Does the student have a disability according to the specified criteria?

Three major federal laws
protect the rights of
people with disabilities:
Section 504
Individuals with Disabilities
Education Act

N.J.A.C. Title 6A Chapter 14
IDEA is the Federal Special
Education law
Schools must find, identify, and evaluate students who may have disabilities
A diagnosis does not guarantee qualification
Students are entitled to and must receive FAPE

Three prong test:
Does the student have a disability according to the specified
Does the disability adversely affect the student’s educational
Does the student require specially designed instruction to
receive FAPE?
The Standard: FAPE
Free and Appropriate Public Education
Free – the government pays for special education services. Districts receive federal
funds to cover the expenses. Typically, special education services are more expensive
than general education.
Appropriate – students who qualify for special education services are evaluated and
receive an IEP – individualized education program
Public – determinations made by a team of professionals, as identified by law (in NJAC
6A, 14). Some students may require private schooling that is paid for by their district.
Education – which may include related services like, speech therapy, occupational
therapy, physical therapy, transportation services, etc.
The Standard: LRE
Least Restrictive Environment
In order to ensure FAPE, to the fullest extend possible, a child with a
disability must be educated within the same classroom as his/her typical
non-disabled peers.

Prior to the enactment of IDEA, children with disabilities were usually
segregated and separated from typical classroom environments.
Section 504 is a part of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 that prohibits
discrimination based upon disability. Section 504 is an anti-discrimination,
civil rights statute that requires the needs of students with disabilities to be
met as adequately as the needs of the non-disabled are met.

Generally, school age children receive IEPs.
504 plans can be used for temporary disabilities (i.e., broken limbs)

504 plans are powerful and transcend schools and education
A child may have an IEP until s/he graduates from high school
504 can be applied to other life experiences and can last throughout
one’s life
The Americans with
Disabilities Act
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) became law in 1990. The ADA is a civil
rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all
areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and
private places that are open to the general public.
To be protected by the ADA, one must have a physical or mental impairment that
substantially limits one or more major life activities, a person who has a history or
record of such an impairment, or a person who is perceived by others as having
such an impairment