Special education is instruction that is specially designed to meet the needs of a child with a disability

Is my Child Eligible for Special Education?

Children ages 3 through 21 who have any of the following disabilities are eligible for special education under the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA): 

  • mental retardation
  • a hearing impairment or deafness
  • a speech or language impairment
  • a visual impairment, including blindness
  • emotional disturbance
  • an orthopedic impairment
  • autism
  • traumatic brain injury
  • other health impairment
  • a specific learning disability
  • combination deaf-blindness or multiple disabilities

What Rights Do my Child and I Have to Special Education?

IDEA gives families of disabled students the right to: 

  • have their child tested to determine eligibility for special education
  • inspect and review their child's school records
  • work with teachers and administrators to create an Individualized Education Program (IEP)
  • attend an annual review meeting of the IEP
  • have their disputes with the school district resolved through an impartial administrative and legal process

Laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) coincide with the  to protect the civil rights of disabled students.  The ADA also extends protection to college and graduate students.  Furthermore, your state may have enacted more laws protecting the education rights of disabled children.  These additional rights vary from state to state.

What Should I Do if My Child's Rights to Special Education Have Been Violated?

If you think your child's rights to special education have been violated, you might want to speak to a civil rights lawyer. A lawyer will help you understand the law and can work to make sure your child's educational needs are met.