Laws and regulations provide guidance and clarification about what is and is not acceptable when providing supports to individuals with disabilities. A number of Federal laws address accessibility and protect the rights of persons with disabilities. These laws cover access to a wide range of facilities and services, including housing, transportation, employment, telecommunications and voting. Knowing one’s rights under the laws, or complying with their requirements, typically means getting the right information from the proper source.
Sometimes you can do it alone; sometimes you need guidance and expertise in order to get the job done right. Filing your child’s Individual Education Plan (IEP) or 504 Plan is a process that may require professional assistance. When advocating for your child, do your research and get support from a professional or a friend.
“A human being mints many coins from the same mold, and they are all identical. But the holy one, blessed by God, strikes us all from the mold of the first human and each one of us is unique.”
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was the initial legislation that ensures a free appropriate public education to eligible children with disabilities in the least restrictive environment and ensures special education and related services to those children. Students in special education are required by federal law to have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP).
Parent to Parent of Miami is a community parent resource center for families of children and adults with all disabilities. Located in Miami, Florida, this program serves families in Miami-Dade and Monroe counties, as well as the nation. With the help of Parent to Parent of Miami’s specialized team, parents and professionals can find information, workshops, and other resources to help make decisions about early intervention, early childhood, education, IEP process, vocational training, employment, college opportunities, as well as the laws that protect the rights of children and adults with disabilities. Some services are free, some are fee based.
Disability Rights Florida was founded in 1977 as the statewide designated protection and advocacy system for individuals with disabilities in the State of Florida. Disability Rights Florida is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation that has authority and responsibility under nine federal grants. Their services are free and confidential.
Disability Independence Group (DIG) expands opportunities for participation, education, employment and acceptance of persons with disabilities through advocacy, litigation, education and training. Services run the life span, some are fee based while others are not.
The Department of Exceptional Student Education serves children and families throughout the Miami-Dade district by developing, coordinating and overseeing programs that support students with disabilities in order to insure that curriculum, instructional and behavioral practices are tailored to meet their educational needs. The Department is also committed to enhancing academic success for all students by providing access to age appropriate school and community resources that will benefit the individual needs of each student. Specific programs and services include early identification and intervention, psycho-educational evaluation and placement, transition support and truancy prevention.