ROMEOVILLE, Ill. – State Rep. Natalie Manley, D-Joliet, supported a new law that allows special needs students to continue attending school through the year in which they turn 22 years of age, rather than having their schooling end the day before they turn 22.
“While all students were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the impact of the disruption was felt significantly and uniquely by special needs students,” said Manley. “We must ensure special education students are able to receive the education they deserve, especially after a year in which many lost out on months of learning.”
Prior to the signing of House Bill 40, which Manley co-sponsored, special needs students were unable to continue to go to school after they turn 22, even if their birthday was in the middle of the school year. Under this new law, students will now be able to continue through the end of the school year when they turn 22, allowing them to receive extra months of schooling.
“Special needs students shouldn’t have to abruptly stop going to school because they age-out in the middle of the year, as it interrupts their normal schedule and makes it difficult to maintain relationships with their peers,” said Manley. “While nothing will be able to make up for the many difficulties students have had to deal with during the pandemic, I will continue to work to provide students the support they need in order to have the best schooling experience as possible.”