Request Special Education Advocacy

The Arc Rhode Island will be there to guide you through the special education process.

Special Education Advocacy Request


The federal, state, and local governments each play a role in assuring that every child with a disability obtains a free appropriate public education.

Several important federal laws protect the rights of students with disabilities in schools. The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 was the first disability civil rights law to be enacted in the U.S. and includes Section 504, which prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in programs that receive federal financial assistance. Section 504 set the stage for the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 1990, which prohibits discrimination in all areas of public life, including schools and all public and private places that are open to the general public. However, the most significant law for students with disabilities is the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which requires a free appropriate public education, appropriate evaluation, an individualized education plan, least restrictive environment, parent participation, and procedural safeguards.

The Arc Rhode Island advocates alongside parents and students with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). We take action, provide resources. and supports.

There are still challenges including:

  • Segregation and exclusion
  • Restraint and seclusion
  • Poor transition planning
  • Lack of teacher training

Young students sitting at wooden desk in classroom; teacher helping boy in wheelchair

Young man stands in front of a map of the world taped on the wall, while woman points at a spot on the map

Why It Matters

Teenage girl seated at desk in classroom, rests hand on face while holding a pencil between her fingers