Archived News: In Research and Intervention
November 2014

Federal Guidance on Communication Needs in Schools

In a recent joint letter from the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Department of Education, the needs of individuals with communication disabilities were addressed. Schools were reminded that they must comply with all three federal laws pertaining to meeting the needs of individuals with communication difficulties: the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (Title II), and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504). Federal officials wrote that schools must “ensure that communication with students with hearing, vision and speech disabilities is as effective as communication with all other students.” Students who are receiving a free appropriate public education with special education services as required by IDEA must still receive equally effective communication with other students through the use of auxiliary aids or services as required by Title II. Such aids and services may consist of the use of sign language interpreters, braille and augmentative and alternative communication devices.

For more assistance meeting the communication needs of students, please access our Expressive and Receptive Communication Inventory for Emerging Language Learners and Augmentative and Alternative Communication Inventory. For more information on federal guidance on communication needs in schools, read the Frequently Asked Questions on Effective Communication for Students with Hearing, Vision or Speech Disabilities in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools.