Family involvement in a student’s education is mandated by the Individuals with Disability Education Act (IDEA) and promoted by the Child and Adolescent Service System Program (CASSP) of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Students increase in both achievement and attitude when families participate in education (Henderson & Berla, 1994). Other benefits include improved student attendance, fewer discipline problems, and higher aspirations for school and career development (Caplan, Hall, Lubin, Fleming, 1997).
IDEA requires school systems to ensure that parents have the opportunity to participate if they choose to do so. The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities summarizes parents’ rights under the Act as follows:
- “Parents have the right to participate in meetings related to the evaluation, identification, and educational placement of their child.
- Parents have the right to participate in meetings related to the provision of a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to their child.
- Parents are entitled to be members of any group that decides whether their child is a “child with a disability” and meets eligibility criteria for special education and related services.
- Parents are entitled to be members of the team that develops, reviews, and revises the individualized education program (IEP) for their child. If neither parent can attend the IEP meeting, the school must use other methods to ensure their participation, including individual or conference calls.
- Parents are entitled to be members of any group that makes placement decisions for their child. If neither parent can attend the meeting where placement is decided, the school must use other methods to ensure their participation, including individual or conference calls, or video conferencing.” (Retrieved from http://www.nichcy.org/InformationResources/Documents/NICHCY%20PUBS/QA2.pdf)
Refer to more detailed information on family involvement at Project10 Transition Education Network.