To enable students with hearing, vision, or speech disabilities to participate fully in public schools, their communication needs must be addressed. In a joint letter to educators, the Office for Civil Rights, the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, and the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division emphasize the rights of public school students with communication needs. The two-page letter to educators (available in Spanish) explains the concerns related to IDEA, ADA (Title II), and Section 504 and contains a brief description of what each law requires in a Frequently Asked Questions document.
In some cases, in order to comply with Title II requirements (effective communication), a school may have to provide a student with auxiliary aids or services that are not required under IDEA. In other cases, the communication services provided under the IDEA will meet the requirements of both laws for an individual student. Public schools must apply both the IDEA analysis and the Title II effective communication analysis in determining how to meet the communication needs of an IDEA‐eligible student with a hearing, vision, or speech disability.