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Illinois Special Ed: CPR - Eligibility

Our attorneys can help to address this very complicated area of special education law. The following are a few of the scenarios you and your child might be facing that an experienced Special Education Attorney can help you with:

· The school says your child isn’t eligible but he/she is struggling through school and maybe even failing their classes.

· Your family doctor or pediatrician has expressed a concern with your child’s physical and mental health but the school doesn’t seem to share the same concern with you.

· Your child has a "504 plan" but he/she is not succeeding and it doesn’t seem to be addressing or helping their situation.

· You have sought outside assistance from doctors or educational professionals because the school either doesn’t have the resources or doesn’t think your child’s situation is warranting of them.

· You have spent money having your child evaluated for a potential disability and

If any of these scenarios sound like something you have been or are currently going through, you and your child need the expertise of a qualified special education attorney to help you sort through these difficult issues and to negotiate with the school district to receive the right types of services and accommodations unique to their situations.

* For more information and background on Eligibility, read on below……

 A brief overview of Eligibility:

 In 1975, the U.S. Congress enacted the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (EHA) to address the growing need of children with disabilities to have the proper assistance to thrive in school. At that time, an estimated 1 in 5 school-age children who had disabilities were actually receiving some form of services to address their educational needs.

Since then, congressional amendments, case law, and medical, psychological and technological advancement have led to the creation of the most recent and comprehensive federal mandate known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The most recent version of IDEA came in 2004, and established some of the most important principles in Special Education Law. Among these, IDEA 2004 announced that every child is entitled to a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) in the Least Restrictive Environment (LRE).

IDEA ensures a number of services and accommodations to children with special needs who are found to be eligible. The law specifies a 2-step process in order to identify which children are eligible for the services outlined in idea:

The Child Must have a "Disability," and;

The Child Must need special education services.

If a Child is not found "eligible," under this criteria, then the rules and regulations in IDEA do not apply.

**It is important to note that while a child may not be found "eligible," under IDEA’s regulations, the child may still be eligible for limited assistance under a 504 Plan, part of the Americans with Disabilities Act. See 504 Plans.


Eligibility starts with an Evaluation of your child. The school can perform this evaluation either by request of the parent or a member of the school staff who identifies your child as potentially needing special education services may initiate it.

Categories of Disability

There are several categories of "Disability," under IDEA. Each area of disability has its own criteria for eligibility and your child’s condition. It is possible for your child to be found eligible under more than one category, but only one is necessary to meet the criteria needed for special education services. IDEA has identified the following categories of disabilities:

· Autism

· Deafness

· Deaf-blindness

· Hearing impairment

· Mental retardation

· Multiple disabilities

· Orthopedic impairment

· Other health impairment

· Serious emotional disturbance

· Specific learning disability

· Speech or language impairment

· Traumatic brain injury

· Visual impairment, including blindness

 To find out more information on whether your child may have a disability, and what you can do to get them the help you need, call us today at 815.963.4896.

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