The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) entitles children to a free and appropriate public education (FAPE). FAPE is one of the important legal terms for you to understand. Free means that all eligible students will be educated at public expense. Appropriate refers to an education which is tailored to the individual's needs. Public refers to the right of those with disabilities to be educated in the public school system. Education indicates that the child will receive the services indicated in their Individualized Education Program (IEP).
Individualized Education Program The IEP is a written document that's developed for each public school child who is eligible for special education. The IEP is created through a team effort and reviewed at least once a year. Before an IEP can be written, your child must be eligible for special education.
A great resource is http://www.fased.com/