FAPE stands for Free and Appropriate Public Education, it is one of the most commonly misunderstood concepts presented in the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA).
It has to be understood well in order to prevent any misunderstanding between parents and schools.
As stated in the law FAPE orders school districts to provide access to general education and specialized educational services. This means that children who have disabilities are able to get support free of charge. It does not mean that the disabled students will be given a better education that those that are not disabled; it just means that they will be given a chance to learn.
What are the important points to remember in FAPE?
Children who are suffering from disabilities will not be charged for student fees, materials and other costs that general education students usually have to pay including any special education and related service that will be provided by the school.
Children with disabilities will not be required to provide the basic requirements that are usually needed for graduation like passing state-approved assessments based on the State Standards.
Instead, they would be given access and benefit from instruction so they would be able to meet the standards that are being given by the State Education Authority.
Parents would be allowed to choose a specialized program for their kids that will allow them to gain educational materials.
The schools are expected to cater to the needs of the unique child that they may have a chance at attaining progress in their educational setting.
Special students would also be given the chance to gain access to non-academic and extracurricular activities just like that of their non-disabled peers.
There are cases where in the FAPE is not followed by some schools, some parent requests for an intensive special education program is not achieved, some school administrators would not be willing to reimburse parents for services that has come from private sectors like hiring academic tutors or ABA therapist. Before claiming the FAPE parents have to make sure of that the school administration is willing to give and not give. Parents need to learn how to make use of the FAPE and how it should be delivered to the school in order to gain benefits.
Courts are the ones who will usually hear about the case when it comes to any issue with free appropriate public education. Parents need to understand that despite the fact that FAPE can provide free education to special students, the FAPE cannot guarantee that the best education will be provided.
It will be the responsibility of the parents to check if their child is receiving meaningful education benefit by checking the objective information provided by the school through tests and by understanding what this test scores mean.
- Special Education Dictionary
- ADA – Americans with Disabilities Act
- AMAO – Annual Measurable Achievement Objectives
- APD – Auditory Processing Disorder in Children
- CST – Child Study Team
- EHA – Education for All Handicapped Children Act
- FAPE – Free Appropriate Public Education
- IDEA – Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
- IDEIA – Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act
- IEP – Individual Education Plan
- IHCP – Individualized Health Care Plan
- LD – Learning Disabled
- LDT-C – Learning Disabilities Consultants
- LRE – Least Restrictive Environment
- ODD – Oppositional Defiant Disorder
- OHI – Other Health Impairments
- PWN – Prior Written Notice
- RTI – Response to Intervention