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Parent and Student participation in the development of an IEP: What are your rights?

Parent participation in the development of a child's IEP is a fundamental right provided under the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA). Federal and state law require that parents of a child with a disability must be given an opportunity to participate in meetings regarding the identification, assessment, educational placement, and provision of a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to their child. 

A parent has participated meaningfully in the development of an IEP when they are informed of the student's problems, attends the IEP meeting, expresses disagreement with the IEP team as to their conclusions, and request revisions of the IEP.  

When a child turns 18 they may assume special education rights previously held by the parent

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) gives states the authority to transfer educational decision-making rights to students who receive special education services at the age of majority.


In California, when students reach age 18-years-old, educational decision-making authority transfers from the parent to the student, unless the student has been determined incompetent under California law.

This means a student with educational decision-making authority has the right to meaningfully participate in the development of their IEP.

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