California Special Education Law

Advocacy Resources, Hearing & Appeal Decisions, Statistics and More for Parents

Your Special Needs Child's Legal Rights

Special Education Defined


Special education is defined as: specifically designed instruction, at no cost to the parent, designed to meet the unique needs of a child with disabilities. Instruction can include classroom and home instruction as well as instruction provided in hospitals and institutions.

Individualized and Appropriate

One of the major principles of the IDEA is that the education of a child must be individualized and appropriate to the child’s needs. In order for a school to receive federal funding and support under IDEA, the state must have a policy that ensures that all children with disabilities receive a Free And Appropriate Public Education (“FAPE”). The IDEA requires that the development of an appropriate special education program and related services occur through a vehicle known as an individualized education program (“IEP”).