A child who struggles with completing tasks that others fly through may need help getting through school. The good news is that if your child meets qualifications set by the law, the resources available may expand to include special education.
Special education is a program overseen by federal laws that afford accommodations in public schools for children with disabilities. Whether your child has a diagnosis allowing entry or is on the cusp of getting one, discover some of the finer points of special education laws.
What are the federal laws that govern special education?
Two laws set at the federal level help level the playing field when it comes to public education. Section 504 (a part of the Rehabilitation Act) and IDEA (Individuals with Disability Education Act) sets out protections, accommodations and rights of children with disabilities to access public education. Your child may qualify for special education under one or both of these laws.
What does the law consider a disability?
IDEA provides a much narrower definition for disability than its counterpart. As such, it is more likely that a child will qualify under both or only IDEA. Under IDEA, some of the conditions for special education include:
- Hearing impairment
- Speech impediment
- Traumatic brain injury
The list for qualifying conditions is extensive under IDEA, but within each are further qualifications. Section 504 allows for a broader range of conditions by including any mental or physical limitation or impairment that substantially impeeds at least one life activity.
Applying the law to help your child gain access to help in school is within your right. If your child qualifies under one or both of these federal laws, then the State of Washington and the education department should afford you the requisite assistance.