My name is Anthony Fiorani and I have Cerebral Palsy. I received my law degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. My practice areas included employment discrimination educational due process as well as wills and estates. I also served as a claims representative for the Social Security Administration. Today we are going to talk about section 504 on the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
I like to provide a general knowledge of statutes related to disability. So you have a disabled child, of course,” you want to do everything you can medically to make your child as healthy as possible, but you also want to have a basic legal framework related to benefits available to your child to provide possible sources of government benefits and programs to help meet your child’s needs. My first exposure to educational due process came as a student in special education classes in Bucks County Pennsylvania the intermediate unit number 22. My father and mother were very skilled at negotiating with educational professionals. They often felt as though their views were not respected. In the past educators may have acted as though they knew more than the child’s parents themselves.
Today this may not be the case educational professionals are very skilled, and take into account the views of parents. Every child is entitled to a free appropriate public education in the United States. No school program receiving federal funds is entitled to discriminate on the basis of disability. These legal rights stem from the rehabilitation act of 1973 section 504. The school system is required to meet the needs of the disabled child just as they do an able-bodied child.
The list of available services can include but is not limited to nurses who specialize in diabetes care and wraparound’s for children with autism to help them concentrate on their work. The services listed in the previous sentence are not intended to be exhaustive because each disability is different and requires different services. School districts are required to prepare individualized education programs if the student has been certified as disabled. Parents teachers and other relevant educational professionals must agree on the educational program for each child. Even in today’s age of increased awareness parents must be vigilant to ensure that the children’s rights are protected. Parents are required to sign the individualized education program.
One strategy that might prove useful in improving your child’s education program is not to sign your child’s education program until the necessary services are provided. Today most educational professionals are very skilled and take into account input from the parent and child. Historically teaching professionals would act as if they had more knowledge than the parents this may not necessarily be the case it is important for both sides to listen and come up with a plan that is best for each individual child. If the parent and teacher cannot agree on an educational program there are provisions within the law for a due process hearing and an eventual appeal to the federal court if the outcome proves not to be favorable.
My father took the intermediate unit to a due process hearing when he tried to move my sister who is hearing-impaired to the Philadelphia school for the deaf because he thought the programs would be better for her. We lost at the due process hearing level because our family did not have the resources to make an appeal to federal court. This information related to the law Is Intended to be general and may not be applicable to all states and all situations I therefore strongly advise that you seek the advice of trained legal professionals before implementing the information contained in this article.
Section 504 really helped my sister and me to get the proper education that we ought to have.
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