Differences in Legal Rights and Responsibilities

Secondary and Post Secondary Education Programs

Secondary Education Post Secondary Education
What is the Law? IDEA: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
504: Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973
ADA: Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
504: Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Subpart E

ADA: Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
The intent of the Law IDEA: To provide a free, appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment to identified students with disabilities, including special education and related services.
504/ADA: To ensure that no otherwise qualified person with a disability is denied access to benefits of, or is subject to discrimination solely on the basis of disability
504/ADA: To ensure that no otherwise qualified person with a disability is denied access to, benefits of, or is subject to discrimination solely on the basis of their disability.
Who is covered under the law? IDEA: All infants, children and youth requiring special education services until age 21 or graduation from high school. Michigan law extends to age 26. 504/ADA: All qualified persons with disabilities who, with or without reasonable accommodations, meet the college's admissions requirements and the specific entry level criteria for the specific program and who can document the existence of a disability as defined by Section 504.
Definition of a disability IDEA: A list of 13 disability classification areas is defined in IDEA and includes specific learning disabilities.
504/ADA: A person with a disability is defined as anyone who has: (1) any physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life functions, (2) a history of such impairment, (3) or is regarded as having such impairment.
504/ADA: A person with a disability is defined as anyone who has: (1) any physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life functions, (2) a history of such impairment, (3) or is regarded as having such impairment.
ADA: also includes HIV status and contagious and non-contagious diseases.
Responsibility for identifying and documenting need School districts are responsible for identifying and evaluating potential students with disabilities. When students are identified the school district develops an individualized plan at no expense to the family. Students are responsible for self-identification and for obtaining disability documentation from a professional who is qualified to assess their particular disability. The cost of the evaluation is assumed by the student.
Responsibility for initiating services School districts are responsible for identifying students with disabilities and providing special education services. Students are responsible for notifying the special populations/disability services staff of their disability and the need for reasonable accommodations. Accommodations are provided on an individualized, as-needed basis in order for students with disabilities to have equal access to the institution's programs and activities.
Who is responsible for enforcing the law? IDEA: is an entitlement law, enforced by the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services in the U.S. Department of Education. 504/ADA: are civil rights laws overseen by the Office of Civil Rights and the U.S. Department of Justice in conjunction with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Advocacy The parent or guardian is the primary advocate. Students with disabilities from age 14 on must be invited to participate in IEP conferences and decisions. Students must voluntarily self-identify and discuss their disability and needs in order to request services from special populations/disability services staff. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) guarantees student confidentiality. Conversations with parents regarding confidential information without written consent from the student are illegal.


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