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The Law

It is not always easy adjusting to the curriculum in school. Some children have problems concentrating, focusing, learning, language, visual, audio, perception, behavior, and/or socially being able to make and/or keep friends. These difficulties may be due to physical disorders, psychiatric disorders, emotional problems, behavioral problems, learning disorders (or disabilities), Autism or any number of other mental or physical disabilities or disorders. However, Federal law mandates every child has a right to a free and appropriate education in the least restrictive environment.

All children are legally entitled to rights guaranteed under the following laws:
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) (1975) obligates school districts to locate, identify and evaluate all children who are suspected of having disabilities.

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 requires school districts to provide a free and appropriate education (FAPE) to each qualified student with a disability regardless of the severity of the disability.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) (1990)

Governor Jerry Brown, California, signed into law AB 1041 (Chesbro), Employment First, and SB 468 (Emmerson), Self-Determination.

AB 1041–“It is the policy of the state that opportunities for integrated, competitive employment shall be given the highest priority for working age individuals with developmental disabilities, regardless of the severity of their disabilities. This policy shall be known as the Employment First Policy”


Contained in SB 468

(A) Freedom, which includes the ability of adults with developmental disabilities to exercise the same rights as all citizens; to establish, with freely chosen supporters, family and friends, where they want to live, with whom they want to live, how their time will be occupied, and who supports them; and, for families, to have the freedom to receive unbiased assistance of their own choosing when developing a plan and to select all personnel and supports to further the life goals of a minor child.

(B) Authority, which includes the ability of a person with a disability, or family, to control a certain sum of dollars in order to purchase services and supports of their choosing.

(C) Support, which includes the ability to arrange resources and personnel, both formal and informal, that will assist a person with a disability to live a life in his or her community that is rich in community participation and contributions.

(D) Responsibility, which includes the ability of participants to take responsibility for decisions in their own lives and to be accountable for the use of public dollars, and to accept a valued role in their community through, for example, competitive employment, organizational affiliations, spiritual development, and general caring of others in their community.

(E) Confirmation, which includes confirmation of the critical role of participants and their families in making decisions in their own lives and designing and operating the system that they rely on.