Parents, educators,and fellow advocates send us a lot of questions. The e-mail box for ICAA is full on any given day. Our HUB was busy before we were even full moved in. Our community obviously has questions, requests and needs that are not being met. This is why ICAA is here. Today, we will answer a question about school. Q: My daughter’s regular education teacher told me on the first day of school that my child will not be spending hardly any time in her classroom. But at our IEP meeting, she is supposed to be in her regular ed classroom more this year. What can we do? Answer: You will need to look at your child’s most recent IEP. The IEP is a legally binding document which has to be followed. It is imperative that all team members are knowledgeable about what is included in the IEP and the importance of implementing the agreement. What goes into deciding the child’s placement is the law, and also what is appropriate for your child’s needs pertaining to her disability (decided by you and the rest of the IEP team). As the parent, you have the most important role in your child’s IEP and her education overall. Depending on what was agreed upon, and what the child’s needs are, and referencing the law, you will be able to determine what the least restrictive environment (LRE) is for your child. Inclusion is important to all students and every student has the right to be in the least restrictive environment. Special Education is not supposed to be interpreted to mean a separate building or classroom, removed from one’s typically developing schoolmates. Rather, special education is supposed to ensure there will be additional supports, based on the individual needs of the student, within the child’s least restrictive environment. If your IEP states that your child is to be in the general classroom setting x percent of the time, and the school is not implementing it, you will need to alert the team to this discrepancy. Choose a time to audit the school day and determine if the IEP is adhered to. If it is still not being followed, you may want to seek some advisement from an advocate or an attorney, and reconvene the IEP. Students with special needs have the legal right to equal access to education. For more resources and information, please see our resource guide or contact us.