Q & A Corner - Issue #33

NASET Q & A Corner

Questions and Answers on Educational Placement

Introduction

Once the IEP team has decided what services a child needs, a decision must be made about where services will be provided. Where the child’s IEP is carried out is called placement. Parents have the right to be part of the group that decides the child’s placement. In deciding the child’s placement, the group must make sure that the child has the maximum opportunity appropriate to learn with children who do not have disabilities—in academic, nonacademic, and extracurricular activities. This part of IDEA is called Least Restrictive Environment or LRE. IDEA's LRE provisions are primarily found at §§300.114 through 300.117.

Least Restrictive Environment is explained in IDEA as follows:

. . . To the maximum extent appropriate, children with disabilities . . . are educated with children who are nondisabled; and . . . special classes, separate schooling or other removal of children with disabilities from the regular educational environment occurs only if the nature or severity of the disability is such that education in regular classes with the use of supplementary aids and services cannot be achieved satisfactorily. [§300.114(a)(2)(i)]

IDEA also says:

  • The child’s placement is determined at least annually; is based on the child’s IEP; and is as close as possible to the child’s home. [§300.116(b)]
  • Unless the IEP requires some other arrangement, the child is educated in the school that he or she would attend if nondisabled. [§300.116(c)] 
  • When looking at placement options, consideration must be given to ny potential harmful effect on the child or on the quality of services that he or she needs. [§300.116(d)]
  • A child with a disability may not be removed from education in age-appropriate regular classrooms just because he or she needs modifications to the general curriculum. [§300.116(e)]

The focus of this issue of the NASET Q & A Corner is to address educational placements for students with disabilities

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