I.D.E.A. vs ADA/Section 504

I.D.E.A. A.D.A./Section 504
Type of Statute
Provides funding to states to ensure provision of free appropriate public education for children with disabilities Civil Rights statute protecting persons with disabilities from discrimination
Main Provisions
Establishes procedural safeguards and the right to free appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment Because of a disability, a qualified person can't be: excluded from participation in, denied benefits of or be subject to discrimination by any service, program or activity
Who is Protected
Children falling into the 13 categories listed in the IDEA and requiring special educational services to benefit from an education Any person with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity
Extent of Obligation
Free appropriate public education ensuring a meaningful benefit from education Equivalent access to educational and extracurricular programs
Delivery Method
Individualized Education Plan (IEP) No formal plan. Worked out on a case-by-case basis with the institution's Disabled Student Services Office
Services Available
  • Supplemental Aides and Services
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Speech and Language Therapy
  • Notetakers
  • Counseling
  • Tutoring
  • Resource Room
  • Paraprofessional Aides
  • Testing Modifications
  • Adaptive Equipment
  • Reasonable Accommodations and Academic Adjustments
  • Interpreters
  • Notetakers
  • Testing Modifications
  • Priority Registration
  • Real Time Reporting
  • Note: Counseling, tutoring and personal aides are NOT required by 504

    Student's Responsibility
    Do one's best
  • Disclose disability
  • Provide documentation
  • Facilitate the provision of reasonable accommodations
  • Show up to class
  • Use accommodations appropriately
  • Speak up if trouble arises
  • There is no statuary mechanism requiring parental involvement and such involvement is discouraged in college
  • Enforcement
    Due Process: (1) impartial hearing; (2) state review (appeal); then (3) federal court Internal grievance procedure and/or complaint to the Office of Civil Rights and/or go directly to federal courts
    Federal funds to states to support special education programs No funding attached. Costs are incurred by the institution
    Administrative due process procedures as outlined in state education law Internal grievance or Office of Civil Rights
    If it's not on the IEP you won't receive it
  • Accommodations must be reasonable
  • As circumstances warrant, accommodations may change over time
  • There is no "plan" to be set up and trial and error may be a necessary part of the process
  • Colleges are not required to "fundamentally alter" their programs or incur "undue hardship."

  • Source: Jo Anne Simon, Esq.

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