Since I began studying transition to adult services in in 2008 (out of desperation and urgent need) I have come to realize that many educators and administrators do not know what they do not know about laws that protect individuals with disabilities. If the only tool they know is procedural safeguards for IDEA or Section 504, then everything looks like an educational accommodation subject to due process, which is perceived as coming to an end once the youth leaves high school. Educators are still not completely up to speed on the Secondary Transition Provisions of Idea 2004, the postsecondary education protections of the Rehabilitation Act, and the changes afforded by the American with Disabilities Act Amendments Act, all of which have an important effect on transition planning for youth. (They can get training on this through TACE and through NSTTAC.)
But there are also laws that protect individuals with disabilities after they turn 22. It would be wise for these laws to be taught to all educators and transition specialists, and to parents who are seeking training in transition.
There are more than 10 Federal laws that protect the civil rights of individuals with disabilities. For example, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as Amended 29 U.S.C. § 794 authorizes funding for disability-related activities, including state vocational rehabilitation programs, independent living programs, supported employment, client assistance, training and research. There are over 95 implementing regulations for federally conducted programs, and over 20 implementing regulations for federally assisted programs, including Department of Education - 34 CFR Part 104 and Department of Health and Human Services - 45 CFR Part 84. We also have the IDEA/IDEIA 2004 and the ADA. Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000 (DD Act) establishes four grant programs - protection & advocacy, DD councils, UCEDDS, and other Programs of National Significance.
When we talk about educating parents and self-advocates about transition, we need to think outside of IDEA. IDEA mandates secondary transition services for a reason - they are necessary. But once IDEA no longer applies, other rules and resources come into play which are helpful for individuals and families.
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