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Special Education Law, 3rd Edition



The laws governing special education for children with disabilities are confusing to parents, school personnel, related service providers, and even to many advocates and attorneys.

Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 3rd Edition provides a clear roadmap to the laws and how to get better services for all children with disabilities.

Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 3rd Edition has expanded to include other laws that affect special education for children with disabilities, including:

  • Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004
  • Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act
  • Americans with Disabilities Act of 2008
  • Family Educational Records Privacy Act
  • McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act
  • Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, U.S. Constitution
  • Analysis, Commentary, and Interpretation
  • Selected Topics in Special Education Law

Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 3rd Edition is designed to meet the needs of parents, teachers, advocates, attorneys, related services providers, school psychologists, administrators, college professors, hearing officers, and employees of district and state departments of education.


Table of Contents and Selected Topics
Chapter 1. Introduction
Chapter 2. History of Special Education Law and Litigation
Chapter 3. Overview of Statutes, Regulations, Caselaw, Courts, and Legal Research
Chapter 4. Overview of IDEA, Section 504, and ADA
Chapter 5. Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 20 U.S.C. § 1400 et seq.
Chapter 6. IDEA Regulations, 34 CFR Part 300 et seq.
Chapter 7. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, 29 U.S.C. 794 et seq., 34 CFR Part 104
Chapter 8. Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq., 28 CFR Parts 35+36
Chapter 9. FERPA, McKinney-Vento, Other Statutes / Laws
Chapter 10. Selected Topics



Twenty-five years ago, Pete and Pam Wright posted the first articles on Wrightslaw.com and published the first edition of Wrightslaw: Special Education Law.

We expanded Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 3rd Edition to include additional laws about educating students with disabilities, from preschool through graduate school and professional licensing exams.

In this new edition, you’ll find answers to questions like these:

  • What do the laws say about child find? Are children who attend private schools, religious schools, and charter schools eligible for special education and related services?
  • What do the laws say about evaluations, reevaluations, and parental consent? What do the laws say about evaluating a child before a change of placement?
  • What do the laws say about Individualized Education Programs? Section 504 Plans? Who is entitled to accommodations?
  • Can the school refuse to provide an IEP or a Section 504 Plan to a child who is making good grades? What do the laws say about parental access to educational records?
  • What do the laws say about least restrictive environment, inclusion and a child’s placement?
  • What do the laws say about bullying at school? Restraint and seclusion? Compensatory education?
  • What do the laws say about suspensions and expulsions? Is a child with a disability entitled to educational services after being suspended or expelled from school?
  • How do IDEA and Section 504 define a “free appropriate public education”?
  • Who enforces IDEA? Who enforces Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act?
  • If a child has a disability and an IEP, is the school required to provide the child with physical education?
  • If a child has an Individualized Health Care Plan, is the school required to follow the plan?
  • Are colleges or institutions of higher education required to provide the accommodations and modifications in a child’s IEP or Section 504 Plan?
  • Is an IEP or a Section 504 Plan better for a child with special needs?


About the Authors

Pete Wright and Pam Wright built Wrightslaw.com, the #1 ranked site about special education law and advocacy and have written more than a dozen books about special education law and advocacy topics.

As Adjunct Faculty at the William & Mary Law School, for three semesters, Pete and Pam Wright taught a three credit hour class about Special Education Law and helped to create the Special Education Law Clinic (PELE Clinic). For ten years, they taught at the week-long Institute of Special Education Advocacy (ISEA) sponsored by the Law School.

The Wrights now teach at the Special Education Advocacy Summit (SEAS) at St. Mary’s University School of Law in San Antonio, TX each summer. Pete Wright is an attorney who began representing children with disabilities and their parents in 1978. He represented Shannon Carter before the U.S. Supreme Court in Florence County Sch. Dist. IV v. Shannon Carter, 510 U.S. 7 (1993) where, in a unanimous 9-0 decision, he won a landmark victory that has benefited all children with disabilities. 

Pam Wright is a psychotherapist who began working with children and families in the 1970s. Pam writes about raising, educating, and advocating for children with disabilities. She is the Editor of 
The Special Education Advocate, the free online newsletter about special education law and advocacy.


Early Reviews

“Wrightslaw has been an invaluable resource for parents and for individuals needing legal help for a long time.” – Louisa Moats, Ph.D., Author, Literacy Expert, Consultant

“Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 3rd Edition is outstanding. I’ve been doing this work for 10 years but I learned so much valuable information from this new edition.” – Brett Tingley, Parents for Reading Justice

“Very clear and easy to navigate.” – Dr. Benjamin N. Powers, 
Head of Southport School and Director of Haskins Global Literacy Hub

”My overall impression is this: Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 3rd Edition *really* is for everyone: attorneys, special education directors, administrators, educators, and parents.

“A parent with a child who has been newly identified with a disability will get a quick overview of their rights in a way that lets them get enough information without drowning.

“A special education director, like myself, would get a good review but also enough information, resources, and strategies to help them plumb the depths of special education law.

Wrightslaw: Special Education Law is exactly what it promises to be – it is solidly rooted in law without conjecture. As a special education director, I can trust using it as a key resource.” – Jaclyn Knapp, Director of Special Education

485 pages | perfect bound

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