The Laws that Formed Special Education

All About Special Education
Special Education Laws (U.S.)

During the early days, children with disabilities were not given due appropriate rights and privileges by both the society and government. It was said that only one out of five of these children receive proper education, conferring an estimate of almost 5 million handicapped students denied of entry to schools. The laws that formed special education are granted not just facilitated access to knowledge, but a boost of morale to the parents concerned. Below is a list of these laws.

Rehabilitation Act of 1973

This law supports the needs of children with disability through establishment of federally financed institutions and programs. It mandates all affected schools to accommodate these children and grant them access to buildings and structures and improved integration into society. It applies to all people throughout their lifetime, and not just limited to a span of school age to 21 years. In addition, this law is intended for all with disabilities, regardless of the nature of the disability.

Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975

Popularly known as EHA, the Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975 acknowledge the rights of children with disabilities to education through funding state and local education agencies. These children are given free education in public schools and particular attention by special needs children. The four main objectives of this law include ensuring that children with disabilities are properly educated and receive services adjusted to address their unique needs; protecting the rights of handicapped children and their parents; helping state and local education agencies look after the education of special needs students; and validating the effectiveness of all efforts to tutor all children with disabilities.

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is the expanded version of the Education for All Handicapped Children Act. It does not only ensure protection of children with disabilities but also provide services to attend to the needs of these children, their parents, and their educators. The most recent amendments were passed by Congress in December 2004, and are divided into four parts:

Part A - General Provisions. It includes the objectives of IDEA, and descriptions of legal terms mentioned;

Part B - Assistance for Education of All Children with Disabilities. It gives details about the methods used by school administrations, parents, educators, and the state in identifying and educating children with disabilities;

Part C - Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities. It focuses on infants and toddlers with disabilities and possible developmental disorders. Early intervention techniques are also discussed.

Part D - National Activities to Improve Education of Children with Disabilities. It paves the way for programs designed for improving outcomes for children with disabilities. These programs include training of special needs educators, parent information and training, and others that comply with the purposes of IDEA.

On the other hand, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 2001 (ESEA) or commonly known as the No Child Left Behind Act seeks to enhance academic performance of school children with disabilities on the areas of reading and arithmetic. Some student disability protections not mentioned under IDEA may be still covered under Section 504 or ADA due to broader definitions of what makes up a disability.

It is the responsibility of the government to look after the welfare of its citizens, especially those that require specialized attentions. Everyone, regardless of gender, social status, and mental or physical capacity should have equal rights to education and given the opportunity to live in a peaceful society. The laws that formed special education strive to address all these needs and more. Understanding the significance of these laws can help concerned individuals look forward to a brighter future like everybody else does.

Educational Literature on Special Education Law

  1. Disciplinary Exclusion of Special Education Students- ERIC Digest
  2. Essentials of Law-Related Education- ERIC Digest
  3. Involving Parents in the IEP Process- ERIC Digest
  4. Juvenile Corrections and the Exceptional Student- ERIC Digest
  5. Know Your Legal Rights in Gifted Education- ERIC Document
  6. Law-Related Education in Elementary and Secondary Schools- ERIC Digest
  7. Legal Issues in Testing- ERIC Document
  8. Overview of ADA, IDEA, and Section 504- ERIC Document
  9. Parents' Role in Transition for Handicapped Youth. Overview- ERIC Digest
  10. Parents' Rights and Responsibilities- ERIC Digest
  11. Rights and Responsibilities of Parents of Children with Disabilities- ERIC Document
  12. Rights and Responsibilities of Parents of Children with Handicaps- ERIC Document