Your child with a disability has rights under numerous federal laws including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (known as 504). Your child has a right to equal access to education, employment, public places, and state and federally funded services. Your child cannot be excluded based on his or her disability.
Perhaps the most important law protecting children with disabilities is the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), now also referred to as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 (IDEIA). Under IDEA, children with disabilities have a right to a free appropriate public education, referred to as FAPE. If your child has a disability that impacts his or her educational performance, he or she may be eligible for special education services. Special education means specially designed instruction based on the unique needs of your child. Special education is free to parents and can be provided in the regular education classroom, in smaller classroom settings, at home, and even in the hospital. It can also include related services like occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech and language therapy, and counseling.