. This resource provides links to an audio recording of the Procedural Safeguard Notice (PSN) broken into IX sections.

  1. General Information
  2. Confidentiality Information
  3. State Complaint Procedures
  4. Due Process Complaint Procedures
  5. Hearing on Due Process Complaint
  6. Mediation
  7. The Child’s Placement Pending Mediation and Due Process
  8. What if My Child is Excluded from School Because of Discipline Issues
  9. 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 preschool and 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).

The Spanish HelpLine Plus is available for callers who would like to speak with a specialist in Spanish.

Special Education Law and Regulations

Evaluation & Reevaluation

This five-part series will help you understand federal and state special education laws regarding evaluation and reevaluation forms, and other important educational language in these reports. Included on these pages are downloadable PDFs of the annotated forms. Check out the series here, and let us know what you think! 

Part 1: A Family’s Guide to Understanding Annotated Evaluation and Reevaluation Reports
Part 2: A Family’s Guide to Understanding Annotated Evaluation and Reevaluation Reports
Part 3: A Family’s Guide to Understanding Annotated Evaluation and Reevaluation Reports
Part 4: A Family’s Guide to Understanding Annotated Evaluation and Reevaluation Reports
Part 5: A Family’s Guide to Understanding Annotated Evaluation and Reevaluation Reports

Supplementary Aids and Services

Supplementary aids and services are often critical elements in supporting the education of children with disabilities in regular education classes, other education-related settings, and in extracurricular and nonacademic settings, to enable children with disabilities to be educated with non-disabled children to the maximum extent appropriate.

Examples of supplementary aids and services:

  • Adapted equipment
  • One-on-one aide
  • Assistive technology
  • Modified assignments/materials
  • Peer mentors
  • Collaboration/consultation among staff, parents, and/or other professionals

Determining what supplementary aids and services are appropriate for a particular child must be done on an individual basis.

Pennsylvania’s Supplementary Aids and Services Toolkit: An Overview for Parents

Supplementary Aids and Services (SaS) Consideration Toolkit

Supplementary Aids and Services Fact Sheet, PaTTAN. This fact sheet provides the definition and purpose of supplementary aids and services as well as a framework for considering the full range of supplementary aids and services.

Gaskin Publication