What’s the Difference? U.S. Code and Code of Federal Regulations

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Could you explain the difference between United States Code and Code of Federal Regulations. I know the CFR is law. Is the U.S.C. law as well?

The best explanation/quick reference about the Code and the Federal Regulations is found in Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition, p. 7-8.

The Law Book contains both the law (U.S. Code) and the Federal Regulations. If you don’t have a copy, get one today. https://www.wrightslaw.com/store/selaw2.store.html

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act IDEA 2004 is a law enacted by Congress.

Congress first publishes this law as an “Act” in the Statutes, then organizes laws by subject in the United States Code (U.S.C.) – legal citation is 20 U.S.C. Section 1400 et seq.

The U.S. Department of Education develops and publishes the federal special education regulations to clarify and explain the United States Code. A regulation must be consistent with the United States Code and has the same force of law.

The Special Education Regulations are published in the Code of Federal Regulations – legal citation is 34 CFR Section 300.

Addressing Social Skills Needs

Specifically, is there a law that says the IEP team has to consider functional needs and that the school has to develop a plan to help my child with social skills?

My child has a pragmatic language delay making social situations challenging for her. She is bullied, isolated, has difficulty standing up for herself. At lunch, lining up, during group class activities – she has trouble navigating friendships or buddying up with others.

Is the school required by Code to help her?

Schools are legally required by the law, IDEA 2004, to consider your child’s present levels of functional performance and functional goals in IEPs.

The requirements about using present levels of functional performance to develop functional goals in IEPs are in:

  • IDEA 2004 at 20 U.S.C. Section 1414(d)
  • the federal Special Education Regulations at 34 CFR Section 300.320
  • the Commentary at page 46661

Start with the links below for more answers to your questions about functional and social skills.


  1. My grandson is 9 years old I am being forced to homebound him for 3 hours a week that’s just education he’s ADHD

    • How are you being forced to homebound your grandson? Just because he has ADHD does not mean he can’t go to school. What you need to do is get a comprehensive evaluation done. From there either an IEP or a 504 plan can be developed. You need to also contact your state parenting training center http://www.parentcenterhub.org/find-your-center.

  2. I am wondering why the school district wrote that Autism is the 2nd disability and ADHD is
    first. They were very upset when I asked them to change Autism to #1. I think it has something to do with services since they are always trying to get out of giving them to my son.
    Can anyone enlighten me on this?

    • You’re exactly correct, in my opinion, in regards to the reason the district got upset. Once Autism is considered the primary disabling condition it obligates the school to provide services through IDEA, that address the most significant aspects of your sons limitations, whatever they may be. Hang in there and insist. And let them know you’re prepared to take your concerns up to the next level (i.e., district. county, state dept of ed). Good Luck.

    • They feel the first is the educational disability category that is impacting school performance the most.

      • I asked the same question-
        How does the distrect write multiple disabality on the IEP
        My son had ASD, ADHD, CAPD.
        How does that summerize services across all areas?

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