Most teachers are eager to assist a student if they can understand the child’s needs.Unfortunately there are a few teachers who have developed inflexible approaches or who are unwilling to accept the legitimacy of certain disorders despite medical, scientific and legal acceptance.
Public Law 94-142 passed in 1975, since renamed the “Individuals with Disabilities Education Act” (IDEA) mandated a free and appropriate education which is designed to meet the needs of children with disabilities, the right to a comprehensive multi-disciplinary assessment, an IEP plan, the availability of a continuum of special education services appropriate to disabled children’s specific learning needs, and procedural safeguards.
Section 504 is a civil rights statute which all recipients of federal funds must comply with. The most important difference for parents who feel their children have been denied services under IDEA guidelines involving specific disabilities is the difference in the definition of “handicap.” Children qualifying under IDEA must have specific listed disability which results in a need for special education.
All children who have a handicap under IDEA have protection of their civil rights under 504. Section 504 covers other conditions that “substantially limit a major life activity” such as seeing, speaking, breathing, learning, etc., but does not need to adversely affect a child’s educational performance to apply.
Meet with the teacher early in the year at a time when the teacher is not being overwhelmed by other conferences to educate the teacher about your child’s needs.
Ensure that the teacher has read the child’s IEP plan or past progress reports.