Special Needs Law & Legal Definition


Special needs is a term used in reference to children with some form of disability or circumstances requiring extra measures to attend to. When used in the context of adoption, the term "special needs" children generally refers to children that traditionally have been more difficult to place for adoption, because they are older, or have some form of physical, mental, emotional, or developmental challenge, or who are multi-ethnic or biracial children. This definition also includes children that are part of a sibling group that it is expected would do better if they were adopted together.

Some parents may formulate an Individualized Education Plan with their special needs child's school. An Individualized Education Plan (sometimes called an "Individualized Education Program" or "Individual Education Plan") is a legally binding document that spells out exactly what special education services your child will receive and why. It will include the child's classification, placement, services such as a one-on-one aide and therapies, academic and behavioral goals, a behavior plan if needed, percentage of time in regular education, and progress reports from teachers and therapists.