Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) Checklist [PDF Included]

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Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) is one of IDEA’s lesser understood provisions.

FAPE, which is a requirement of IDEA, requires school systems to offer access to both general and specialized educational services. This brings out the confusion about understanding special utilities. 

The list of questions we came up with can make it easy for you to clearly mark the understanding of FAPE regulations and implementation. Ticking the boxes beside each of these insights, you can anytime make out if the FAPE is properly executed. 

What is FAPE?    

According to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, every disabled individual in the united states should be entitled to special entitlement in education. This is otherwise known as FAPE. Abbreviating free appropriate public education has the following crucial parts to comprehend:

  • The First word, Free doesn’t mean that special assistance in education is absolutely free for the disabled student. It implies that parents can avail education for these children at no additional costs compared to others. 
  • Appropriate here implies that the special care provided should be befitting for the child. Parents can avail of an IEP set of goals to ensure that all the SMART needs are listed out.
  • The public implies that there lies no difference in the learning, curriculum, and instructions. Here the special children are taught along with other peers. Separate training is given only when needed. Also, a child’s special education is monitored, supplied, and managed by your local public-school staff and school district managers
  • The quality of the education is ensured the same as others. Education here not only means classroom teaching, but also other related provisions like transportation, library, and other extracurricular areas. 

IDEA requires school districts to provide FAPE to kids with disabilities by preparing Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) for qualified students based on their individual needs.

Section 504 mandates that, regardless of the degree or form of the student’s condition, a school must provide FAPE to all qualified individuals with disabilities under the district’s supervision.

Detailed FAPE checklist questions

The following set of questions can be checked to ensure if the kid is appropriately under the umbrella of FAPE. The checklist below can assist parents to understand the needs of FAPE and alert them when the school system is not delivering what is necessary.

Fape checklist


1. Is the basis of the student identification justified?

As depicted previously, students are identified and offered FAPE with certain IDEA Eligibility criteria.. Getting chosen may not be enough without ascertaining the proper basis. Appropriate assistance can be provided only when the condition is properly discerned. With proper medical or relevant proof in hand, the caretaker should make sure if the basis of the selection and their condition matches.

2. Are all the needs of the student addressed?

A special child may have more than one condition or signs that may need separate care. With proper knowledge of the actual situation, caretakers should regularly check if all of these areas are taken care of by the FAPE implementation. Evidently, they can take the help of an IEP checklist to ensure this.

3. Which is better for the kid- 504 or IEP? Is the child provided with a right option?

Provisions for the children under the Rehabilitation act are provided under two umbrellas- the 504 plan and IEP. Each of these has its own applications and advantages. At this stage, it is important for parents and also staff to see if the student is eligible for either of these. Also, opting for the appropriate options is crucial.  

4. Is the child’s need for LRE ascertained?

LRE ensures that the students with disabilities are put under the same roof as other students. If your child is found to perform better being placed in LRE, then it is important to ensure that there is proper inclusion, mainstreaming, and integration in the academy. 

5. Is the academic progress recorded for future use?

Not only implementing special measures but recording the students’ performance in class is also important. These figures can clearly determine the extent of progress of the little one- thereby the caretakers can optimize the assistive strategies. Accordingly, it is important to make regular checks if the test scores and other relevant information are properly tracked and recorded. 

6. Are the updates clearly communicated to the parents?

Be it academic or behavioral, the school should effectively communicate all the updates to the parents not only to acknowledge them but also to discuss the exact strategy. In this process, checking if regular parent-teacher meetings are made, or at least the updates are communicated online is to be checked and ensured by parents.

7. Is the FAPE implementation away from bullying?

Special children often face multiple social issues due to their differences. Even if FAPE is employed, parents should make sure that special children are treated equally and the environment is safe. This way, the FAPE employment is ascertained to the right essence. 

8. Is the student able to revert to the teacher?

With a need to build confidence, special students often feel it arduous to communicate and give feedback to teachers. Instructors should take care that the student is active and clear about the class- thereby ensuring self-advocacy

9. Are all assistive aids provided as per the documentation?

To make students bridge the gaps of their shortcomings, sometimes assistive aids are suggested. But, ensuring the implementation of these tools may be another important point on the checklist. 

10. Will the pupil enjoy the same educational chances and extracurricular activities as other students?

It is important for special kids to enjoy and benefit from extracurricular activities just like the kids’ can. This needs to be ensured for their overall growth and development to be like other students.

11. What concessions should be made to ensure that this student is not subjected to discrimination?

There should be appropriate measures to ensure that no student is subject to any kind of discrimination. All the students should be taught in accordance with their needs.

12. Is there anything hard in this IEP?

IEP should be in a way that is simple for the students and teachers to implement the plans and to teach in a way that is understandable to the kids.

13. Is this IEP going to help the youngster progress?

It is necessary to check if the students are making any progress with the current IEP plans and if it is adding to their learning process. The scale of progress will help monitor the student’s learning.

14. What will be used to assess the student’s progress?

Different methods can be used by each teacher to assess the student’s progress in accordance with different subjects. The use of appropriate tools is necessary to make sure that the progress is being recorded appropriately. 

15. Is the learner getting closer to his or her objectives?

It is important for the learner to get in the right direction and towards their goal. The idea of the plan is to help the student achieve the set objective and hence it should be checked from time to time.

Summing up…

FAPE is a legal right of each student with compromise and they should take benefit from it. The aforementioned checklist will help you in organizing all the facilities that your child must get in a systematic way. These are not just one-time checklists but also used for regular analysis of your child. If you’ve gone through the FAPE checklist and still have concerns about whether or not your kid is getting a fair and adequate public education, talk to a special education lawyer.


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