Frequently Asked Questions


Q. As a parent, I believe I have a right to all of my child’s confidential records.  How do I get them?

A. You have a right to all of your student’s confidential and other records.  Make an appointment with someone at your child’s school (i.e., program specialist, counselor, administrator) to review the records with you and request copies.

Q. What is a learning disability?

A. A learning disability is permanent and affects the way individuals process new information, use their senses, and organize and express information. Estimates suggest that approximately 5% to 20% of the population have a learning disability.


Q. What are the Laws Governing Exceptional Children’s (EC) Services?

·         Americans with Disabilities Act (504 plan)

·         Individuals with Disabilities Education Act,  (Part B-Ages 3-21)

·         No Child Left Behind Act

·         Family Education Rights and Privacy act

·         To learn more:


Q. What is a Section 504?

A. Section 504 states that: “No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States, as defined in section 706(8) of this title, shall, solely by reason of her or his disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance…”

An impairment as used in Section 504 may include any disability, long-term illness, or various disorder that “substantially” reduces or lessens a student’s ability to access learning in the educational setting because of a learning-, behavior- or health-related condition. [“It should be emphasized that a physical or mental impairment does not constitute a disability for purposes of Section 504 unless its severity is such that it results in a substantial limitation of one or more major life activities” (Appendix A to Part 104, #3)].

Many students have conditions or disorders that are not readily apparent to others. They may include conditions such as specific learning disabilities, diabetes, epilepsy and allergies. Hidden disabilities such as low vision, poor hearing, heart disease or chronic illness may not be obvious, but if they substantially limit that child’s ability to receive an appropriate education as defined by Section 504, they may be considered to have an “impairment” under Section 504 standards. As a result, these students, regardless of their intelligence, will be unable to fully demonstrate their ability or attain educational benefits equal to that of non-disabled students (The Civil Rights of Students with Hidden Disabilities under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973—Pamphlet). The definition does not set forth a list of specific diseases, conditions or disorders that constitute impairments because of the difficulty of ensuring the comprehensiveness of any such list. While the definition of a disabled person also includes specific limitations on what persons are classified as disabled under the regulations, it also specifies that only physical and mental impairments are included, thus “environmental, cultural and economic disadvantage are not in themselves covered” (Appendix A to Part 104, #3).



Q. What is a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE)?

A. The individuals with disabilities act (IDEA) requires public schools to provide a free, appropriate public education to all children who have been identified in need of special education.


Q. What is the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE)?

A. School districts are required to educate students with disabilities in regular classrooms with their nondisabled peers, in the school they would attend if not disabled, to the highest degree possible.


Q. What is an IEP?

A. An “IEP” is an individualized education plan. It is a legal document that describes the special education and related services designed to meet the needs of a child with disabilities. An IEP is developed jointly by parents and educators, and when appropriate, your child. The IEP can be developed at one or more meetings.


Q. Who attends an IEP meeting?

·         One or both parents

·         Representative of the school qualified to provide or supervise the provision of special education services

·         Regular education teacher & exceptional children’s teacher

·         Related service specialists working with your child


Q. What does an IEP Include?

·         Description of student, (needs and strengths)

·         Goals & Objectives

·         Related Services

·         Special Education Placement

·         Time & Duration of Services

·         Evaluation, how progress will be measured and reported

·         Modifications and accommodations

·         Parent Concerns


Q. What is an IEP Goal?

A. What your child needs to learn to function in his or her school and academic curriculum. A well written goal tells you what skills your child will achieve and how they will achieve them. Goals should answer who, what, how, where and when. The Student, when they reach an appropriate age to participate in the IEP process.


Q. What is an IEP Objective?

A. IEP objectives are skills that your student needs to acquire in order to meet their IEP goals. Objectives should contain the same five basic parts: who, what, how, where, & when. Further, these objectives must be aligned with North Carolina Standard Course of Curriculum for each grade. See NC Extended Content Standards


Q. Who decides what Educational Setting is best for my child?

A. The IEP team decides the most appropriate educational setting for a student. There are several factors to consider when evaluating the child’s needs, including proximity of home to educational setting and least restrictive environment.


Q. What if I cannot attend the IEP meeting?

A. You can request to reschedule the meeting. You may also have a phone conference. If you find that you will be unable to attend after the meeting has been scheduled, please call the school and let them know as soon as possible.


Q. What are related services?

·         Occupational therapy

·         Physical therapy

·         Speech and Language

·         Transportation


Q. When will my child exit EC services?

A. The IEP team determines the need for continued services based on several factors, including your student’s needs, evaluations, teacher and parent input.


Q. Who do I contact if I have concerns or questions?

A. Start with your child’s teacher or special education teacher.  You can also talk to the principal at your child’s school.  If the concern is not resolved, contact Cindy Dotson, EC Director.

Click this link to see our At-Risk Students Policy Book