Disability Laws: High School vs. Post-Secondary School

In high school, students are entitled to receive special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Once they transition out of high school, they must be deemed eligible for services under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). It is never too early to begin to prepare your child and yourself for the important ways this legal change will affect both your child’s education and your lives.

(under Individuals with Disabilities Education Act)

  • Services are provided under IDEA, or Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act
  • Parents and students advocate
  • Parents have access to student records
  • School district is responsible for students’ evaluation at no cost to the family
  • Parents and teachers set goals and management needs for students, including time management and organizaton
  • Grading and curriculum standards may be modified according to students’ needs if your child is alternatively assessed
  • Transportation is provided if necessary

(under Americans with Disabilities Act)

  • Services are provided under ADA or Section 504 of Rehabilitation Act
  • Students self-identify and  self-advocate
  • Students have sole access to their records unless consent is given
  • Students are responsible for their own evaluation
  • Students must organize and structure their own time
  • Grades are based on merit 
  • Transportation is the students’ responsibility


• Change in parents’ and student’s roles
• Change in focus from entitlement to eligibility

Learning and School, Special education, Transition and college, Family Support, Legal resources
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