1. Can I homeschool my special needs child? Yes, you may homeschool your special needs child.
You are not required to use the special services offered through the public school or AEA, but if you do decide to utilize them, you will need to dual enroll your child in the public school by using one of the CPI legal options that require the filing of a CPI form (indicating on the form if your child has already been identified by the public school system as a child requiring special services). You will also need to get permission from the director of special education at your local AEA. The director has 30 days to render a decision.
2. Can I refuse the special education services of the school district and/or AEA? Yes, you can refuse special education services from your school district and local Area Educational Agency. The rules state: "Pursuant to 34 CFR Section 300.300, the parent, guardian, or legal or actual custodian of a child with a disability is not required to seek approval from the area education agency to provide competent private instruction for the child if the parent, guardian, or legal or actual custodian does not consent to initial evaluation or to reevaluation of the child for receipt of special education services or programs... The director of special education shall advise the parent, guardian, or legal or actual custodian of a child requiring special education of the probable consequences of placing the child under private instruction and withdrawing the child from specialized instruction and services to which the child is entitled. The director of special education may require the parent, guardian, or legal or actual custodian of a child requiring special education to accept full responsibility for the parent's, guardian's or legal custodian's decision to reject special education programs and services, forgoing a later request for compensatory education for the period of time when the child was under private instruction." (Chapter 31.10)
If you use the Independent Private Instruction Option or the CPI Option 2 with Opt-Out, you do not need to report any of your child's special education needs to your school district.
Even if you use CPI Option 1 or CPI Option 2 with Opt-In Reporting, you are not required to seek approval from the AEA to provide competent private instruction for your child if you mark Item 8 on the CPI Form to indicate that you do not consent to initial evaluation or to reevaluation of the child for receipt of pubic school or AEA special education services or programs.
3. What should I do if I'm having trouble with my school district because I am homeschooling a special needs child?
NICHE would be happy to try to assist you, if we are able to do so. We also would recommend that you contact HSLDA. They have much experience dealing with legal issues related to homeschooling special needs students and can be very helpful.
4. What resources are available to parents homeschooling a special needs child? Home educating children with special needs is gaining in popularity. As this continues, you will see much more support and resources available to you. Below we have listed organizations that may be helpful to you. Some of the resources listed are Christian and some are secular. Please use discernment before using any of the listed resources.