Children with Disabilities Lawyers

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act [IDEA] requires that school districts provide significant services and programs to children with the following disabilities: Autism, Deaf-blindness, Emotional disturbances, Hearing Impairment, Mental Retardation, Orthopedic impairment, other health impairments (such as Attention Deficit Disorder [ADD], Attention Deficit, Hyperactivity Disorder [ADHD], chronic or acute health problems, specific learning disabilities, speech or language impairments, traumatic brain injury or visual impairment.

The IDEA requires that children (3-22 years of age) with disabilities be provided an “appropriate” education.   There is a eligibility process which requires that a child who may be disabled be assessed to see if s/he qualifies for special education. Assessments can be done by school personnel or by outside experts.

Generally a child will qualify if s/he has one of the above listed “disabilities” and that disability adversely affects his/her education.  Once a child qualifies for special education the school district must hold an “individualized education program” meeting [IEP] to review all assessments and set goals that will specifically address all of the child’s educational, linguistic, cognitive, physical, social and emotional needs.   The school must then offer support or what are called “related” services that are required to insure that the child benefits from her education and also an appropriate placement.

A child with a disability has a right to be in a regular classroom and cannot be removed from that classroom unless the school can show he cannot “achieve satisfactorily” even with the use of support/related services.  If the child needs a more intense placement, even a non public school or residential treatment center the school must provide that if supported by evidence.   If there is a disagreement about any part of the child’s IEP, the family has the right to take the disagreement to a neutral third party for a hearing after which the third party renders a decision as to who has prevailed in the dispute.

As highly experienced lawyers who have represented children with disabilities for over 30 years, we can clearly explain and help you navigate the special education world so your child receives what he or she needs and deserves.