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July 16, 2007

Gov. Blagojevich signs bill to extend special education services for students with disabilities
Law helps young people with disabilities transition into adulthood

SPRINGFIELD – Governor Rod R. Blagojevich today signed legislation that allows young people with disabilities to continue receiving the services necessary to help them transition smoothly into adulthood.  House Bill 817, sponsored by State Rep. Elizabeth Coulson (R-Glenview) and State Sen. Deanna Demuzio (D-Carlinville) clarifies the definition of “children with disabilities” to include students through age 21.
“The transition from childhood to adulthood can be a difficult one – especially for young people with disabilities.  I’m happy to sign a law to help make sure students with disabilities are able to continue receive the education services they need to become productive adults,” said Gov. Blagojevich.
This law establishes uniformity in the School Code with respect to the definition of “children with disabilities” making students statewide eligible to receive special education services up until the day of their 22nd birthday.
“I would like to thank Governor Blagojevich for recognizing the importance of this legislation, which will ensure that students with disabilities can receive the services they need to help them become adults,” said Rep. Coulson.
“This bill is so important for young people with disabilities,” said Sen. Demuzio.  “We must make sure that every young person has the same chance to succeed in life, and I would like to thank the Governor for signing this legislation and making sure students with disabilities have the chance to do just that.”
“This bill provides students with special needs additional opportunities to develop their skills to reach their maximum potential in life,” said State Superintendent of Education Christopher Koch.  “It provides Illinois schools with clear guidance on their responsibilities and will give these students a strong foundation for life after graduation.”
The law goes into effect immediately.


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