Definition: Families understand special education laws and requirements and their role in the transition process.
- 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 overview (PDF, 1 page).
- 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:
- 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 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 & 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, Chapter Ed 1100, became effective March 23, 2017.
- The Guide to the NH Standards for the Education of Children with Disabilities (PDF, 282 pages, 2018) includes the text of Chapter Ed 1100, plus additional supplemental text for each reference cited in the NH Standards. The Guide is not an official document; it is offered as a resource for parents, educators and others through a partnership between the NH Department of Education, Bureau of Special Education and the Parent Information Center.
- A Family Guide to Special Education in New Hampshire (PDF, 16 pages) provides a brief overview of the NH special education process. Includes questions you can ask your child’s school about special education.
- Become Friendly with Special Education is a family guide to special education terminology and processes from SAU 39. The information is drifting out of date, but the basics are still good. (PDF, 34 pages, 2010)
Supported decision-making, guardianship
- NH Senate Bill 134, effective January 1, 2022, recognized Supported Decision Making as an alternative to guardianship for adults with disabilities. It authorized Supported Decision Making as a legal option for adults with disabilities who seek assistance in making life decisions but choose to retain all of their legal rights. Supported decision making is an alternative to guardianship through which people use friends, family members and professionals to help them understand situations and choices they face, so they may make their own decisions.
- Explanations, examples, and resources from the Disability Rights Center – NH
- Supported Decision Making for Youth Transitioning to Adulthood (PDF, 2 pages, 2018) is a succinct introduction from NH Family Voices.
- NH Department of Education special education FY22 Memo #20 and resources. You have to scroll down the page to get to #20.
- Sample supported decision-making plan, from Maine (PDF, 10 pages)
- Introductory PowerPoint from the 2022 NH COP Education Series
- Lots of resources at the National Resource Center for Supported Decision-Making, including educational videos.
- Tools to help a person, family, or a professional explore supported decision making, from Charting the Life Course Nexus.
- Getting Ready for When Your Teen Reaches the Age of Majority: A Parent’s Guide from the Center for Parent Information and Resources.
- Choosing the Best Path to Decision Making: Less Restrictive Alternatives to Guardianship (PDF, 2 pages, 2021) is an article in the August 2021 Rapp newsletter from NH Council on Developmental Disabilities. Full issue with clickable links
- Gateways Community Services in Nashua, NH, has a one page guardianship overview. (PDF, 2 pages, 2020).
- Customizable Age of Majority brochure for families – just type your information onto the 2-page PDF. It doesn’t look editable, but it is.
Differences between Section 504 & IEPs
- 504 versus IEP comparison chart, a side-by-side explanation from Understood.org.
- Venn diagram showing the differences and overlap between IEPs and Section 504 plans.
- Differences and Similarities Between Section 504 and IDEA: Comparing What Federal Law States About Disabilities, from verywell.com.
- What is a 504 plan? Information from the Center for Parent Information and Resources. Check out the links at the bottom of their page.
- Parent and Educator Resource Guide to Section 504 in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools, from the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights. (PDF, 52 pages, 2016)
- Protecting Students with Disabilities, FAQ about Section 504 and the education of children with disabilities, from the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights.
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.
- Serving Justice-Involved Youth with Disabilities (PDF, 18 pages, 2020) is a practice brief from Voc Rehab. It describes the prevalence of justice-involved youth who have one or more disabilities. It highlights challenges in locating and serving youth involved in multiple systems and outlines federal legislation geared towards improving youth services. Finally, it offers best practices and recommendations to meet the needs of this specific population.
New content 2-4-22