Protecting Your Child’s Right To An Appropriate Education In A Safe Environment
While special education laws protect the rights of children with varying levels of disability to receive an appropriate education, other laws such as Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the District of Columbia Human Rights Act cast a wider net protecting your differently abled child from discrimination and harassment.
The Law Office of Nigel M. Atwell represents students with disabilities as well as students who do not yet identify as having a disability from abuse, neglect, harassment and discrimination. We will communicate, negotiate and litigate with schools to protect your child’s rights and obtain the services and accommodations to which your child may be entitled under applicable law.
Special Education Laws That Protect The Disabled Student
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a federal law that mandates special education for children with disabilities from preschool to age 21. There is a wide range of disabilities that qualify for IDEA protections, and the disability must somehow interfere with the learning process in order for these protections to apply. Parents of disabled children frequently find it challenging to understand and navigate the process of obtaining services required to provide their children with an appropriate education under IDEA.
Understanding The Programs Available For Your Child
Your child may qualify to receive an Individualized Education Program (IEP) after completion of an evaluation of your child’s current academic performance. This is a complex process. We are prepared to be at your side every step of the way to ensure your child’s evaluation and the IEP developed addresses their specific needs for the duration of the program.
Your child’s school is responsible for timely evaluations of the IEP. The school must also monitor your child’s academic progress. Their obligation includes not only implementation but also clearly defining and measuring annual goals. In addition, the school must integrate your child in the classroom with other children without disabilities when possible and provide:
- Other services: Behavioral, speech, occupational therapy, as necessary
- Vocational services: For children over 16, transitional evaluation may be required to determine future placement or vocation needs
- Due process hearings: Dispute resolution by a third party when the IEP is not implemented properly, your child is not progressing or is regressing academically
There are myriad ways to ensure your child’s special education needs are met. Ideally, the school is willing to modify and shape your child’s IEP as your child’s needs change. If they are not, we are here to help you explore your legal options.
We Keep Your Child’s Education Needs And Safety At The Forefront
At The Law Office of Nigel M. Atwell, we know how difficult it can be to steer through the education system on your own, especially if your child is experiencing any form of discrimination such as when schools exclude them from instruction, school programs and school activities. We can help you discover the full spectrum of services available to help you provide the best education possible for your differently abled child.