Definition: Families understand special education laws and requirements and their role in the transition process.
- Federal laws
- New Hampshire laws
- Differences between 504 plans and IEPs
Federal special education laws focused on transition, explained in clear language by the Center for Parent Information and Resources:
- Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) ensures students with a disability are provided with Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) that is tailored to their individual needs. Indicator 13 explanation and NH resources. Indicator 14 one page overview.
- Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) reauthorized the 50-year-old Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), the nation’s national education law.
- Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability.
- The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public. There is a free, introductory online course, ADA Basic Building Blocks, to help increase your knowledge and understanding of the basic principles and core concepts in the ADA and the ADA Amendments Act of 2008.
- Assistive Technology Act (Tech Act) provides federal funds from the U.S. Department of Education to states to develop training and delivery systems for assistive technology devices and services.
You can also find information on the first four laws at US Government sites:
- IDEA, ESSA, and Section 504: US Department of Education Laws and Guidance page
- ADA: US Department of Justice ADA site
Federal employment laws, described on a US Dept. of Labor page, protect individuals with disabilities from discrimination in employment and the job application process.
- The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
- The Rehabilitation Act authorizes funding for various disability-related purposes and activities, including state vocational rehabilitation (VR) programs, independent living programs, training and research, and the work of the National Council on Disability.
- The Workforce Investment Act (WIA) consolidates federal job training and employment programs. This act was updated in 2014 as the Workforce Investment Act and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA)
- The Vietnam Era Veterans’ Readjustment Assistance Act requires employers that have federal contracts or subcontracts of certain dollar amounts to provide equal employment opportunities for certain veterans with disabilities.
- The Civil Service Reform Act contains several rules to promote fairness in federal personnel actions and prohibit discrimination against applicants and employees with disabilities.
A Guide to Disability Rights Laws, 2009, from the US Dept. of Justice. Provides an overview of Federal civil rights laws that ensure equal opportunity for people with disabilities. Also available in large print, Braille, audio tape, and computer disk.
New Hampshire laws and practices
On March 23, 2017 the NH State Board of Education adopted new and revised New Hampshire Rules for the Education of Children with Disabilities The adopted NH Rules became effective March 24, 2017. (PDF, 133 pages, 2017)
Become Friendly with Special Education is a family guide to special education terminology and processes from SAU41, Hollis-Brookline, NH. The information is drifting out of date, but the basics are still good. (PDF, 34 pages, 2010)
Differences between Section 504 plans and IEPs
Venn diagram showing the differences and overlap between IEPs and Section 504 plans.
What is a 504 plan? Information from the Center for Parent Information and Resources.
New Hampshire explanation of the difference between 504 plans and IEPs, from the NH DOE.
504 versus IEP comparison chart, a side-by-side explanation from Understood.org.
Gateways Community Services in Nashua, NH, has a one page guardianship overview (PDF, 1 page, 2012)
Miscellaneous law resources
Comprehensive information about special education law, education law, advocacy for children with disabilities, and transition: Wrightslaw
A Massachusetts lawyer’s blog on special education issues, from a special education lawyer with clients in MA and NH.