What is FAPE under Special Education?

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FAPE means Free Appropriate Public Education. It is part of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). (What is the IDEA?)  Sometimes this is called Special Education. FAPE is the foundation of your child’s special education program.

Every eligible child with a disability has the right to FAPE. An IEP (Individualized Education Program) provides services to make sure students with disabilities get FAPE. The services fit your child’s unique needs. The IEP should also prepare them for the future. This involves education, employment, or independent living.

Under FAPE, your child’s special education and related services have to follow these rules:

  • The services are at no cost to you or your child
  • The services meet the Kansas State Board of Education’s standards for children with and without disabilities
  • FAPE applies from preschool until high school graduation (from birth through age 21)
  • FAPE must follow IEP requirements anywhere in Kansas

What are my rights as a parent?

Your child’s school must give you a copy of your parent rights. Ask for a copy if you don’t get one. You can find a copy of the Kansas State Department of Education Parent Rights document here. it could look different from what your school gives you but your rights will be the same.

The Kansas Special Education for Exceptional Children Act lists your responsibilities as a parent of a child with a disability.

These are:

• Make sure that your child goes to school
     – A child with an IEP has to start going to school at age 3 in Kansas
• Give an education to your child if they don’t go to public school
     – Private school or homeschooling is allowed

For your child to receive FAPE, it is important for you to meet these responsibilities. Not doing so may result in penalties. This includes a child being reported as truant (not being in school) and a parent being investigated for neglect of their child.

Sources & Additional Resources:

Parent Guide to Special Education. Kansas State Department of Education.

Families Together, Inc.

Kansas Special Education Process Handbook. Kansas State Department of Education.

What is IDEA? Disability Rights Center of Kansas & Families Together, Inc.

Who can make a referral for an evaluation to determine if my child needs Special Education services? Disability Rights Center of Kansas & Families Together, Inc.

IEP Essentials for Parents. Tourette Syndrome Association, Inc.

Disclaimer: This fact sheet is not intended to provide specific legal advice. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney. Only an attorney can give you specific legal advice based on your particular situation. We try to update our materials regularly, but the law can change frequently. This publication is based on the law at the time that it was written. Future changes in the law could make information in this fact sheet inaccurate.