Please note that this FAQ page is not intended to be legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. Instead, it provides general information about the laws protecting children with disabilities, including special education law, in Connecticut. Please note that while numerous federal laws protect children with disabilities, states adopt their own laws and regulations to implement the federal law. As a result, how the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and other federal laws are implemented varies from state to state. Summaries of the law and lists of frequently asked questions are not intended to be comprehensive. Most importantly, determining what any particular child is entitled to, and whether a child’s rights have been violated, requires analysis of the specific facts and applicable law. If you are seeking legal advice, you may contact Attorney Ghio.

What is the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)?2019-08-26T16:29:35-04:00

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) prohibits discrimination and ensures equal opportunity for persons with disabilities in employment, State and local government services, public accommodations, commercial facilities, and transportation.

What are the legal rights of my child with a disability?2019-08-26T16:33:56-04:00

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.

What should be included in my child’s educational records?2019-08-26T16:30:01-04:00

Under FERPA, the term educational records includes any records that are directly related to the student and maintained by the school. That is a pretty broad definition and includes all of the educational evaluations, IEP’s, email communications between school employees, report cards, progress reports, test protocols, test answers, raw data collected by the school, nurse’s records, and program books. Some records, like personal notes, are excluded from the definition of educational records. Keep in mind that “personal notes” are only “records that are kept in the sole possession of the maker, are used only as a personal memory aid, and are not accessible or revealed to any other person except a temporary substitute for the maker of the record.”

Can I review my child’s educational records?2019-08-26T16:30:20-04:00

Yes, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) both give parents the right to inspect