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IAASE Fall Conference—Gender Identity and Special Education

Jennifer Smith presents “Gender Identity and Special Education” at the Illinois Alliance of Administrators of Special Education (IAASE) Fall Conference.

With the number of students who identify as gender non-conforming on the rise, many educators have questions regarding the supports and services that may be available to such students. This presentation addressed the intersection of gender identity and special education, including factors to consider under Section 504, the IDEA, and the ADA. The main take away? Educators should be cognizant that gender non-conformity is not, as a rule, a disability. However, the emotional and educational impact in identifying as non-conforming may require school districts to provide gender non-conforming students with supports. Other important topics that were addressed included how to proceed when a parent does not want a district to honor a student’s gender identity and the current state of Federal and Illinois laws protecting gender identity and sexual orientation.

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