The United States has several laws that target at comfortable and effective inclusion of people with special needs into the state educational system. One of them is the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (henceforth IDEA), which serves to provide challenged students with all types of necessary support. Over the long horizon, the law under review prepares disabled children not solely for further education but for employment and living separately as well.
IDEA did not undergo any fundamental transformations since its original enactment because its purposes remain unchanged. It was passed in 1975 as the Education of Handicapped Children Act. Later, a range of amendments took place that offered the new name and documented “equal access to education” (“What is the IDEA?”, 2021, para. 1). The last of those happened in 2004 and presupposed a timely identification of learning disabilities in children, which is critical to appropriate inclusion (National Center for Learning Disabilities, n.d.). Currently, IDEA is an essential legal act to comply with when organizing special education in a way that would enable the graduates to live independently.
The given law provides a comprehensive strategy for special education, influencing all categories of the population that are involved, notably students, parents, and personnel of facilities. In fact, it is the only prescriber of the rules which a so-called inclusive educational institution is to follow in order to receive funding from the government. Specifically, part B of IDEA comprises the basic principles, such as designing Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) along with “the least restrictive environment” (American Psychological Association, 2017, para. 7). The participation of the child as well as his or her parents or custodian is another essential point since the law focuses on integrating people with disabilities into society rather than simply giving them knowledge.
Throughout almost half a century of its existence, the IDEA has proved to be effective in both educational and social terms. Thus, Peterson (2016) highlights that, prior to 1975, “children with disabilities were often segregated or warehoused in state institutions with no guarantee of proper assessments or schooling” (para. 3). According to her, the amount of those who had little to no access to appropriate education exceeded a million. Meanwhile, the IDEA obligated educational facilities to develop and follow individualized plans that clarify what supports a particular child needs to achieve his or her educational goals. As a result, special needs adults who completed their studies have twice more chances for employment than those with similar disabilities who did not benefit from the law under review (Peterson, 2016). These data illustrate brightly how helpful the IDEA is in preparing the disabled for independent living.
To summarize, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, which is frequently referred to as the IDEA, ensures access to schooling for children with special needs. Since its enactment in 1975, the law has not changed considerably, and it continues to be the key legal act on special education today. One of its main positions is developing so-called Individualized Education Plans, or IEPs, to consider all types of support that a certain disabled student may need. In practice, special needs people who benefited from the IDEA are twice as likely to find a job as compared to those who did not. This proves that the purposes of the law are not purely educational but involve the social integration of the disabled as well.
American Psychological Association. (2017). Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Web.
National Center for Learning Disabilities. (n.d.). Highlights of key provisions and important changes in the final regulations for IDEA 2004. Web.
Peterson, M. (2016). IDEA’s impact. Theory to Practice, 8 (Fall’16). Web.
What is the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act? (2021). University of Washington. Web.