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A parent’s guide to special education in Florida

On Behalf of | Mar 1, 2022 | General Education Law |

If you have a child with a disability in Florida, it can be difficult to know where to turn for help to ensure that your kid gets specialized opportunities that suit their needs. Take a look at how you can ensure that your child receives the best education.

Special needs children in Florida

If you have a reason to believe that your child is disabled and requires special needs education, reach out to Florida’s Child Find Network. This organization will screen your child to see if they have any disability and assess whether they may need specialized education or other accommodation.

If Child Find determines that your child is indeed disabled, a team including you, your kid’s teachers, district representative, and evaluators will discuss their disability and the unique educational needs they might need according to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA. Then, you will create an individualized education plan, known as an IEP, for your child.

Education law in Florida requires the team to develop the IEP within 30 days of determining that your child is disabled. The school must follow this document as written, including:

  • Measurable and reasonably ambitious goals that can help your child prosper
  • Accommodations that can help your child with their education, like more time on tests
  • Services that can help them improve the effects of their disability
  • Specialized instructions that focus on their academic weak spots

Your rights as a parent

The law has protections for both your child and you as the parent. You have a right to:

  • Receive information about your child’s disability and how it affects their learning
  • Participate in the IEP process and provide input on your child’s educational goals
  • Receive notice if your child is going to be disciplined at school
  • Appeal any decisions made by the school regarding your child’s education

Your child deserves the best, and the law is written to ensure that all children receive what they need to thrive in school. If you feel that your rights have been violated or that your child is not receiving the services they need, you can file a complaint with the Office for Civil Rights or the Department of Education.