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Parent Guide -
Educational Rights and Responsibilities: Understanding Special Education in Illinois

Educational Rights and Responsibilities: Understanding Special Education in Illinois is a document, developed by the Illinois State Board of Education for parents and others to learn about the educational rights of children who have disabilities and receive special education services.

Paper copies of Educational Rights and Responsibilities are not available at this time. For questions regarding Educational Rights and Responsibilities call 217/782-5589.

Complete Report

Key Topics (download by chapter)


  • Chapter 1: Child Find

  • Chapter 2: Response to Intervention (RtI)

  • Chapter 3: Referral & Evaluation

  • Chapter 4: Eligibility Categories

  • Chapter 5: Additional Procedures for Specific Learning Disabilities

  • Chapter 6: Individualized Education Programs (IEPs)

    • Chapter 6: Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) pdf file
    • What is an IEP?
    • Who is on the IEP team?
    • IEP Timelines to Remember
    • What an IEP Includes
    • Specifics about IEP Components
    • Other IEP Considerations
    • Additional Requirements for Students Who Have a Disability on the Autism Spectrum
    • Parent Tips
    • What You Need to Know About Excusal from IEP Attendance
    • Changes to the IEP Without a Meeting
  • Chapter 7: Least Restrictive Environment (LRE)

  • Chapter 8: Secondary Transition

    • Chapter 8: Secondary Transition pdf file
    • What is Transition and what does it do for students with disabilities?
    • What are transition services?
    • What are the basic components of the transition plan?
    • What is the transfer of parental rights all about?
    • Resources
  • Chapter 9: Behavior Intervention Plans (BIPs)

  • Chapter 10: Student Discipline

    • Chapter 10: Student Discipline pdf file
    • School Safety
    • Manifestation Determination Review (MDR)
    • Removal from the Current Placement for Certain Conduct
    • Protections for Certain Students Who Are Not Special Education Eligible
    • Expedited Due Process Hearings
  • Chapter 11: Conflict Resolution

    • Chapter 11: Conflict Resolution pdf file
    • Introduction to Conflict Resolution
    • Key Terms
    • When a Disagreement Occurs: First Steps
    • All About Mediation
    • Formal Dispute Resolution
    • All About State Complaints
    • Formal Disputes: Due Process Hearings
    • Why Should I File for Due Process?
    • Can a District File for Due Process Too?
    • Do I Need to Hire a Lawyer or Advocate?
    • How Do Parents Request a Due Process Hearing?
    • Stay-Put: How a Hearing Request Affects the Child’s Placement
    • A Note about Hearing Officers and Substitutions
    • Next Steps: Responses and Insufficiency
    • The Resolution Process
    • Resolution Agreements
    • Setting the Stage: The Pre-Hearing Conference
    • The Big Event: The Due Process Hearing
    • The Decision & Clarification: The Final Step? Maybe
    • Court Review of the Decision
    • Conclusion: Conflict Resolution in a Nutshell
  • Chapter 12: Private Schools

    • Chapter 12: Private Schools pdf file
    • Overview of Private School Placement
    • Placement by a Parent on a Voluntary Basis
    • Placement by a Public School District
  • Chapter 13: School Records

    • Chapter 13: School Records pdf file
    • Reviewing and Copying Records
    • Challenging Your Child’s Records
    • Age of Majority
    • Medicaid and Insurance: Parent Consent/Student Records
  • Chapter 14: Early Childhood Services

  • Chapter 15: Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973

  • Appendix A: Sample Letters for Parents

    • Appendix A: Sample Letters for Parents pdf file
    • 1. Writing to Discuss a Problem
    • 2. Requesting an Initial Evaluation for Special Education Services
    • 3. Requesting an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE) at Public Expense
    • 4. Requesting Your Child’s Records
    • 5. Requesting a Meeting to Review the Individualized Education Program (IEP)
    • 6. Requesting a Change of Placement
    • 7. Requesting Prior Written Notice
    • 8. Requesting Mediation
    • 9. Informing the School that You Intend to Enroll Your Child in a Private School at Public Expense
    • 10. Requesting a Due Process Hearing
    • 11. Filing a Complaint with the Illinois State Board of Education
    • 12. Writing a Follow-up Letter
    • 13. Writing a Positive Feedback Letter
    • 14. Revocation of Consent for Special Education
  • Appendix B: Quick Reference Charts

    • Appendix B: Quick Reference Charts pdf file
    • Referral & Evaluation
    • Eligibility Categories
    • Additional Procedures for Specific Learning Disabilities
    • Individualized Education Programs (IEPs)
    • Least Restrictive Environment (LRE)
    • Secondary Transition
    • Behavior
    • Discipline
    • School Records
    • Early Childhood Services

Illinois Student Records Keeper for Parents of Students Who Receive Special Education Services

This booklet is for parents to use to keep important information about their child and his/her special education and related services. It is a companion to Educational Rights and Responsibilities: Understanding Special Education in Illinois.

Records play an important role as you plan your child’s education. Dates, people, meetings and reports are important throughout your child’s educational career. The records keeper was developed to assist parents in preparing for Individualized Education Program (IEP) and transition meetings; getting ready for evaluations and reevaluations; and keeping track of paperwork and other materials.

This booklet cross-references the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) publication, Educational Rights and Responsibilities: Understanding Special Education in Illinois. At the bottom of each page, locate the page number(s) that references a section or pages in the guide. The guide offers information to increase your knowledge and understanding about the topic or issue.

Illinois Student Records Keeper pdf file (1.37MB)