California Special Education Law

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Your Special Needs Child's Legal Rights

Qualifying as a Child with a Disability

General Requirements

A child must be assessed to determine whether he has a disability that is covered under the IDEA, Section 504 and the ADA or a combination of the three before related services and special education will be provided.

IDEA Requirements

The IDEA includes those with the following disabilities: “mental retardation, hearing impairments (including deafness), speech or language impairments, visual impairments (including blindness), serious emotional disturbance (hereinafter referred to as ‘emotional disturbance’), orthopedic impairments, autism, traumatic brain injury, other health impairments, or specific learning disabilities; who, by reason thereof, need special education or related services. The term ‘child with a disability’ for a child aged 3 through 9 may, at the discretion of the State and the local educational agency, include a child experiencing developmental delays.”

Section 504 Requirements

This covers people with the following disabilities: “any person who (i) has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities, (ii) has a record of such impairment, or (iii) is regarded as having such an impairment.”