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What is LRE?

The “least restrictive environment” (LRE) means the place where your child can be included with his or her peers who do not have disabilities as much as possible and still be able to accomplish the goals in his Individualized Education Program (IEP).

The Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) gives every child with disabilities the right to a free and appropriate public education (FAPE). States and local education agencies (LEAs) are required to provide this education in the least restrictive environment.

One of the Admission, Review and Dismissal (ARD) committee’s tasks is to examine the choices of learning environments and search for the place that is the best fit for your child’s strengths and needs while also being with his typically developing peers as much as possible. This place would be your child’s least restrictive environment. Since you are an important member of your child’s ARD committee, you will have a say in making this decision.

Did you know?

The word “environment” makes LRE sound like a place. But it actually is more about your child’s educational program. Where your child learns is only one piece of the program.

Determining Placement

Placement is reviewed each year at a minimum. To determine a student’s LRE, the ARD/IEP team first looks at:

  • where the student accesses curriculum
  • what his or her goals are
  • and what supports he or she needs for success.

Then, the team decides which learning environment is appropriate to deliver the student’s needed curriculum and support. The ARD/ IEP committee is required to consider general education placements with necessary supports first before justifying something outside of or different from (i.e., more restrictive) what the typical student placement would be. The group must make sure that the child has the maximum opportunity appropriate to learn with children who do not have disabilities—in academic, nonacademic, and extracurricular activities.

What Are The Types?

Per federal regulations, each LEA must ensure that a continuum of alternative placements is available to meet the needs of students with disabilities for special education and related services. Federal regulations require this continuum to include instruction in regular classes, special classes, special schools, home instruction, and instruction in hospitals and institutions. Additionally, each local education agency must make provisions for supplementary aids and services, such as resource room or itinerant instruction, to be provided in conjunction with regular class placement. In Texas, available instructional arrangements/settings include:

Mainstream

Your child spends the entire day in a general education class. He receives supports and services like a tutor or aide, assistive technology, related servcies, accommodations, modifications or any combination of these services. 

Homebound

Homebound instruction involves the delivery of educational services by school district personnel within a student’s home if a student is unable to physically attend school due to a temporary or long term disability. 

Hospital Class

If a student is unable to physically attend school due to a temporary or long term disability, the student’s parent or school district may seek alternative education delivery through a hospital education program.

Speech Therapy

 Provides speech therapy services in a regular education classroom or in a setting other than a regular education classroom. 

Nonpublic Day School

When a student has educational needs that cannot be met in a public school setting, that student can be educated in a private school or facility, referred to as a nonpublic school, at public expense.

Vocational Adjustment Class/Program

Vocational adjustment training provides classroom training designed to increase a student’s interpersonal skills relating to basic traits and attitudes. The focus of vocational adjustment training is work-related skills and successful employment.

Residential Care and Treatment

Provides special education instruction and related services to students who reside in care and treatment facilities and whose parents do not reside within the boundaries of the school district providing educational services to the students.

State Supported Living Center

Provides special education and related services to a student who resides at a state supported living center when the services are provided at the state supported living center location.

Resource Room or Services

Provides special education and related services to a student in a setting other than regular education for less than 50% of the regular school day.

Self-Contained Regular Campus

Provides special education and related services to students who are in a self-contained program for 50% or more of the regular school day on a regular school campus.

Off-home Campus

Provides special education and related services to the following:

  • a student who is one of a group of students from more than one school district served in a single location when a free appropriate public education is not available in the respective sending district;
  • a student in a community setting or environment (not operated by a school district) that prepares the student for postsecondary education/training, integrated employment, and/or independent living in coordination with the student’s individual transition goals and objectives, including a student with regularly scheduled instruction or direct involvement provided by school district personnel, or a student in a facility not operated by a school district (other than a nonpublic day school) with instruction provided by school district personnel; or
  • a student in a self-contained program at a separate campus operated by the school district that provides only special education and related services.

Want to Know More?

Dig Deeper and learn more about the special education process in Texas using the following resources:

SPED Parent Handbook

Gives parents a basic grounding in the special education process and the use of strategies, facilitation skills, and techniques to improve the process.

LEARN MORE

IDEA Legal Framework

  • Notice of Procedural Safeguards
  • Special Education Rules & Regulations

LEARN MORE

Texas Project First

Search for evaluation procedures, evaluation rights-overview, special education eligibility rules.

LEARN MORE

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