Aug 032013

IEP Placement Decisions – The Least Restrictive Environment LRE

When determining a child’s IEP placement, careful consideration should be given to the child’s ability to learn in the regular classroom at his local school.

Can your child learn in the regular classroom if a personal aide is provided? Can your child learn with an assistant or assistive technology?

IDEA states that placement cannot be based upon “administrative convenience” or available resources. A child must be placed in the least restrictive environment ( LRE ) that will provide meaningful academic progress.

However, if the child is a danger to himself or others, a more restrictive placement may be needed.

LRE Placement is based on individual needs

The placement must be based solely upon your child’s individual needs. Placement choices can’t be limited to a classroom or program the school “typically” uses. A parent can’t insist on a specific placement either. If the school offers an appropriate placement, then they have met the legal requirements under IDEA.

LRE is based upon a full continuum of placement options

LRE placements include all types of program choices. Placement options include services such as resource pull-out programs, before or after school tutoring, home instruction, special schools, general classroom with or without an aid, etc. Schools must provide a full “continuum of alternative placements”.

In other words, any placement should be offered if it is what the child needs. Your child’s school can’t say, “This is what we always do, so it’s the only option.”

The key is to always provide what your child needs. IDEA is all about what your child needs.

Just to re-emphasize what LRE is based on: LRE Placement is not dictated by what the school has available or what the school administrators are willing to provide. LRE is not based on what the parents would like. The LRE is based on your child’s individual needs.

Your child has a right to an appropriate education. Your child deserves an opportunity to meet academic standards that include progress in the general curriculum. If able to learn, your child is supposed to be provided the same educational opportunities provided to typical students.

LRE Least Restrictive Environment Placement

lre least restrictive environment idea advocacy
Your child’s placement should be written into the IEP as a statement of the location for instruction, duration of teaching, and the specific setting.


Regular Classroom, 5 hours/day, 5 days/week, with 1-on-1 collaborative teacher 1 hour/day, 5 days/week during Mathematics and Grammar.

Occupational Therapy, 30 minutes/day, 3 days/week, Group of 3 children.

Placement is determined at the end of the IEP process. LRE placement is based upon the defined needs of YOUR child. No one can, or should, make a placement decision prior to completing the rest of the IEP. Once all of your child’s needs are identified, then the IEP team (including YOU) can make the best decision about how and where your child should be taught.

You can read the IDEA LRE statutes at: Least Restrictive Environment LRE

backward in iep training

forward in iep training
More in IEPs
Special Education Placement Decisions for IEPs

Special Education Placement Decisions - The Least Restrictive Environment: When determining your child's special education placement, the clear intent of IDEA is that children should...