One of the key federal laws when it comes to special education is the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. IDEA gives certain rights to special needs students, including the right to a public education that is appropriate and free. There are a variety of rules placed on schools by this law in regards to these rights. So, legal issues related to IDEA are among the major issues that can come up for parents of children with disabilities.
Many parents can end up having to navigate such issues, as quite a few students here in the U.S. receive services under this law. According to federal numbers, in the 2013-2014 school year, around 6.5 million students ages 3 to 21 received special education services under IDEA. This works out to around 13 percent of all students enrolled in public schools that year.
What disabilities are most common among recipients of IDEA services? In the 2013-2014 school year, specific learning disabilities held the top spot, with over a third of recipients having a disability that fell into that category. The second spot was held by speech/language impairments, which a little over one out of five recipients had.
When their child has a disability and is receiving services under IDEA, whatever their child’s disability, how parents handle legal issues that arise in connection to their child’s education needs can be critical. So, when legal issues related to IDEA arise for a parent of a special needs student, they may want to speak with an education lawyer about how to address the issue and protect their child’s interests.
Source: Institute of Education Sciences - National Center for Education Statistics, “The Condition of Education - Children and Youth With Disabilities,” May 2016