Myth: Special Education is a place

Truth: Special Education is services and supports through Individualized Education Program (IEP) not a place.  Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which calls for IEP for students who qualify, children are to be educated in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) with supports and accommodations brought in for that to work before an alternative placement is explored. Placement is not to be determined based on the category of disability a child qualifies under.

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 requires that 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)]

Click on the graphic from our friends at PEAK Parent Center:

 Helpful Resources:

special ed is not a place