Maine DOE shares federal guidance on effectively communicating with students with disabilities

The Maine DOE is encouraging districts to review new guidance from the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights and the U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services regarding how to more effectively communicate with public schools students with hearing, vision or speech disabilities.

An open letter from those federal partners reads, “Students with disabilities, like all students, must have the opportunity to fully participate in our public schools. A critical aspect of participation is communication with others…Three federal laws – the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) (Title II) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504) – address the obligations of public schools, including charter schools, to meet the communication needs of students with disabilities, but do so in different ways.  Public schools must comply with all three laws, and while compliance with one will often result in compliance with all, sometimes it will not.”

In addition to the letter, a frequently asked questions document is available that may be of value to Individualized Educational Program (IEP) team decisions about effective communication.

For more information or technical assistance, please contact Maine DOE’s Susan Parks at 624-6646 or

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