Special Educational Needs (SEN) Information & Advocacy for Parents in the USA Part 2

“About one in every five people in the United States has a disability. Some people are born with a disability. Some get sick or have an accident that results in a disability. Some people develop disabilities as they age. Almost all of us will have a disability at some point.” – Surgeon General (MedlinePlus, Disabilities)

Autism Facts NaomiMcLaughlan.com

Did you know?…

The Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability, is a law that plays an important role in education and protects or rather helps children who may not qualify for special education services under IDEA.

The Americans with Disabilities Act or ADA, is a comprehensive declaration of equality for people with disabilities, it protects the civil rights of people with disabilities in all areas of live, including; accessing public services, employment, guaranteeing access to public accommodations such as stores, restaurants, hotels and other types of buildings to which the public has access.

The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) is a national general law, an amendment, or blend if you will, of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), designed especially to protect and empower children in the education system.

The Assistive Technology Act improves the access and function of people with disabilities in school, work, home, and community. Each state offers a variation of an AT program.


Get further information, help and advice about relevant SEN laws in your state here:

  • The principal of your child’s school
  • The special education director of your child’s school
  • Your local school district; they might have parent guides and are required by the IDEA to provide you with a copy of federal and state statutes and regulations and any relevant policies
  • Your State Department of Education; remember IDEA is binding for all states
  • The Child Find Coordinator for your district or county
  • Your local Parent Support Group
  • Your local Parent Training and Information (PTI) center
  • Disability-specific organizations
  • State Agencies serving Children with Disabilities
  • U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS). For information on the IDEA and special education law, visit OSERS at www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/osers.


Frequently used Terms in the Elementary & Secondary school context

Equal Access means that your child has the right to participate in or benefit from educational aid, benefits, or services.

Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) (Section 504), means  that your child’s needs of regular or special education, related aids and services are designed to his or her individual educational needs in regards to the educational setting, evaluation and placement, and procedural safeguards.

Placement, is the actual place where your child receives his or her regular and/or special educational program or service.

Related services, is a term that relates to all additional developmental, corrective, and other supportive services, for example, medical diagnostic services, psychological, counselling and transportation.


Frequently used Terms in the Post-Secondary School Context & Employment

Reasonable accommodation refers to all necessary adjustments or modifications employers make to a job application process, the work environment, the manner or circumstances under which the position held or desired is customarily performed, or that enable a covered entity’s employee with a disability to access equal benefits and privileges of employment.

Reasonable modifications (regulatory provision implementing Title II of the ADA), refers to public entities making reasonable modifications in policies, practices, or procedures to avoid discrimination on the basis of disability, unless the public entity can demonstrate that making the modifications would fundamentally alter the nature program, of the service or activity.


Conclusion of the Special Educational Needs (SEN) Information & Advocacy for Parents 

I hope the past 4 Posts about SEN laws and regulations have helped you, especially if your child has been recently diagnosed.

For all of you who don’t live in the UK or US, I encourage you to contact your local educational authority, citizen advice bureau, local school or nursery, (specific) disability support group or specialist agency to find out what laws and regulations are applicable in your country!

As many of you know, it is one of my passions to get as most information to parents and carers, because I know how hard it can be, as one of my kids has special needs too.

You can drop me an email at: info@naomimclaughlan.com, if you have any questions about Special Educational Needs. I am happy to help as best as I can!

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All the Best,

Naomi x




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