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New York State Special Education Law

In New York, The New York State Education Department (NYSED) is responsible for overseeing the development, implementation and enforcement of laws (both federal and state) pertaining to education.

Special education means specially designed individualized or group instruction or special services or programs to meet the unique needs of students with disabilities. Special education services and programs are provided at no cost to the parent. Research shows that most students with disabilities can meet high standards when provided with meaningful access and participation in the general education curriculum and appropriate, high quality specially designed instruction and support services. The Office of Special Education works to promote educational equity and excellence for students with disabilities through its roles and responsibilities.

While all children with special needs have the right to a free and appropriate education, unfortunately, receiving a free and appropriate education may be a struggle. This can be complex, but we can help you navigate the labyrinth of special education law.

Many people think of special education as separate classes or separate schools, but special education is actually a continuum of specially designed instruction, including a combination of supports and services, intended to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability.

Special education law is complex. A good attorney can advise you how to obtain better programs and services for your child. An attorney that is experienced in this area of law can also advise you on how to become the best advocate for your child, and be a trusted partner in this sometimes difficult process. Federal and state laws require that all schools advise parents of their right to mediation in addition, or as an alternative, to an impartial hearing for resolving disputes about Special Education.

The goal of Special Education is to provide appropriate services to support students in accessing general education curriculum while meeting New York State learning standards and preparing for post secondary transition.

Special education schools primarily serve specific student groups such as those that may have learning difficulties (or ADHD/ADD), be hard of hearing, deaf, speech impaired, health impaired, orthopedically impaired, mentally retarded, seriously emotionally disturbed, multi-handicapped, visually handicapped, or deaf and blind.

Based on the needs of the students, different types of programs are offered. Students with learning, emotional, behavioral, physical, vision, hearing or developmental disabilities are provided with individualized instruction and served in classes based on age, intellectual capacity, achievement, and social and behavioral compatibility.