Higher Education Issues for Children with Disabilities

Mar 27, 2014 | Guardianship, Special Education

If you are the parent of a child with a disability, you know you must be vigilant when it comes to protecting their best interests. Even as you struggle with the day-to-day challenges of ensuring your child receives the education and life skills needed, you are probably also looking to the future and wondering how your child can manage after moving on to higher education. Fortunately, there are legal protections in place to help.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA) guarantees certain special education benefits to children with physical or mental disabilities that prevent them from receiving the full benefits of conventional education. However, this law only covers primary and secondary school children up to the age of 21. Once a child graduates or otherwise leaves high school, IDEIA no longer applies.

However, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to some extent picks up where IDEIA leaves off. Title III protects postsecondary school students in private institutions under the general auspices of public accommodations. Furthermore, Title II may specifically apply to state schools and other public institutions:
  • Prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities in admissions decisions
  • Requires schools to make reasonable efforts to remove architectural barriers for students with mobility issues
  • Requires reasonable accommodations in test-taking procedures, including standardized tests like the SAT, ACT, GRE, and LSAT

While the ADA is not as extensive in its protections as the IDEIA, it does provide assistance to concerned parents and their college-age children. An experienced New Jersey special education lawyer can help you understand the full range of benefits state and federal laws provide to you and your child.

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