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Legal issues in early childhood special education


Family and professional collaboration is beneficial to students, families, and educators. The importance of such collaboration was recognized for families of students with disabilities, resulting in provisions in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) that mandate parental participation in educational planning. Despite the benefits of family and professional collaboration and the IDEA mandate, many parents disagree with the educational planning decisions provided to their children and request due process hearings. Parents perceive a lack of opportunity to provide input and/or to disagree with schools’ perspectives. Parents of early childhood students report significant concerns about their child’s readiness for the transition to kindergarten and their limited role in transition planning as their children prepared to enter preschool programs. The purpose of this article was to examine the issues identified in parental complaints in early childhood special education (ECSE) through a qualitative content analysis of recent court cases. The results revealed six themes related to current issues in ECSE programs. We conclude with several recommendations for state policy makers to improve services in ECSE based on the DEC Recommended Practices. (author abstract)

Resource Type:
Reports & Papers
United States

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