The law is very clear about the rights of people with disabilities—many of whom have learning and attention issues. Under the law, they have the right to be free from discrimination. In many cases, they also have the right to services for their individual needs.
But in the real world, discrimination happens. Students don’t get the services they have a right to. That’s why we fight to ensure that laws protecting people with disabilities are enforced. From accommodations to inclusion to Individualized Education Programs (IEPs), we advocate for rights that make a difference.
“The civil rights of people with disabilities—many of whom have learning and attention issues—must be protected.”
Laws That Protect People With Disabilities
Under the U.S. Constitution, every person has the right to equal protection under the law. For those with disabilities, rights are also enshrined in these laws:
(To learn more about these laws, read about your child’s rights.)
NCLD Fights for the Rights of Children and Adults With Disabilities
Schools, employers and others must respect the civil rights of people with disabilities. Here are the policies we advocate for:
- Free Appropriate Public Education
Schools should provide services to special education students who need them. Educational plans like IEPs should be followed.
- Accommodations and Access
Students should have the accommodations they’re entitled to, such as extra time on standardized tests or assistive technology in the classroom. The school team responsible for the student’s education should make decisions about what accommodations are allowed. Curriculum (what students are taught) and tests should be in a form that all students can access.
- Inclusion in Testing
Students should participate in every part of the school system. Standardized tests should be high quality. They should include all students, including those with learning and attention issues and disabilities, so parents have an honest idea about how their child is performing. Separate classes or tests aren’t acceptable.
- Limits on High-Stakes Testing
The results of standardized tests alone shouldn’t be used to decide if children graduate or are held back a grade. These “high stakes” decisions can’t be made based on a test score by itself. However, it may be acceptable to use test scores as a measure of how well schools are educating students.
- Freedom from Discrimination
Children should be free from discrimination at school. Adults should be free from discrimination at work.
- Public Charter Schools
Students with disabilities are underrepresented in charter schools. Charters should enroll more children with disabilities and provide them with the services they have a right to. Any school with an online or virtual program must be accessible to all students.