Welcome to Students with disabilities. A Wiki with Information for parents of children with special needs.Edit

A "disabled student," for example, is suddenly disabled before he is a student at all. When we put people first, however, as in “a student with a disability,” we include that student in the broader group of all students first. [1]

Important First Steps to Take [2]Edit

1. Identify the disability
Accomodating Students with Disabilities

What do I do?


The more you know about your child's, the more you can help your child. Start with your school and your child's teacher, and continue your research on the web and with other professionals. National organizations for various disabilities

Important laws and terms to know in:Edit

United States

Section 504 of the 1973 Vocational Rehabilitation Act that prevents discrimination against people with disabilities in federally funded programs, e.g. public schools.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

The Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) mandate given to schools under IDEA

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is like Section 504 but greatly extends provisions for people with disabilities to protect against discrimination by businesses and employers, and universal design in architecture and transport services.

Least restrictive environment (LRE) is a provision in federal laws meant to allow students with disabilities to learn in a setting like that of other students without disabilities.

Individualized Education Program (IEP) is a tailored education plan that should detail and address the specific learning needs of students with disabilities. As such it is also the most important and useful document for parents of students with disabilities.

Response to Intervention (RtI) stresses the importance of early intervention and support for students with disabilities.

2. Learn about your rightsEdit

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act may also allow you to get certain services for your child from your school district. Your child might qualify to receive help from a specialist, or she might qualify to receive materials designed to match her needs. You can learn about your special education rights and responsibilities by requesting that the school give you — in your first language — a summary of legal rights.

3. Get to know your child's teacher and schoolEdit

Through regular communication, exchange information about your child's progress at home and at school. Meet with teachers and counselors, and help develop an educational plan to address your child's needs. Plan what accommodations your child needs. Ask for an interpreter if needed.

4. Get help Edit

National organizations for various disabilities. Talking to other parents who have children with disabilities can also be very helpful.

Definition of disabilityEdit

According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a person with a disability: (1) has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; OR (2) has a record of such an impairment; OR (3) is regarded as having such an impairment.

High-Incidence Disabilities[3]Edit

Students with high-incidence disabilities have one or more of the following:

  • speech or language disabilities
  • learning disabilities
  • emotional disturbance
  • mild intellectual disabilities

Speech is the making and sequencing of sounds in spoken language.Edit

Students with speech disabilities have impairment(s) that interferes with communication or distresses the speaker or listener. Students may have trouble in one or more of the following:

  • Articulation- making sounds (e.g. making the "th" instead of the "s" sound. "Suffering suckatash" becomes "thuffering thuckertash")
  • Voice- sound qualities like pitch, loudness, and/or duration (e.g. someone with abnormally high pitch sounding like they just breathed in a tank of helium)
  • Fluency- rhythym of speech (e.g. stuttering)

Language is any system of symbols used to share feelings, thoughts, desires, and actions.Edit

Students with language disabilities have trouble comprehending/using a spoken or written word-symbol. This means some impairment in:

  • Reception- understanding language people use to try and communicate with you
  • Expression- using language to communicate with others

For example, a student can express him or herself very well but has problems listening to others and it's not just the student being rude.

Students with learning disabilities have one or more disorders that cause significant difficulties in their acquiring and using listening, speaking, reading, writing, reasoning, or mathematical skills.

  • Learning disabilities are not thought to be caused by sensory, motor, intellectual, developmental, or emotional disorders, or environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantages.

Students with emotional disturbance have trouble learning for one or more of the following reasons as defined by IDEA:[4]

An inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors.
An inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers.
Inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances.
A general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression.
A tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems.


  1. From the California Advisory Commission on Special Education annual report 2009-2010
  3. Friend, Marilyn and William D. Bursuck. Including Students with Special Needs: A Practical Guide for Classroom Teachers. New Jersey: Pearson Education, 2009. Print. Chapter 7.