The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 2004)The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act ensures that all children with disabilities have available to them a free appropriate public education that offers special education and related services designed to meet their own needs and prepare them for further education, employment, and independent living.  To find out more details about this law go to the National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities website.

In Connecticut, the Connecticut Parent Advocacy Center website can help you understand the law.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 “Civil Rights Act for Persons with Disabilities
Section 504 of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) says that no one with a disability, including those with mental health needs, can be excluded from participating in federally funded programs or activities, including school. Students with disabilities that have a written “504 Plan” receive reasonable accommodations from the school that allow them to participate freely in the same opportunities as their peers.

Some basic educational requirements of this law are:

  1. No child with a disability can be excluded from a public education because of his or her disability;
  2. Every child with a disability is entitled to a free appropriate public education (FAPE) regardless of the nature of his or her disability;
  3. Children with disabilities must be educated with non-disabled students to the maximum extent appropriate to their needs;
  4. Procedural safeguards must be established so that parents and guardians can object to evaluation and placement decisions regarding their children;
  5. State or local educational agencies must identify and locate children with disabilities.

Connecticut State Department of Education
In Connecticut, parents and caregivers can find out their rights to special education services by clicking on the Connecticut State Department of Education’s publication entitled, Parents Guide to Special Education