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(1.16) If my child does not meet special education eligibility, is there any other way to obtain some special services to address educational problems?

(1.16) If my child does not meet special education eligibility, is there any other way to obtain some special services to address educational problems?

A student who may have problems learning may not be found eligible for special education services because she does not fit into one of the special education eligibility categories and/or because her learning problems are not severe enough to qualify her for special education. A student, however, may be eligible for special services and program modifications under a federal antidiscrimination law designed to reasonably accommodate her condition so that her needs are met as adequately as the needs of non-disabled students. The law is commonly known as Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. [29 U.S.C. Sec. 794 (implementing regulations at 34 C.F.R. Secs. 104.1 and following).] See Chapter 16, Information on Section 504 and Disability-Based Discrimination.

Section 504 eligibility is not based on a categorical analysis of disabilities. Rather, Section 504 protections are available to students who can be regarded as  “disabled” in a functional sense. These students must:

  1. Have a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits a major life activity (such as learning);
  2. Have a record of such an impairment; or
  3. Be regarded as having such an impairment. [See 34 C.F.R. Sec 104.3(j) for further definition.] For more information on Eligibility, see Chapters 3 and 16.