Defining Fape

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Free Appropriate Public Education

FAPE, or Free Appropriate Public Education, is another special education abbreviation that is important for parents to understand. Your child, the same as every child in the United States, is entitled to a free appropriate public education.

What does FAPE mean?


You are not responsible for paying for the cost of educating your child. For example, if the school states that a student requires intensive reading remediation in order to progress within their curriculum and/or towards their annual IEP goals, then the district should provide such stated interventions deemed necessary.


APPROPRIATE is the key word that provides weight to FAPE. What is appropriate for one child, is not necessarily appropriate for another. An educational program that is appropriate will plan and customize all that is needed for the student to meet short and long term goals that reflect high expectations.


Refers to any space that is open to the public, is serving the public and that is funded by the public … guarantees equal access. Your child is entitled to access all that the school has to offer.


To educate a child at its best means to provide them with knowledge, character and positive behaviors that will influence their development, and prepare them for life after school. For children with special needs this preparation period is critical and it includes much more than just academics. Each exceptional student is guaranteed support in all areas that impact their ability to attain educational benefit. Services and related services such as specialized instruction, language, speech, occupational therapy, physically therapy, and anything else required to assist the student in benefiting from special education are an important part of what it means to successfully educate a student with special needs.