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Basics 1:
1. Probably the single most important law is the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act  (IDEA), 20 U.S.C. § 1400, et seq.  It is under this federal law that a child with a disability that needs special education can receive it. An individualized education program (IEP) is developed for that child by an "IEP Team" which includes the parents and, where appropriate, the child him or herself.

2. The Federal Regulations implementing IDEA are found at 34 CFR § 300 et seq. These regulations flesh out the law. Not only must the states comply with the law, IDEA, but they must also comply with these regulations.

3.  Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. § 794 et seq. Section 504 protects individuals with disabilities from discrimination for reasons related to their disabilities. It ensures children with disabilities equal access to an education. It defines an appropriate education as one that meets that needs of a disabled student as adequately as it meets the needs of students without disabilities. Often we hear of a student receiving accommodations under this law when they are not entitled, under IDEA, to a special education that addresses the unique educational needs of that student or are not in need of such special education.

4.  The Federal Regulations implementing Section 504 are found at 34 CFR § 100 et seq. Again, the states must comply not only with the law but also with the regulations implementing the law.

5.  Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), 42 U.S.C. § 12101, et seq., like Section 504 prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability. It also requires school districts to provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to students with disabilities protected by that law.

6 . No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB), 20 U.S.C. § 6301, et seq.

7.  New York's Education Law, Article 89 (§ 4401 et seq.) "Children with Handicapping Conditions" and the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education, relating to Students with Disabilities, found at 8 NYCRR § 200, et seq. are the law and regulations, respectively, which govern the rights and entitlements of children with disabilities. This New York law and regulations should be read together with IDEA and its implementing federal regulations.
What are the relevant laws and regulations that I should know about in the area of special education?.
Law Offices of Michael D. Kaufman, PLLC