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Pennsylvania Special Education Law: Introduction

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Special Education Law encompasses the legal rights of children with disabilities to appropriate educational services.  Such rights are are secured under state and federal law.  Local laws may also be relevant.  This resource is meant to assist law students, practitioners, and care-givers researching Federal laws and the laws of Pennsylvania regarding special education.  Categories of disabilities in children for the purposes of federal special education laws are listed in Title 34 of the Code of Federal Regulations, and include:  Intellectual disability/"mental retardation"; hearing impairment; speech or language impairment; visual impairment/blindness; emotional disturbance; orthopedic impairment; autism; traumatic brain injury; other health impairments; specific learning disabilities; deafness, deaf-blindness; and multiple disabilities.  See 34 C.F.R. § 300.8(a).  Other conditions may render a child eligible for services, as the laws involving special education continue to evolve.  Pennsylvania statutes and regulations, along with selected information regarding local laws and providers, are also covered in this Guide.  A number of Special Education and disability service providers are noted herein, as well.  In addition, many law firms specialize in the representation of clients with education and disability-related issues.  Such firms may be found by referral services or through legal directories (such as FindLaw's "Find a Lawyer" service) or by searching the Internet.


The print and electronic database resources featured in this guide are those available at or through the Villanova Law School Library, or otherwise freely available on the Internet.  Some of the databases listed here are password protected.  The information presented here is for research purposes only and should not be considered legal advice, nor should any listing herein be considered an endorsement of any particular organization's activities or services by the Villanova Law School or the Law Library.

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Robert Hegadorn
Villanova University School of Law

299 North Spring Mill Road

Villanova, Pennsylvania 19085