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Laws For Children With Special Needs You Should Know

by Louise W. Rice

Parents and people taking care of children with special needs often believe that making themselves or their children, part of the rest of the world is very challenging.

After all, such a parent must do the extraordinary to ensure that their child gets proper care and education. Because of this, fitting in with the rest of the world is often not a possibility.

However, there are several laws out there that are meant to make these parents’ and children’s lives easier. One may find even a personal injury law firm ready to fight for their rights – believe it or not, some officials still don’t know about such laws. 

Free and Proper Public Education

According to various Acts referring to people with disabilities, public councils must make sure that children with special needs enjoy free and proper education in a public school, if possible.

Local councils must also supervise and direct educational institutions to ensure that every part of this particular process is adequate for the child. 

Individualized Education Plans

At the same time, institutions must also take the time and resources to prepare for every child that will attend their classes. In this respect, schools have to develop individualized education plans designed according to disabilities, learning capabilities, and so on. 

Non-Restrictive Environment

Contrary to popular belief, children with special needs must be part of the least restrictive environment during their educational period. This means that schools separate such children from other classmates only due to severe disabilities requiring particular environments.

If there’s no need for restrictions, children with special needs must not be kept away from the general education classroom

Procedural Safeguards

Naturally, all those above are not always guaranteed by public councils and educational institutions. In most cases, the parents have to go the extra mile to ensure that institutions adhere to specific rules and regulations.

The same Act protects parents and their rights to engage in disputes. Parents of children with special needs may participate in certain meetings, look over educational records, and even ask educational institutions to provide them with individual evaluations if necessary. 

No Discrimination

Some may feel like discriminating against children with special needs is ok, but it’s far from it — it’s forbidden and illegal. The Americans with Disabilities Act guarantees that such children and adults cannot be discriminated against due to their disability when applying for education, assistance of any kind, jobs, and volunteer actions.

Children and adults with special needs (should) have equal chances as their peers to go on school trips, receive awards, participate in competitions, and so on. 

The Bottom Line

The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 includes a section stating that public institutions must go beyond ensuring accommodation – they must also be ready to modify their grounds to fit the needs of people with disabilities or various special needs.

For instance, if an institution lacks a wheelchair ramp, it is violating Section 504 and can be held liable. 

In short, parents of children with special needs must not turn a blind eye to unfair things and report them to the appropriate authorities!

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