Special Education Law is specified at the Federal level with IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) and Section 504 of the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act). Unfortunately many of the specifics of the laws are not delineated, like the process for qualification for a disability. As a result, each state has come up with their own laws to help expand on federal statues. In addition, some states have improved the law by shortening timelines or modifying other federal requirements.
As a special education advocate in California, I have become intimately aware of how California expands on what the federal law says. In chapter 40 of my book, Special Ed Mom Survival Guide, I talk about how important it is to learn the laws so you know when the school is complying and when they are skirting around it. Unfortunately more schools skirt than follow, so our job is cut out for us.
The following lists link directly to the state special education laws that you can review online or download as a PDF. Understanding your Procedural Safeguards (parent rights) and special education timelines are two other critical areas you should become very familiar with. The more you know about the law, the better prepared you are to get your child the education he or she deserves!