Educational Laws and Advocacy


         What school accommodations are needed for students with SA/CRS?

Every country has different laws related to people with disabilities and how students with disabilities are educated. In the US public school system, students potentially having disabilities who may require certain accommodations to allow for equal access the school curriculum are first evaluated to see what special education services may be needed. If needs are identified, then either a 504 Plan accommodations plan is made or an IEP (Individualized Educational Program) is developed. These plans indicate the kinds of services the student is provided to gain the same kind of access as other students have to the curriculum. These accommodations may range from having an accessible bathroom facility near the classroom to smaller class sizes to physical therapy services, depending on the specific student’s need.

School Access and Accommodations in the United States

In the United States, there are two different types of plans that may be used to address school accommodations for students with disabilities:

  • The 504 Plan may be used when there are no specific educational or academic goals. In other words, the student is able to achieve in all courses on par with her or his able-bodied peers despite a disability. However, because socialization and developing independence are also goals for all students in the school system, goals related to these areas may prompt the use of an IEP instead of a 504 Plan even when there are not specific academic gaps. The 504 Plan mainly addresses accommodations for the student’s physical access to the school and to educational activities.
  • The IEP is used when there is an academic or educational goal in addition to the physical accommodations that are needed for the student to access the curriculum and school environment.

The IEP is generally considered a stronger legal document than a 504 Plan, but both documents are law, and the school must comply with the information in either one of them. Usually the county school system may recommend whether a 504 document or an IEP will be generated, but parents are a part of the team and should bring their input to the educational team.

For more information about IEPs and goals, click here

For more information about 504 Plans, click here

School Accommodation and Access Considerations (In Any Country)

The kinds of accommodations needed for your student will depend on the way they are impacted by their condition and perhaps by other conditions and by their age. The accommodations needed are listed in the plan. Accommodations may involve adding special furniture, ramps, or doors. Or, accommodations might involve moving locations of classrooms, addition of support staff, and training of school personnel.

Accommodations might also address specific goals for the child such as increasing a child’s ability to independently navigate the school environment. Accommodations address not only the classroom space but also transportation to and from school, participation in school activities, and student development of independence. Accommodations should maximize the student’s ability to participate in the school day with peers and receive the same opportunities and experiences as peers receive. Thought should be given to reasonably increasing a student’s independence over time. The accommodations listed here include three areas often needing accommodation for students with SA/CRS

  1. Mobility and physical access
    1. For students who primarily walk but may have limitations in their walking speed, pace, or endurance
    2. For students who primarily use wheelchairs
    3. For students who are small in stature
  1. Health, toileting, medication,  and nutrition
  2. Self-advocacy and transition

See these links for more specific suggestions:

Mobility-Related Considerations and Accommodations

Health, Toileting, Medications, and Nutrition

Self-Advocacy and Transition to Independence 

Additional resource link here 

International Laws for Students with Disabilities

Many countries have laws about including students with disabilities in the educational system. Countries affected by fragility and conflict are most challenged in supporting the education of students with disabilities. Although we cannot possibly review all of the laws and potential accommodations for students in every country, here are some links to various countries for comparison.  This listing may be useful for families in any country in considering ways of best supporting their student’s education.

Click on the country name to see specific information about educational and disability laws.

UK Disability and Education Laws

Australia Disability and Education Laws

China: Regulations of Education of Persons with Disabilities

Compare US and China

Burma National Education law (English)

Switzerland Special Needs Education

Germany Special Needs Education

Canada, an iSACRA article on educational law in Quebec and Montreal

Some resources for those countries challenged by fragility and conflict include: