Did you know that students with disabilities are protected by federal laws? These laws ensure they get the individualized accommodations they need for their education.
School districts are required by law to meet mandated requirements. One rule is individualized education programs (IEP). IEPs specialize accommodations to help your child succeed academically and socially.
Special education laws protect students and their families. They ensure that each child receives the proper accommodations they need to succeed. According to the National Center For Education Statistics, 14 percent of all public school students receive special education.
If you feel like your child’s special education accommodations are not being met, you have the legal right to have your child’s needs met and addressed.
Here are 5 special education laws you should know to help your child.
1. Education for All Handicapped Children Act
The first special education law passed in Congress in 1975. The law helped students with physical and mental disabilities. It says special needs students have the same opportunities for education as other students. Also, it provides one free school meal a day for these students.
The goal of this act was to:
- Make special education services accessible for students who need them
- Create fair, equal services for disabled children
- Start evaluation processes for special education
- Provide federal resources in the form of aid to schools with disabled students
Since this law passed through Congress, it has served as the foundation for other special education laws.
2. Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, or IDEA for short, passed in 1990. It modified the original Education for All Handicapped Children Act. The law says special education students have the right to free education in the least restrictive environment. This gave special ed students the chance to take part in activities with their peers. The law says this should be the goal whenever possible.
The goal of this law was to protect special education students and students with disabilities from discrimination from:
- Participating in after-school activities
- Participating in sports
- Participating in school clubs or affiliations
This law went a long way toward protecting disabled student’s right to participate in sports and programs that they love. Prior to this act, it was difficult for students with special needs to have this opportunity.
3. No Child Left Behind
The Elementary and Secondary Education Act passed in 2001. The law is also called No Child Left Behind. It holds schools accountable for the academic performance of ALL their students.
This accountability relates to general education students and special needs students. States develop routine assessments to tests a student’s academic skills. States must create their own criteria for evaluation.
No Child Left Behind offers incentives to schools that show progress for students with special needs. The law allows students and families the opportunity to seek alternative educational opportunities. When schools don’t meet academic, social, or emotional needs, families can change schools.
4. Individualized Education Programs
The Individuals with Disabilities Act protects students and their families. Schools create Individualized Education Program (IEP) to accommodate each special needs student’s needs.
Schools, parents, and educators meet to discuss the students’ IEP. This may include changes or updates. This is to meet the student’s academic, social, and emotional needs.
Goals and accommodations are also created. The goals must be measurable and quantifiable. Assessments may track academic performance. The student’s setting and placement for the least restrictive environment are also discussed.
Parents have the opportunity to dispute any issues they have. Parents dispute issues with a neutral third party.
5. Students with Disabilities and Postsecondary School
The 1973 Rehabilitation Act and the Individual with Disabilities Education Act of 1990, protect students from discrimination based on their disability. This law applies to schools at all levels, from elementary through college.
Colleges are not required to provide free public education. Colleges are responsible for providing accommodations for each special ed student. This is to ensure the least restrictive environment while promoting academic success. These accommodations could be, but are not limited to:
- longer testing time
- flexibility on assignments and tasks
- Lecture notes provided
- Office hours to discuss content further
These special accommodations ensure that students with special needs are provided at the same level of academic success as other students. It provides students with disabilities the dignity to equitably to learn alongside their peers.
Find Out More About Special Education Laws
Whether you think your child’s rights may be violated by a school district, or you are looking to obtain more information about special ed laws, this is a good starting point but doesn’t cover everything.
To be prepared, you’ll want to do more research on special education laws that may affect your child’s education. Schools and districts may not always be forthcoming with this information, so it is important to do your homework.
If you are struggling to find more information on the topic, here are some good places to check:
These two sites will be a great wealth of added information to this article to help you find any answers that you need.
Fighting for Your Child
Is your child is getting the services they need to feel successful in class? Are you wondering what the process is to help your child? You can seek help from a professional to find out more.
Whatever your situation, you don’t have to do it alone. Sometimes seeking legal help is required to ensure your child’s needs are being met. Don’t be afraid to take it to that level if that is what is required.
Only You Know What Is Right For Your Child
Now you know some of the special education laws designed to help your child in the event they need special education services. Don’t be afraid to research, ask questions, and speak up if you feel something isn’t right. It is your legal right to get the equitable education your child deserves.
Keep checking back for more information on this topic and many more through our blog.