Special Education Resorces, Schools & The IDEA Program

With more and more children being diagnosed with various kinds of disabilities each year, special education needs are becoming increasingly important each year. To help parents who have children suffering from certain disabilities, the government has set up various programs to help provide special education funding for them. Through the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA), special education resources are provided to the individuals who qualify through specific special education schools and programs. These special education acts govern and implement the guidelines set forth in order to provide an easier childhood and proper education to disabled children.

What is Special Education?

IDEA defines Special Education as “Specially designed instruction, at no cost to parents, to meet the unique needs of a child with a disability.” A special education school is an environment where disabled children are provided with special education resources that would make it easier for them to learn and receive a proper education. While teaching special education, such schools look into a child’s specific needs and provide them with support. Providing appropriate technologies for children with disabilities can become expensive for parents. Thus, government programs like Individuals with Disabilities Act and No Child Left Behind Special Education Act, have been implemented to provide free and suitable special education schools for such children through the numerous special education funding opportunities.

Special Education Act: IDEA

The Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) is a federal program which provides special education funding to state and local governments and assists in expanding special education resources for the betterment of children with disabilities. States are given this federal aid to set up special education schools to provide “free, appropriate public education” (FAPE) in the “least restrictive environment” to special ed children. IDEA was implemented to provide guidelines and regulations and help local governments set up special education schools so as to provide equal opportunities to children with disabilities. Besides teaching special education, IDEA also provides special education funding for assistive technologies, early intervention and other special education resources. This special education Act is a direct attempt to put special ed children at par with non-disabled people.

Basic Facts about IDEA: Special Education Act

  • 13 Eligible Categories: Autism, Visual Impairment, Hearing Impairment, Deaf or Blindness, Mental retardation, Learning  Disability, Health Impairment, Emotional Disturbance, Orthopedic Impairment, Traumatic Brain Injury, Developmental Delay, Speech Impairment or Multiple Disabilities.
  • Evaluation: The child has the pass eligibility requirements through an evaluation process conducted by trained professionals.
  • IEP requirement: Once a disability is identified, an Individual Education Plan (IEP) has to be developed for each special ed child.
  • Implementation: The IEP plan is then implemented and the child receives special education resources.
  • Free of cost: IDEA sets up special education schools at the State’s expense by the finances provided by the special education funding provision.
  • Least restrictive environment: Special education schools are set up as similar to regular schooling environment as possible to avoid disability discrimination. It must include appropriate preschools, elementary schools and secondary special education schools.
  • Assistive technologies: Any form of assistive technology required by individuals diagnosed with a disability must be provided through the special education resources so as to help a child succeed in special education schools.

For decades now, the Special Education Act, IDEA, and even the No Child Left Behind Act have provided useful special education resources to improve the lives of many disabled children. Over 6 million special ed children receive special education funding through this federal program and benefit from the numerous nationwide special education schools that have been set up for their betterment. The main aim of implementing IDEA was to provide disabled children with an equal learning opportunity and it shall continue to provide such support by continuously improving its special education resources and teaching special education to interested individuals.
References:

  1. American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 –  U.S. Department of Education
  2. Building the Legacy of IDEA – U.S. Department of Education
  3. Individuals with Disabilities Education Act – Council for Exceptional Children

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