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What is a reasonable accommodation?

| Jun 5, 2020 | Special Education Law |

In order to make sure that all children have a chance to get a terrific education, schools are expected to make reasonable accommodations when possible. Children with disabilities need to have the same access to education as anyone else. If a teacher or a school official refuses to make any changes and denies the child that education, that failure may be illegal and could violate the child’s rights.

But what is reasonable? There is no one definition that applies to every situation. Things must be considered on a case-by-case basis. This can create something of a gray area.

For example, say that a child has ADHD and has trouble concentrating for long periods of time. They can still learn just as well as any other student, and they have a right to that education. They may just need more breaks so that they can stay focused. That’s reasonable because it’s not hard to do and doesn’t change very much for the teacher — but it can change everything for the child.

However, say the child struggles with their grades. Would altering the grading scale so that the child gets higher marks be fair? One could argue that doing so is not reasonable, especially since it means the child will simply not get as good of an education as the other students.

The gray area, of course, is where parents and school officials may disagree. What if you think the change is reasonable, the school claims it isn’t and they refuse to help your child? Then you may need to know what legal rights you have.