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Special Education Manual

Glossary of Abbreviations and Terms

Glossary of abbreviations and terms included with Special Education: An Advocate's Manual

Table of Contents

The Table of Contents for Special Education: An Advocate's Manual

Chapter 1 - The Legal Basis for Special Education

The federal and state laws that help students with disabilities attend school include the U.S. and state constitutions, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Michigan Mandatory Special Education Act.  Each of these laws independently protects students with disabilities.

Chapter 1 explains the different laws, the rules that explain what they mean and how to interpret the laws.

Chapter 13 - Protection Against Disability-Related Harassment, Seclusion, and Restraint

This chapter explains the rights of students with disabilities facing harassment because of their disabilities by peers or staff in school.  It outlines the steps to take to address the problem and what to do if the school district fails to act.

Chapter 13 also reviews who is responsible, how to file a complaint, and the seclusion and restraint policies within the State of Michigan.

Chapter 12 - Section 504

Services are also available to students under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. The 504 Plan must include special education and related services to meet the individual needs of the student.

Chapter 12 talks about the steps to follow for services under Section 504, who is eligible, how to apply and the differences between Section 504 and IDEA.

Chapter 11 - Suspension and Expulsion

Schools have the authority and discretion to suspend or expel students.  All students have basic due process rights to notice and an opportunity to be heard when accused of misbehavior. Students with disabilities have additional rights. For example, a student in special education (or a student who should be in special education) cannot be expelled or suspended for more than 10 days without review by an IEP team.  

Chapter 11 reviews the school's authority to suspend or expel a student, due process, a manifestation review and the role of family court.

Chapter 10 - Transition

Almost all students in special education are entitled to prevocational, vocational and transition planning and services. The school should offer assessment and services to help your child prepare for life after school, including work and other community activities. The school must include transition goals and services in a student's IEP.

Chapter 10 will explain the options, steps and timelines involved in transitioning from public schools.

Chapter 9 - Infant, Toddler, and Preschool Programs

Under Michigan and federal law, children with disabilities birth through five-years-old are eligible for special education and support services.  Children "at risk" of having a disability are also eligible for services. "Early intervention" services utilize Individualized Family Service Plan's (IFSP), IEP's and 504 plan's.

Chapter 9 reviews "Early On" services, IFSP, transitions to special education, least restrictive environment and preschool services.

Chapter 8 - Problem Solving and Complaints

Disputes over special education services may be resolved informally or formally. When you disagree with your child’s school district over eligibility, goals, services, or supports, the special education process offers several opportunities to informally resolve disputes. You should know your rights and responsibilities in these situations so that your voice is heard.

Chapter 8 outlines problem-solving steps, a list of common problems, an explanation of state complaints vs. federal complaints, due process hearings, and mediation. Sample letters are included.