Special Education


The Individualized Education Program, commonly referred to as an IEP, is supported by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

IDEA is a United States federal law that governs how states, school districts, and public agencies provide early intervention, special education, and related services to children with disabilities. It focuses mostly on the educational needs of children with disabilities.

Educational Rights & Supports

  • Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is a civil rights law designed to eliminate discrimination on the basis of disability in any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance. Section 504 guarantees certain rights to people with disabilities, including the right to full participation and access to a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) to all children regardless of the nature or severity of the disability.
  • Free Appropriate Public Education, or FAPE is an educational right of children with disabilities in the United States that is guaranteed by the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Under Section 504, FAPE is defined as “the provision of regular or special education and related aids and services that are designed to meet the needs of handicapped persons as well as the needs of non-handicapped persons are met and based on adherence to procedural safeguards outlined in the law.”

General Information

An IEP is meant to ensure that students receive an appropriate placement and supports in the least restrictive setting. It is meant to give the student a chance to participate in general education settings as much as possible for that student.

It’s best to know your child’s rights and keep a level head when advocating for their education.

A few things to keep in mind:

  • Private schools in the US are not governed by IDEA or 504 unless they accept funding from the US government.
  • An IEP can be modified as needed, according to your child’s needs and goals.
  • You do not have to sign the IEP at the meeting.

Graduating High School in Virginia

Students meeting Virginia’s graduation requirements achieve the Commonwealth’s standards and graduate from high school with workplace skills, an understanding of their responsibilities as citizens, and career plans aligned with their talents, interests, and experiences.

There are various diploma options for people with disabilities:

Graduating Post-Secondary School in Virginia

College is now more accessible than ever to people with disabilities. With advanced planning, people can reach post-secondary education goals.

Useful IEP Tools

Useful Links

Federal Sites

Virginia Sites

Additional Resources

Available Books

Inclusion does not mean fitting students with special needs into regular schools. Inclusion means creating schools where everyone fits.” — Dr. Marti Snell
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