Rights and Protections

  • During secondary education or the transition period, students with disabilities between the ages of 3-21 are protected by several rules and regulations, such as special education laws. A different set of rules or regulations protect students who have transitioned to college, work or independent living. Knowing these will increase a student's confidence in self-advocacy.

    Advocacy and referral services from SOC at TSD are available for students receiving educational or vocational services and their families. SOC at TSD is not able to provide legal advice beyond our scope of work. The following resources may be helpful in navigating accessibility laws.

      Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA)

      • Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA)

        WIOA amended The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 to further solidify efforts to provide transition services to students and youth with disabilities. Local educational agencies (LEA), local labor boards, and state vocational rehabilitation (VR) have a shared responsibility to provide Pre-Employment Transition Services (PreETS).

        PreETS services must fall under one of the five categories:

        • Job exploration counseling
        • Work-based learning experiences, which may include in-school or after school opportunities, experiences outside of the traditional school setting, and/or internships
        • Counseling on opportunities for enrollment in comprehensive transition or postsecondary education programs
        • Workplace readiness training to develop social skills and independent living
        • Instruction in self-advocacy

        WIOA also established Pre-Employment Transition Coordination, allowing students to pair up with a vocational rehabilitation counselor. The VR counselor can provide support with

        • individualized educational program (IEP) meetings, if invited
        • the local Workforce Solutions and employers to develop work opportunities for students such as internships, summer employment and apprenticeships.
        • the student’s local school district to ensure the provision of PreETS services 
        • Person-center planned meetings for students receiving services under Medicaid or a Medicaid waiver program, if invited. 


      • Office for Civil Rights (OCR): Auxiliary Aids

        Information from the US Department of Education about students with disabilities and their rights to auxiliary aids and services.

        US Department of Justice (DOJ): American with Disabilities Act (ADA)

        Online information and technical assistance resource, focusing on the American with Disabilities Act (ADA). Standards for accessible design are available for educators and educational institutions. Other documents outline the responsibility of law enforcement, hospitals and hotels to ensure accessibility.

        Disability Rights Texas

        Disability Rights Texas works to advocate, protect and promote the rights of individuals with disabilities in Texas. People can contact their regional offices to get information, support and referrals to other agencies.