Undivided: Understanding Placement in an IEP

Educational Placement



In an IEP, placement refers to the setting where a student will be educated. School districts are legally obligated to place a student in the least restrictive environment (LRE) where they will receive a free, appropriate public education (FAPE). In these resources, parents can learn more about what these terms mean, what some common placement options are, and how to advocate for placements that set our kids up for success.

What does the least restrictive environment mean?

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) says that children with disabilities must be educated in the least restrictive environment (LRE) that will meet their needs. This means that public schools are required to provide a free, appropriate public education (FAPE) to all students with disabilities and place them in a classroom with their non-disabled peers to the greatest extent possible. Check out our article about educational placement to see what options may be available for your child.



What does the least restrictive environment mean?

How can I determine if a placement is appropriate for my child?

When can I disagree with the recommended placement?

Where will my child receive special education services?

Related Parent Questions

Can I tour the schools/classrooms offered before the IEP team makes a placement decision?
When considering your child's placement, request to see any and all programs that may be of benefit to your child, and remember that what you’re requesting to see shouldn’t be more restrictive than what your child requires to access their education.
What is a Non-Public School (NPS)?
These are separate schools for students with various disabilities. There are no general education students on campus. All specialists are in-house and readily available to support students.
What does the law say about the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE)?
IDEA states that every public agency (including public schools and districts) is required to ensure that children with disabilities be educated with children who are not disabled to the maximum extent appropriate.
Can a resource teacher "push in" to a general education classroom?
In the push-in model, the resource teacher can enter the student’s general education class to provide IEP goal support.
What is a Special Day Class (SDC)?
There are two types of Special Day Classes. Mild/Moderate Special Day Class is a more restrictive class, which uses the general education curriculum. Moderate/Severe SDC Class uses a modified curriculum, often called “Life Skills” or “Functional Skills.”
What are the options for educational placements under an IEP?
Educational placement options in an IEP include instruction in a general education classroom, specialized classes, specialized schools, home instruction, and instruction in residential facilities.

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