If you have found yourself on this page, it is likely because you have a special person in your life who is of school age and has a disability. As you begin to understand your student’s rights and explore options to ensure your student’s needs are met, it is helpful to understand how the law defines a disability.
IDEA – INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES EDUCATION ACT
The most common source to look to in determining if your student’s health and/or behavioral issues are considered “disabilities” for the purposes of special education is the federal IDEA law, which is an acronym for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
Under the IDEA, a child is considered disabled if they are diagnosed with any of the following conditions:
- Intellectual Disabilities
- Hearing Impairments (including deafness)
- Speech or Language Impairments
- Visual Impairments (including blindness)
- Emotional Disturbance
- Orthopedic Impairments
- Traumatic Brain Injury
- Other Health Impairments
- Specific Learning Disabilities
SECTION 504 OF THE REHABILITATION ACT OF 1973
Another source to determine whether your student has a qualifying disability is Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, a civil rights statute which prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities. Section 504 provides services and accommodations if a child has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity and interferes with the child’s ability to learn. While there is no specific list of qualifying conditions, examples of conditions that may lead to Section 504 eligibility include:
If your student has one of these disabilities, or if you have questions about whether the physical or other conditions your student is experiencing are a qualifying disability, you are in the right place. FBMJ can help you assess those issues and help you through securing the education which properly accommodates your student, as discussed further here.