An Overview of Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

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Education is very important for any given society, and shall be precisely defined as the kind of knowledge which is usually acquired through learning and provision of instruction. Such an education shall pertain greatly to academics which are learnt from schools and the surrounding world. Thus education is a very vital and integral part towards the growing up of an individual, and starts from when one attends preschool until the graduate school.

In the early 1970s, most schools educated only 2 out of 10 individuals with disabilities (Schoenbaum, 2008).Upon the occurrence of this disparity and inequality, the best and immediate approach to deal with the issue was the enactment of specific laws that would put a stop to this practice. The product of this was the endorsement of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1975.

Components of the Act

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a government regulated education law which requires states and public schools to offer children with disabilities free and appropriate public education (FAPE), in spite of their aptitude. The act was initially enacted in 1975 by President Gerald Ford, and under different names the act has since become an integral educational stitch. The laws of IDEA are chiefly intended to protect the education rights of children with disabilities all over the United States of America.

The original Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) consists of six key components that include:-Entitled Entitlements and Allocations. Concepts under this component provide states and education agencies with guidelines of how best to implement the program. More exclusively, this component spells out the number of students to benefit from the program and ways of selecting them. The second component of the original Individuals with Disabilities Education Act is Eligibility. This component is bestowed with the responsibility of providing specific guidelines which schools should follow in the execution of the IDEA functions. The component draws out strategies which schools should use in accessing and indentifying potential students for the program. The component also spells out rules which schools should adhere to when executing Individualized Education Program. This program technically consists of techniques, paths and placements that are favourable for individual student needs.

The third IDEA original component is Applications .This component is very critical in that it’s divided into six different classes which spell out how funds and information should be managed. This component initiates provisions that establish policies and procedures for funds handling and distribution. Procedures and Safeguards, the fourth original component of IDEA is somehow collective for the reason that it practically safeguards every individual concerned with the IDEA programs (Schoenbaum, 2008). This component ensures all stakeholders have relevant information on the progress of the program and makes sure parents and guardians have the right to convey their complaints and opinions in regard to the program. Evaluation is the fifth component and mostly deals with assessment and evaluation of the methods of implementation and the effects of the program on individual student. The sixth component concentrates on analysis of an environment that is least restrictive for students to learn in, and include proposals which provide regulations for review of the entire program.

As of 1986, new components IDEA were established .The original program of 1975 had no capacity to be executed in more than 50 states for the reason that public schools were very limited. Nevertheless, the new segment, PL 99-457 (1986) made it possible for families and the government to start special education plans early and this made it possible to indentify special cases at a tender age. This reauthorization established a new component known as Early Intervention Amendment, which had capacity to cater for children expected to have issues in schools. Major function of this amendment is that it limits restrictions which students face in the learning process. This also provides individualized service plan which analyze students performance throughout the curriculum.

In the year 1990, section PL 101-476 entirely changed the name of the act to be Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. The 1990 reauthorization concentrates on increasing educational opportunities for disadvantaged individuals in the society. The amendment also provides opportunities for disadvantaged individuals to live an independent life. Under this act, two more grant policies were created for schools hosting minority groups. Other provisions of the PL 101-476 (1990) Amendments concentrate on increasing funds for the program, and also allow children with autism and other emotional problems to be considered for the program (Dewey, 2008).

PL 105-17 (1997) amendment later came as amendment to education act and made provisions that made guardians and parents to be involved in the decision making of their children education. Another provision of this law is that it transferred management of education plans from school authorities to parents of the affected child, hence giving them full control of their children educational development.

IDEA reauthorizations in 2004 changed the way educational activities are handled. Key components involve defining the name “Specific Learning Disability” to mean disorders that make an individual fail to talk, write or spell correctly. Another key component of the amendment is that it provides guidelines that resolve conflicts between parents and school authorities. Also the act provides provisions that make agencies and schools improve the manner they communicate and handle children with disability.

The precise procedure for student referral in relation to evaluation processes varies from one state to another. Chiefly this depends on how well they interpret the IDEA rules and regulations. The first procedure involves contacting the child school and assessing how the child is performing. In the analysis of child performance, various concepts may be used to test the activities of the child. The common methods include Norm-referenced tests (NRTs), where the child performance is compared to that of other children and the other analysis tests include the Criterion-referenced tests (CRTs), where the child performance in school is compared to a laid down set of standards. Both this tests provide a sound base for judging whether a child is regarded as special student or not (Brennen, 1999).

The next appropriate thing to do is to make a written demand requesting for individualized evaluation of the child. Guidelines of IDEA require school teams to convey a meeting immediately after the request is received, in order to address the request for evaluation purposes. During the process of evaluation and assessment, at times it might become apparent that the Multi-disciplinary team may be required to review the child. In situations like this, any member of the team evaluating the student may request for more advanced assessment from the relevant service providers. Request for evaluation does not necessarily mean that the evaluation will be carried out. Evaluation process is conducted after the evidence of disability has been analyzed. After evaluation, if there is strong evidence to prove disability, the child is identified to be a special student and he/she is made eligible for IDEA programs (John, 2005).

In regard to evaluation, at times prereferral interventions may be carried out to in situations where the class room is overwhelmed. This technique indentifies methods which can be implemented to make students remain in their respective classes. In conclusion, in order for this Act to work effectively, the legislation calls for all individuals in the special education sector to adhere to the set guidelines in order to achieve the set goals and objectives. Special education and development of appropriate literacy dispositions can be the rightful tools which have the ability to define very many things within the society such as interrelationship between disability and human understanding, cohesion with one another, and as well improve knowledge acquisition which in the very end fosters human development.