Early Childhood Special Education Services: Federal Legislation Affects
1973—Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (Public Law 93–112)
- Section 504 was passed to promote participation in and ensure equal access to federally funded programs for individuals with disabilities. It created the impetus to educate students with disabilities that resulted in the Education for the Handicapped Act (EHA), later renamed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
- To be eligible for a free appropriate public education (FAPE) under Section 504, a child must have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity.
1975—Education for All Handicapped Children Act (Education for the Handicapped Act or EHA) (Public Law 94–142)
- All children with disabilities must be given an education.
- The education must be provided in the least restrictive environment.
- The education must be individualized, free, and appropriate for the child.
- Procedural protections require due process.
1986—EHA Amendments (Public Law 99–457)
- This law extended special education to children with disabilities who are 3–5 years of age.
- Services to infants and toddlers were provided at states’ discretion.
1990—Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
- The ADA covers the accessibility of public buildings, transportation, and communication to people with disabilities.
- The ADA does not address obligations to provide educational services to students with disabilities.
1990—Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
- The IDEA expanded the foundations established in Public Laws 94–142 and 99–457.
- It has six principles:
- No student can be excluded from public education because of a disability.
- Procedural due process protections ensure student and parent rights.
- Parents are encouraged to participate in their child’s education.
- Assessment must be fair and unbiased.
- Students must receive a free and appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment.
- Confidentiality must be maintained.
© ______ 2009, Merrill, an imprint of Pearson Education Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. The reproduction, duplication, or distribution of this material by any means including but not limited to email and blogs is strictly prohibited without the explicit permission of the publisher.
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