Accessing and Understanding
Special Education Rules & Regs

The Special Education Support Center, with support from OSPI, provides resources and training to help teachers and parents know and understand the laws, rules, and regulations designed to assure appropriate learning experiences in the least restrictive environment for children and young adultes with special needs. These resources and trainings are aligned with IDEA, federal regulations, and state law.


See also resources and courses that focus on:

Disabilities | Challenging Behaviors | Complex Needs

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

U.S. Department of Education’s Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) website, brings together IDEA information and resources from the Department of Education and its grantees. The Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) is a federal law ensuring services to children with disabilities. IDEA governs how states and public agencies provide early intervention, special education and related services to more than 6.5 million eligible infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities.

Washington State Rules and Regulations

The  Washington Education Association in partnership with OSPI produced a Special Education Manual which provides clarity on the rules and responsibilities of educational staff.

The Washington Administrative Code (WACs) provide the rules that districts must follow in order to meet the requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA). IDEA governs how states and public agencies provide early intervention, special education and related services. In exchange for federal money, schools must guarantee that they will comply with these regulations and that all children with disabilities will receive a “free, appropriate public education.”

The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) provides Technical Assistance Papers (TAP) on a variety of topics to deepen the understanding of the rules. Two essential reads are TAP #1 A Review of the Basics and TAP #5 Evaluation Procedures Under Part B .

The Washington Education Association has produced a manual that connects the recent changes in the General Education discipline rules that affect all students. Discipline Manual (Annie has completed draft)

OSPI Discipline Guidance Discipline Requirements for Students Who Receive Special Education Services

Section 504

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, commonly called “Section 504,” is a federal law that protects students from discrimination based on disability. Section 504 protects all students with disabilities, including those qualified for special education services. This law applies to all programs and activities that receive funding from the federal government-including Washington public schools.

The  National Center on Accessible Educational Materials provides additional guidelines regarding accessibility to the curricula as required under Section 504 and IDEA.

SESC offers the following classes to help teachers and parents know and understand the laws, rules, and regulations relating to special education:

(click the titles for full descriptions and registration information)

Related Resources