Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE)
The Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), which regulates early intervention, also mandates that local school districts provide a free, appropriate, public education for preschool-age children with disabilities starting at the age of three. Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) is defined as an educational program that is individualized to a specific child, designed to meet that child's unique needs, provides access to the general curriculum, meets the grade-level standards established by the state and from which the child receives educational benefit.
To provide FAPE to a child with a disability, schools must provide students with an education, including specialized instruction and related services, to prepare the child for further education, employment, and independent living. The decision of what type of school a child with Down syndrome should attend is an important one, made by the parents in consultation with health and education professionals. A parents must decide between the following listed school or classroom environments.
Most of the above information is cited by the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities. Their website provides easy-to-read info on IDEA and step-by-step instructions for creating IEPs and understanding education options.
In connection with Family Connection of SC and Pro-Parents, the DSFA hosts various seminars and webinars regarding educational opportunities for individuals with Down syndrome.