Beth Troutman, 19 May 2007
What does placement mean?
Placement refers to the educational
setting in which the goals and
objectives for your child’s special
education and related services may
appropriately be met.
A continuum of placement options must
Decisions about your child’s placement
cannot be made until after the IEP team
meets and reaches consensus about the IEP
Your child’s placement decision is based on
“It is the purpose of this Act to assure that all
children with disabilities have available to
them…a free, appropriate public education
which emphasizes special education and
related services designed to meet their
unique needs. To the maximum extent
appropriate, children with disabilities,
including children in public or private
institutions or other care facilities, are
educated with children who are not disabled.”
FAPE means a “Free Appropriate Public
All children under the age of 22 are
entitled to a free, public education that
appropriately meets their educational
LRE means “Least Restrictive
The LRE requirements that the IEP
team must consider are on “IEP pg.319”
of the IEP.
These factors are very important-read
them carefully at the IEP meeting.
The IEP team-of which the parents are
members- must discuss these factors
and consider them BEFORE choosing
an IEP placement for your child at the
Placement Continuum Options
Placement continuum options are found on
the “IEP 321 Placement” page of the IEP.
The team must begin at the top of the list,
which is considered the least restrictive
environment, and move down the list until
the appropriate placement is found for your
Continuum Options List
The team can consider the following options
from the “placement continuum options” list:
General Education Settings (including integrated settings)
Special Classes (this means special education classes)
Public Day School
Private day School
State Operated Program
Private Residential School
Home Based Instruction
Placement Options and the IEP
The team can choose more than one placement
option to meet the child’s educational needs. For
example, many of our children receive their
education in both the general education setting and
special education setting.
In order to consider certain placements, additional
team members might be required at the IEP meeting.
For example, Contract Services must be a part of the
team in order to consider placements like “Private
Day School” and “Private Residential School”.
The “Primary Service” that your child receives is the
set of strategies and methodologies that the team
decides will best support your child’s educational
needs. Your child does not have to have a medical
diagnosis or an educational label to receive a
particular Primary Service.
The list of Primary Services that FCPS offers is on
page “IEP 320 Services” of the IEP.
One primary service is not less restrictive than
another (i.e.-non-cat services are not less restrictive
than autism services)
“Primary service” can be looked at as a description of strategies
and methodologies through which a school provides your child’s
education in whatever environment the team chooses
that will best meet the needs of your child.
The “primary service” should be thought of as best practice for
delivery of you child’s IEP.
When a teacher delivers supports to your child through a
“primary service”, the teacher should be “highly qualified”.
“Non-Categorical” is a primary service that is only available in
You can not “graduate out” of a primary service, like AUT. If
your child is successful in a particular program, change the
setting not the service.
Service Delivery Options
“Service Delivery Options” refers to the
settings in which your child will receive his or
her education via their designated primary
These settings, listed on page IEP 319,
Special ed svs. in general ed classes on an intermittent
Special ed svs. in general ed classes on a regularly
scheduled basis (specific days/times)
More Service Delivery Options
Special ed svs. in special ed classes on an
intermittent basis (sometimes)
Special ed svs. in special ed classes on a
regularly scheduled basis (specific days/times)
Preschool special education svs. in natural
environments (FCEP classes are the only
general ed preschool classes in FCPS)
Consult/Monitor/Collaboration-this means that
the teachers/itinerants work together-there is
no direct service from whomever is responsible
for the goal.
Service Delivery Options…A.K.A…
There are many ways that a school can offer
a student their service delivery options.
General Education classes
Team Taught classes
Pull-Out (Resource Room, Learning Labs)
Where Should My Child Be Educated?
Determining placement can be a stressful
part of the IEP if you don’t know your
Ask the team what types of classes the school
offers. If the school does not offer what you
have in mind-ask anyway. Some teams are
open to creating classes or tweaking current
options to fit your child’s needs.
Guidelines For Determining
Placement must be based on the
individual needs of the child as
stipulated in his/her IEP.
IDEA states that each child should be
educated as close to his/her home as
possible. This is called the “base
In Fairfax County, sometimes the base school
does not offer the service, accommodations,
programs or peer environment that the child
requires to meet his/her educational needs.
The IEP team must then determine the
school closest to the child’s base school that
does fit his/her needs as specified by the IEP.
What To Look For…
Can the school provide the necessary physical
accommodations required in the child’s IEP? (small
plant, quiet environment, wheelchair accessible)
Does the school schedule meet the needs of your
child? (does the school run on a block schedule?)
Can the school provide any special programs listed on
the IEP? (PAC, Enhanced Autism Program, GT, AP, IB
Are there opportunities and supports that will allow
your child to participate in school activities with their
typical peers? (inclusion opportunities)
Placement Can’t Be Based
Category or severity of disability
Configuration of delivery system
Availability of educational or related
Availability of space
When choosing a school, keep the
following things in mind:
According to the FCPS School Board
Regulations, a family can not “pupil place”
a student with an IEP. All placements are
an IEP team decision.
Attending a location other than your base
school still entitles you to transportation
from the county.
More Helpful Hints…
You can request a tour of the proposed
placement before you sign the IEP.
You can refuse to sign an IEP that
stipulates a placement with which you do
not agree. The team will have to
implement the last signed or “stay put” IEP
in the last designated school. But
remember-the rest of the IEP stays the
same as well-including goals,
Remember, the most important aspect
of making a placement decision for your
child is whether his/her individual needs
as specified in the IEP can be
appropriately met in the chosen