FAQs for Parents and Families
What is special education?
Special education is instruction that is specially designed to meet the unique needs of children who have disabilities. Special education and related services are provided in public schools at no cost to the parents and can include special instruction in the classroom, at home, in hospitals or institutions, or in other settings. This definition of special education comes from IDEA, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. This law gives eligible children with disabilities the right to receive special services and assistance in school.
To learn more about special education, see additional Questions Asked by Parents about Special Education Services at the Center for Parent Information and Resources.
What is an IEP?
When a child receives special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), he or she must have an Individualized Education Program (IEP). This is a written document listing, among other things, the special education services that the child will receive. The IEP is developed by a team that includes the child’s parents and school staff. Read more All About IEPs at the Center for Parent Information and Resources.
What is the process by which children are identified as having a disability and in need of special education and related services?
When a child is having trouble in school, it’s important to find out why. The child may have a disability. By law, schools must provide special help to eligible children with disabilities. This help is called special education and related services. There is a lot to know about the process by which children are identified as having a disability and in need of special education and related services. Learn more about this process with an overview of the 10 Basic Steps in Special Education Process at the Center for Parent Information and Resources.
What should I do if I have a concern or don’t agree with the school?
While it is expected that parents and school personnel will work in partnership to ensure children with disabilities are provided appropriate services, there are times when the child’s parents and school officials cannot reach consensus on what constitutes a free appropriate public education (FAPE) for an individual child. When such disagreements occur, parents and school districts can turn to IDEA’s procedural safeguards and dispute resolution options. For more general information on options for resolving disagreements, see Resolving Disputes Between Parents and Schools from the Center for Parent Information and Resources.
If you have a concern, it is helpful for you to immediately contact your child's teacher, principal, or local special education supervisor.
Contact information for all special education supervisors is available by following the links below:
If the issue or concern is still not resolved, a parent may contact the State Education Agency (SEA) Supervisor or the Arkansas Special Education Dispute Resolution Section for additional assistance.
What are my rights under IDEA?
The federal regulations for IDEA 2004 include a section (Subpart E) called Procedural Safeguards. These safeguards are designed to protect the rights of parents and their child with a disability and, at the same time, give families and school systems several mechanisms by which to resolve their disputes. See Your Rights Under IDEA for a complete explanation of all the procedural safeguards. (Click here for the Spanish version of Your Rights Under IDEA.) For additional guidance on your rights, visit Parental Rights Under IDEA from the Center for Parent Information and Resources.
Where can I find information about services for infants and toddlers with developmental delay?
The First Connections Program is a statewide system of services to assist infants and toddlers (age 0-36 months) and their families. Children grow, learn, and develop at different rates and in different ways. Just as children are all individuals, families also have different abilities and needs. The First Connections Program works with families on an individualized basis to assist in locating and coordinating services. The Department of Human Services (DHS) is the Lead Agency for the Program. The Division of Developmental Disabilities Services (DDS) is the division within DHS, which has administrative responsibility for the implementation of the program.
Learn more by visiting the DHS First Connections webpage or calling the family help and information line: 1-800-643-8258.
Where can I learn more about student data?
Information on student data use and privacy is available on the ADE Parent Page for Data
Where can I find additional information about special education?
Please visit the Resource Links for Parents and Families for additional information.
Some of the above information is exerted from the Center for Parent information and Resources and may be accessed directly at http://www.parentcenterhub.org/nichcy-resources/