Know Your Rights



“A child with a disability has a federally protected right to special education and related services when he or she needs them to benefit from education. The term “disability” is not limited to physical disability but rather includes mental disability, including mental retardation, serious emotional disturbance, autism, traumatic brain injury, specific learning disabilities, and other health impairments. A parent may request that a child be evaluated by the school district for special education and related services. The law sets forth specific guidelines for the evaluation, assessment, and eligibility determination. Unique to each child, the IEP (Individual Education Plan) is the written plan that documents the child’s special education and related services. The initial IEP is developed at a meeting among parents, various school personnel, and others whom the parents may wish to invite. Parents are an integral part of the team and are involved in all decisions by the team. The IEP must be reviewed annually, with attention given to whether educational objectives have been met. For a child with mental health issues, the IEP likely contains “related services,” such as counseling, and measurable goals to improve behaviors in the school setting. When a child’s condition is such that he or she cannot benefit from education in the regular school setting, other placements are considered. The school district maintains the ultimate responsibility of the cost of all such education placements, including residential care.” – US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health


Click here for more information regarding Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) for Students With Disabilities:
Requirements Under Section 504 of The Rehabilitation Act of 1973


We would like to bring your attention to this letter issued from the United States Department of Eduction Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services 

…To help make certain that children with disabilities are held to high expectations and have meaningful access to a State’s academic content standards, we write to clarify that an individualized education program (IEP) for an eligible child with a disability under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) must be aligned with the State’s academic content standards for the grade in which the child is enrolled…(To view the letter in full, click here.)




FROM: James P. DeLorenzo

SUBJECT: Amendment to Regulations regarding Graduation Requirements to Extend the Appeal Process to include Appeal of Scores for the Safety Net Local Diploma for Students with Disabilities (Effective December 30, 2015)

At their December 2015 meeting, the Board of Regents approved for permanent adoption the amendment of section 100.5(d)(7) of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education to provide the option for student with disabilities to appeal a score of up to three points below a 55 on up to two Regents exams in order to graduate with a local diploma.  (SPED January 16 MEMO REGENTS APPEAL)




TO: Parents and Educators from Long Island and New York City

FROM: James P. DeLorenzo

SUBJECT: Individualized Education Program (IEP) Facilitation Pilot Program

The New York State Education Department (NYSED), Office of Special Education, is pleased to announce that it has initiated a three-year pilot program of the early dispute resolution option of Individualized Education Program (IEP) Facilitation. Effective immediately, the option of IEP Facilitation is available to schools and parents in school districts in Long Island and in New York City’s District 10 in the Bronx and District 24 in Queens. To read the full advisory, click here.




FROM: James P. DeLorenzo

SUBJECT: 2014 Legislative Changes Affecting Special Education

This memorandum provides information on amendments made to New York State Education Law, pursuant to Chapter 434 of the Laws of 2014, regarding special education parental notification requirements upon a student’s entry into school. Section 4402 of the Education Law is amended by adding a new subdivision, effective July 1, 2015, requiring public schools to notify every parent of their rights regarding referral and evaluation of their child for the purposes of special education services or programs upon their child’s enrollment in public school.

Attached is information on this change which includes the legal citation(s), a summary of the changes, an effective date, and the corresponding statutory language.

(Statute: Chapter 434 of the Laws of 2014

  1. Upon their child’s enrollment or attendance in a public school, such school shall notify every parent or person in parental relation of their rights regarding referral and evaluation of their child for the purposes of special education services or programs pursuant to applicable federal and state laws. Such notification may be provided by directing parents or persons in parental relation to obtain information located on the department’s website relating to a parent’s guide to special education in New York state for children ages three through twenty-one provided the notification shall also contain the name and contact information for the chairperson of the school district’s committee on special education or other individual who is charged with processing referrals to the committee in the district.


To read Parental consent link 2009 info click here.


To read Section 200.6 Continuum of services click here.


To read the New York State Education Department PROCEDURAL SAFEGUARDS NOTICE April 2014
click here. PSGN-April2014




Special Education Quality Assurance (SEQA)

Long Island Regional Office – NYS Education Department P-12: Office of Special Education
Perry B. Duryea, Jr. State Office Building
Room 2A-5
250 Veterans Memorail Highway
Hauppauge, NY 11788
Telephone: (631) 952-3352 — Fax (631) 952-3834

Special Education Quality Assurance oversees preschool and school-age special education services through a quality assurance review process that emphasizes attainment of positive results for student with disabilities. Regional Associates, located in several quality assurance offices across New York State, coordinate the review process and also provide technical assistance to parents, school district personnel, and private providers. (



Center for Parent Information and Resources (



Wrightslaw: Parents, educators, advocates, and attorneys come to Wrightslaw for accurate, reliable information about special education law, education law, and advocacy for children with disabilities.



IDEA:  The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a law ensuring services to children with disabilities throughout the nation. IDEA governs how states and public agencies provide early intervention, special education and related services to more than 6.5 million eligible infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities.



OPWDD:  NYS Office for People With Developmental Disabilities






Special Education: Federal vs. State Law | IDEA vs. State Law – Understood




If you disagree with decisions affecting your child’s special education, you have many rights, including the right to mediation and due process.


Have an advocacy question? Contact The Long Island Advocacy Center, Inc.   LIAC is a private not-for-profit agency dedicated to protecting the legal rights of students and individuals with disabilities. For assistance in Nassau Telephone: 516.248.2222  Fax: 516.248.2290.