There are several federal laws that have been enacted to protect the rights of individuals with disabilities, including children. State laws are also in place to ensure protection of the those rights, and may govern if they provide greater protection than federal laws.
Although this guide does not discuss states laws, families can learn more about the laws in their states by contacting a local PTI (parent training and information center).
The US Department of Justice hosts this site, full of information about the American with Disabilities Act. The "Introduction to ADA" page is helpful, as is the "Topics of Interest" page.
This site provides information on major topics covered by IDEA 2004. It has excellent video clips on Early Intervening Services/RTI, Individualized Education Program, Discipline, Highly Qualified Teachers, Procedural Safeguards, and other important topics.
DisabilityInfo.gov is a comprehensive online resource designed to provide people with disabilities with quick and easy access to the information they need. With just a few clicks, the site provides access to disability-related information and programs available across the government on numerous subjects, including benefits, civil rights, community life, education, employment.
This website funded by the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), U.S. Department of Education provides public access to data about children and youth with disabilities served under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
This site has useful information on Section 504 Plans, accommodations, and related services. It covers information on documentation of disability as well as procedural safeguards required under Section 504 of Rehabilitation Act of 1973
The homepage for information about SSI (Supplemental Security Income) from the Social Security Administration, this site provides information about SSI benefits. Its presentation is good and may be quite valuable for parents whose children are approaching adulthood. SSA has also provides Disability Starter Kits (in English and Spanish) to help families prepare to apply for SSI benefits for their child.
The website features a special page Understanding Supplemental Security Income. It's easy to read and answers a lot of questions. There is a page specifically about SSI for children.
Another branch of the US Department of Educaiton, the Office for Civil Rights has a mandate to protect the civil rights of children in public schools. It is worth it to explore the whole site, but the special section on "Disability Discrimination" may be of greatest interest to families of children with disabilities.
The OSEP (Office of Special Education Programs) homepage features articles of interest and has links to publications, studies and special programs. It is a good way to keep current on trends and resarch in special education from an official point of view.