Disability Versus Handicap and the 504 or IEP Meeting

Session Nine

When my patients’ parents are discussing how to present information about the child’s learning needs to the school, I like to make sure that the parent knows the areas of disability that the child has. The wording is important in regard to how the word “disability” is used because according to the law, the child receives accommodations for areas that are “disabilities.”  The words “disability” and “handicap” actually mean two different things. In general, a disability means that there is a physical, emotional, or cognitive issue, whereas a handicap refers to a functional limitation. Accommodations are used in the classroom in order to help the child to keep from being handicapped. Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) areas of disability are listed.


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