Age Related Concerns

Children’s Special Education Rights School District’s Responsibilities When School Districts and Parents Disagree Need more help? Kids Content Special education rights in New Jersey are derived from the Federal Law IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act).  The New Jersey Administrative Code (NJAC) 6A:14 are the state’s regulations based upon IDEA.NJAC 6A:14 explains the rights of the children determined eligible for special education and related services as well as policies and procedures the school districts must adhere to in order to comply with the law.  Additionally, it illustrates procedural safeguards in case a school district and parent do not agree on a particular issue.  Click here for a copy of the New Jersey Administrative Code (NJAC) 6A:14.  This information is also available directly from your school district or from the Office of Special EducationPrograms (OSEP) at (609) 292-0147.back to top Children with autism have the right to a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE).  This means that school districts must provide an appropriate education to students, not necessarily the best placement for the child. The New Jersey Administrative Code states that parents are a part of the IEP (Individualized Educational Plan) team.  This means that parents are considered members of the Child Study Team and need to provide input into the development and implementation of the IEP as well as placement considerations. The New Jersey Administrative Code also addresses issues such as class size, Extended School Year, discipline, the 17 required components of the IEP and the 11 items to be considered when developing the IEP. The IEP is a document that lists all of the educational services that are to be provided to the special education child.  It should describe in detail the child’s special education program.  It should also describe how the child currently performs and his or her specific instructional needs.  Additionally, the IEP must include measurable annual goals and short-term objectives or benchmarks.  It is important that the parents should attempt to put into the IEP any services they deem necessary to allow their child to benefit from their education because the IEP is a legal and binding contract between the school district and the parents. back to topSchool districts are responsible for the education of a child with autism from the age of 3 to 21.  They are also responsible for any related services the child may need to benefit from their education.  Once parents sign consent to begin the evaluation process, a 90-day time-line begins.  Within that 90-day period, the school district needs to conduct the educational evaluation of the child, develop the IEP and begin implementation of the IEP.  This is only for the initial evaluation and IEP. If a parent does not agree with the school district’s evaluation, they have the right to request that an independent evaluation be performed at taxpayer expense.  They can use a school district referral or seek out their own providers.  Reevaluations will be conductedat least every three years and the IEP will be reviewed annually.  ” “The school district will also provide the parents with a copy of a booklet called PRISE (Parental Rights in Special Education).  PRISE is a condensed version of the New Jersey Administrative Code and comes complete with sample forms for requesting Emergency Relief Hearings, complaint investigations, mediation and due process hearings.  This booklet must be provided by the school district when a child is referred for an initial evaluation, when a parent is notified of an IEP meeting, when a reevaluation is conducted and when a request for a due process hearing is submitted to the Department of Education.  Click here to download aPDF copy of the PRISE Booklet now.At other instances, the school district must provide parents with a statement explaining that parents have rights under the special education law, how parents can obtain a copy of PRISE and sources they may contact for assistance in understanding the special education rules. back to top When parents disagree with school districts over the identification, evaluation, classification, educational placement or the provision of a free, appropriate public education, they have the right to go to mediation to resolve the dispute or, if not resolved, to a due process hearing.  Requests for mediation or due process must be submitted to Barbara Gantwerk, Director, Office of Special Education Programs, New Jersey Department of Education, P.O. Box 500, Trenton, New Jersey 08625-0500.   Requests must state the issue, specify the relief sought and show that a copy of the request was sent to the school district.  The name, address and school the child is attending should also be included with the request.  Sample forms for submitting requests are included in the Parental Rights in Special Education booklet given to parents by the school district. If parents need more information understanding their rights and the New Jersey Administrative Code, they should call 1-800-4-AUTISM and speak with a COSAC Information and Advocacy specialist.  A sample IEP is also available detailing the required components of an IEP according to the New Jersey Administrative Code. back to top Please contact COSAC at 1-800-4-AUTISM or (609) 883-8100 with questions or for further clarification on any of the topics presented above.  COSAC also offers free IEP Clinics for those interested in learning more about the IEP components and process.  Click here for more information about these sessions. back to top