If you’re the parent of a child with a disability or one who’s suffering from behavioral health disorders, you might have concerns about whether they’re receiving the help they need in the classroom. Whether they’re about to start school or they’re struggling mid-school year, understanding your child’s right to free appropriate public education (FAPE) can help you advocate on their behalf.
At Ascend, we offer support for families and can help you learn more about affordable education services and paying for mental health treatment. Let us teach you how qualifying for FAPE can help you support student mental health and wellbeing.
What Is Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE)?
Free appropriate public education, or FAPE, is a right guaranteed by the Individuals with Disabilities Act. At the core of FAPE is the idea that all children should have access to education that meets their needs, including children with disabilities. This right extends to children who have either physical or developmental disabilities as well as behavioral health concerns.
Education for all children is provided for free by the government, even if some children require special support or extra services. Some services they might provide include:
- Speech Therapy
- Specialized Reading Instruction
- Extra Time On Tests
- Accessibility Technology
Students who qualify for FAPE receive an Individualized Education Program (IEP) that ensures that they receive the support and services they need. This helps schools support students’ mental health, success, and wellbeing as much as possible.
How FAPE Supports Students’ Mental Health & Well-Being
The access to the education level guaranteed by FAPE can help promote students’ mental health and general well-being. If a student struggling with autism or dyslexia can’t keep up with their peers, they may fall victim to stress and anxiety. However, having an extra layer of support and services can ensure that those students have a path towards success.
Students who are already struggling with mental health issues, such as anxiety or depression, can also benefit from additional support in the classroom. Having extra time on tests or access to counseling can make a massive difference in their school experience. In many cases, students can receive school district funding for tuition at a therapeutic boarding school. Here, they can enjoy the on-site therapeutic support they need to be successful in their studies.
Qualifying for FAPE
To qualify for additional services and support in the classroom, students or their parents only need to demonstrate that they have a disability that will limit their academic progress. They might provide documentation from a doctor, or the student may go through an assessment process. Conferences with parents and teachers can help determine what accommodations would help the student most. Developing an IEP is a more intensive process that involves special education teachers and other specialists.
How Paying for FAPE Works
Funding for FAPE is provided by the Individuals with Disabilities Act and ensures that parents don’t need to pay anything extra for additional support in school. States who receive grants through this act must use the funds they receive to educate children with disabilities.
Services guaranteed by FAPE don’t cost parents a dime. However, FAPE only ensures that students with disabilities receive educational services that are appropriate for their needs, not the best possible education they could receive. Some parents choose to pay for private education or outside help, such as tutors.
Support for Teens & Families at Ascend
At Ascend Healthcare, we offer treatment programs for troubled teens and their families. With us, students who struggle with mental health issues get the additional educational help they need in our residential facilities.
Supporting students’ mental health and well-being is at the core of what we do. While we do not accept funding via FAPE, we frequently make recommendations for FAPE-funded support services when teens discharge from our program. We invite you to reach out to our treatment professionals at 310.388.3713 today to learn more about our residential programs for teens.